Jodie Whittaker Brings a Fresh New Look to “Doctor Who”


In the past few years, the presence of women in TV and movies has greatly increased, and the historically male-dominated science fiction show “Doctor Who” is no exception.

“Doctor Who” can sometimes be a bit tricky to follow, so here’s a quick rundown of the show: The Doctor is an alien called a Time Lord, and he, now she, flies around space and time in a machine called a TARDIS, saving the universe. “Doctor Who” has been airing since 1963, so how can there be the same Doctor? Well, every few seasons, the Doctor has the power to regenerate, changing their whole body, face, and personality. The show is engaging and fun, filled with lots of action, strange aliens, and snarky British humor.

Before 2017, there had been 12 different Doctors, all of them male. However, at the end of 2017, the BBC rocked the science fiction community by announcing that the 13th Doctor would be played by Jodie Whittaker—the first woman to ever play the iconic role. This season was one of the show’s strongest in acting, sets, animation and storylines, even if a few of the episodes were a bit hard to follow.

The season kicked off with a stunning opener, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”. We met the characters who would become the Doctor’s companions, Yaz Khan (Mandip Gill), Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), and Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) and of course, the Doctor herself. The first episode with a new Doctor is always important, as it sets up the Doctor’s personality and philosophy.

This season boasted some of the most political and social justice based episodes in the history of the show. Take for instance, the episode “Rosa”, in which the Doctor and her companions travel to Montgomery, Alabama, and meet none other than Rosa Parks herself. The Doctor and her companions must stop the villain Kraskow, who wants to stop Rosa from refusing to give up her seat on the bus. This already political episode is heightened by the fact that Ryan is black, and Yaz is of Pakistani descent. This episode touches upon issues with race and discrimination that we still deal with today, not just in the past, in a beautiful and poignant way.

However, not all of the episodes were as well structured. The episode “It Takes You Away” was one of the most confusing episodes of the the season, with a loose plot, unclear antagonist and rambling storyline. It was often very confusing to follow, and the show tried unsuccessfully to finish the character arc between Ryan and Graham.

Of course, the most closely critiqued subject of this season was the Doctor herself, played by Jodie Whittaker. Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor is funny, quirky, lively and a bit awkward all at once, and it works well with the storylines and seems to fit in with all the other portrayals of the Doctor—different, but still similar enough that fans still get that authentic Doctor Who feeling.

Overall, this season was one of the show’s best, and that’s saying a lot considering how long it has been on the air. While some of the episodes are a bit hard to follow, they all had a deep, heartfelt meaning that the actors brought out beautifully. And, of course, the Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker, brings a fresh new look and personality to the iconic role, and she ushered in a new era of change. Whittaker has said she will continue another season or two, but after that, perhaps the first black, Asian or even American Doctor may take the reins. Season 11 of Doctor Who is a gamechanger, not just for the series, but for the media as a whole.