By Robert Lloyd
Los Angeles Times
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In this review of the new season of “Doctor Who”, columnist Robert Lloyd describes Jodie Whittaker’s authoritative yet playful performance as the first FEMALE Doctor.
Los Angeles Times
Finally, the Doctor is a woman.
Sunday night, Jodie Whittaker became the Thirteenth Doctor, replacing Peter Capaldi as the star of the long-running British science-fiction adventure series “Doctor Who” (seen here on BBC America).
It’s a big step in the life of the series, which also installs Chris Chibnall, formerly the head writer of the “Who”-spun “Torchwood,” as its new showrunner. And yet it is very much like all such steps before it: One actor passes the role to another; the Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, takes on a new form and personality, which is not entirely distinct from his, now her, preceding selves. Thus has it been since an ailing William Hartnell, who played the First Doctor, transformed into Patrick Troughton, Doctor Two, back in 1966, an invention mothered by necessity.
“We’re all capable of the most incredible change,” the Doctor will say, of herself and everybody, making a point not incidentally germane to the series itself. “We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honor who we’ve been and choose who we want to be next.”
After 55 years, 36 seasons, one TV movie and 12 officially numbered Doctors, to have gone with yet another white male, in a series where everything is possible, would have seemed almost pointless.
As in the actual world, we have had many, many, many variations on that old theme; a new tune is called for. Whittaker being named to the part came not just as a great news, she’s a wonderful actress, to start, and one fit for the job, but as a kind of relief.