New Doctor Announced… and Men are sexist, apparently...
So, as with any recasting of the Doctor, there is a segment of the fandom who are displeased with the choice. The internet has been buzzing with pro-new doctor calling anti-new doctor people names and vice versa… Apparently if someone disagrees with your opinion you are automatically a snowflake. Let’s breakdown why someone would have a disagreeing opinion about the newest Dr.
Psychologically speaking, some people are comfortable with the way the show has been cast for the last 50+ years... and to change that makes them feel that what they internalized about the show and what they love will be taken away. Some others (it may overlap with some of the former as well... I can't do Venn diagrams in text... lol) feel that the decision was more of a stunt than an organic casting choice. Third camp feel it was lazy casting, as witnessed by the fact that Chibnall (who headed Broadchurch as well) just picked an actress he already worked with instead what would be the best choice for the new Doctor.
So, let’s explore some of these reasons. Being a member of a fandom means that someone has invested a lot of time and emotions into a character. With a character that has been around longer than 50 years, had 36 seasons, and 12 Doctors, there is a lot of room for people to internalize these characters. So, for someone to be upset that there is a change in the dynamic with a new incarnation of a character that they have spent time, money, and vested with some sense of emotional ownership over, is only natural. In fact, every time there is a new doctor, there is this argument. “Oh no, they will be a terrible Doctor.” I know several that didn’t like Matt Smith, and even more that didn’t like Peter Capaldi.
The second reason listed, that it wasn’t an organic choice does have some valid positions. It has been pointed out that recent ratings have sagged a bit. However, with this new casting choice, it seems to have picked up a new head of steam. I mean, I can’t open Facebook without the headline “First woman to take role of Dr. Who”. With literally hundreds and thousands of posts, comments, and discussion. Or rather, name calling and belittling. Outside fandom, there wasn’t this much of a buzz surrounding this show before this announcement. Even posts like “I don’t watch this show but why is it a big deal” are popping up. Will it bring new fans to the fold? I don’t know. But with BBC and related pages posting non-stop about the “men that need to get with it and stop being sexist” it does seem to be a little planned.
On a related note, before delving into the last item. The common statement is that all the “hatred” is from “sexist males who need to get out of their parent’s basements, takes a shower, grow up, and join the human race”. However, that completely discounts the female population of dissenters. So, on a grander scale, is this type of argument (that men need to stop being sexist and dismissing female viewpoints that may differ) inherently sexist as well? Or is it, well your opinion differs to mine so you don’t count. This was evident with the reboot of Ghostbusters, where male critics were peppered with insults (in some cases it was warranted but not in all) while female voices were ignored and often silenced, just to spread the PR campaign that it was being targeted just because of sexism and not for the content of the film.
Lastly, the claim could be made that since Chibnall has worked with Whittaker before that this isn’t as much about finding the right person to play the role, just the easiest. That puts the last season of Broadchurch to boast two different Dr.’s from the Whovian universe. That added bit of publicity for the old show, and the publicity for the new makes it a win-win on the marketing side.
As for where I stand, I will wait and see. Capaldi started off rough, but I grew to like him a little. Smith was ok, I liked him, and my wife loved Tennant. Mostly I look back as see that none of them are the old Doctors.