What I Learned (and Questions Remaining After) Watching Doctor Who: Flux in One Sitting

Harkening back to the serial nature of Classic Doctor Who stories, the last series of Doctor Who, Series Thirteen, was six episodes telling one massive story.  Named Doctor Who: Flux, this series premiered on 31 October 2021 and each episode was released in weekly installments with the finale airing 5 December 2021.  Filmed amidst Covid restrictions, I’m not sure how long the original arc of Flux was intended to be but the effects were evident in many ways, from lack of location shoots to the primary cast playing multiple roles to a narrative running over with story bits.  While I adore the Thirteenth Doctor – seeing her as “my Doctor” in as much as I can see any Doctor as “mine” when I love them all – and largely love what Chris Chibnall has done with the world of Doctor Who during his time as showrunner, Flux was…rough.  Watching it week to week there was so much I enjoyed but I also felt the narrative was overcrowded, trying to do too much with the time they had and ending with many questions lingering in my mind.  So I wanted to see if watching this one sweeping story in one sitting affected my understanding of the story!

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And Lo, Jodie Whittaker Begat Ncuti Gatwa: Feelings on the Thirteenth Doctor’s Impending Regeneration

This fall, in a 90 minute special airing in October as part of the BBC’s Centenary Celebration, the Thirteenth Doctor will regenerate as the Fourteenth Doctor comes into being.[1]  After all the speculation as to who would follow Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor in the TARDIS, the BBC announced Sex Education’s Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the Doctor’s fourteenth regeneration[2] (well, you know, fourteenth not counting the Fugitive Doctor, the War Doctor, the Morbius Doctors, and every incarnation of the Doctor we’ve met and/or seen alluded to with the Timeless Child).  Naturally, there’ve been many pieces reporting the announcement and compiling quotes from Ncuti Gatwa, returning showrunner Russell T Davies, Jodie Whittaker, Chris Chibnall, and everyone else in the orbit of Doctor Who willing to comment on the news.  This piece isn’t that.  Others have written it (and have done a better job than I could (that’s not my strength as a writer)).  Instead, I want to talk about feelings (much more my forte!) about this impending regeneration when our ever-changing Doctor will change once again.

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The Third Doctor and the Shadow of the Division: A Timeless Child Reflection

One of the unique things about a show/story/character as long running as Doctor Who is its potential to fold back on itself, to tell a story that opens a new path for future narratives while also inviting you to return to older stories and see them in a new way.  As I explored last week, Chris Chibnall’s addition of the Timeless Child to the world of Doctor Who certainly does that.  This week, as I’ve been filling my time between Doctor Who: Flux “Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse” and Doctor Who: Flux “Chapter Two: War of the Sontarans,” I’ve been continuing my journey through all 695 episodes of Classic Doctor Who.  As I’m moving through the Third Doctor’s era (which I ADORE), I’ve been thinking of the Timeless Child.  Specifically I’ve been thinking of how seamlessly it brings together a few plot points which felt a bit disconnected to me.

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Considering the Timeless Child’s Place Within the World of Doctor Who

On the eve of the premiere of Doctor Who: Flux, “The Halloween Apocalypse” (best. title. EVER.), I figured it was apropos to reflect on the Timeless Child.  Tomorrow, the first episode of Jodie Whittaker’s final full series as the Doctor will air.  Shortened due to Covid affecting filming, Doctor Who: Flux will be one single six episode serial story.  It, along with three feature length specials with Jodie airing next year, will also mark the end of Chris Chibnall’s time as showrunner for Doctor Who.  The Timeless Child is the largest narrative plot point developed during his time at the helm.  It’s one of the most hotly debated, too.  I wanted to write about it as soon as the episode aired…but I had SO MANY feelings and I had NO IDEA how to sort any of them.  They needed to percolate.  I needed time to think.  But now, with Doctor Who: Flux about to begin, I want to discuss the Timeless Child.  And, oddly enough, it was the model set in Spider-Man comics which helped me get to the point where I could see how the Timeless Child fits within the world of Doctor Who.

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Doctor Who, “Can You Hear Me?,” and the Nightmares of (More) Pandemic Teaching

A little over a year ago I wrote a piece reflecting on the seemingly unbearable struggles of pandemic teaching.  At the time, I used Tony Stark’s journey through Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as my frame to help me understand what I was going through and all I was feeling.  Writing it was very personal and deeply cathartic.  In the end, I survived last year!  I didn’t quit!  I even managed to find incredible beauty in all the struggle, too.  Now I’m a month and a half into a new school year and, well, I thought it would be easier.  Yet I find myself pulled down in this dispiriting emotional mire once more.  This time Doctor Who offers a more apt lens to frame my experience.  Given today is World Mental Health Day – and we’re all struggling in our own ways and we all deserve to be heard and validated in those struggles – sharing this seemed appropriate.  When the school year returned, I needed the Doctor.  I still do.  I think we all do.

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Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant – My Dream Doctor Team-Up

Last spring, for our Fiction’s Fearless Females series, I wrote a piece about Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor.  In it I said she had officially taken the top place in my heart from David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor.  But that doesn’t mean I still don’t adore Ten with all my heart!  I just love Thirteen more.  So last week, as both Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant joined James Cordon (who was also on Doctor Who with Matt Smith!) on The Late Late Show, I was in heaven.  Then I started thinking about how AMAZING it would be if we could see these two together on screen, side by side, both playing their respective Doctor.  And, while I trust showrunner Chris Chibnall to pull it off far better than I could, I contemplated how I’d do it.  So, as far as I’m concerned, this is how these two Doctors could meet. Continue reading

Doctor Who – Getting to Know the Thirteenth Doctor Once a Week

Jodie Whittaker’s debut as the Doctor was special for me.  I’ve only recently come into the world of Doctor Who, watching all ten (modern) seasons of the show last year.  I began in the fall of 2017 with Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor (well, technically I started with David Tennant but my friend Theresa kept making sad sighs when she heard I didn’t start at the beginning so I went back and did) and finished Peter Capaldi’s run in the spring of 2018.  So Jodie Whittaker became the first Doctor I got to watch as the season aired.  It was so exciting!  As this eleventh season (or series if I’m being English about it) of Doctor Who unfolded, I kept thinking of a post I wrote awhile back about being exhausted by binging and streaming TV shows.  Jodie Whittaker and company have consistently delivered everything I’ve come to love about a Doctor Who episode!  But I think part of the magic of this season came from watching it on a weekly basis. Continue reading