Sunday, December 05, 2021

"Doctor Who": How Did Chibnall Do ?

Last Sunday represented the end of Doctor Who’s newest series and many would say that it ended with not a bang, but a whimper. This is not to say that this is indicative of the whole series though, as it has helped breathe life into the BBC’s most iconic IP once more. Those who have been following along with Doctor Who news will know that the showrunner, Chris Chibnall, was recently confirmed to be stepping down after this series and several specials scheduled for next year conclude. Then, a new Doctor and an old showrunner will be stepping in, Russell T. Davies. In the meantime, fans have a New Years’ Day special to look forward to, but it could be useful to look back in preparation and evaluate just how well Doctor Who: Flux did:

Fans of Doctor Who will have been aware of the state of the show before this series dropped as it is arguably the worst it has ever been in. Numbers were at their lowest which meant that audience interest was dwindling. Without a doubt, this can be identified to be the fault of the current showrunner Chris Chibnall. Despite having written for Doctor Who and its spin-off before, Chibnall began to drastically change its writing so that it went backwards, not forward. This meant that Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor did not feel like the Doctor, which is perhaps the worst mistake that any writer for Doctor Who can make. The gravity of this was magnified with the first seasons of Chibnall’s tenure because Whittaker was the first female Doctor, an important moment in the franchise.

 The issues continued with the writing of other characters, who all came off as boring and disinterested. After the first season of Chibnall’s era, the audience has no less a feel for these characters than they do the Doctor herself, which again, was a mistake. Something that Chibnall got flack for though was the over political messaging he layered over the show’s stories, mixing the real with the fictional. This is not something that people want, but it isdeed what they got. The Doctor used to do all sorts of things – he even visited a casino one time in the show, though audiences nowadays are likely to enjoy online options like rather than the dangerous one the Doctor went to! 

Fortunately, all these criticisms were addressed in some way during the newest season of Doctor Who, and audiences around the world felt something they hadn’t felt in a while when they watched the first episode of the season – happiness. The Doctor felt like the Doctor we have seen countless times before, and the cast has been reduced to allow room for the side characters to grow. They now feel like they are useful to the story but they are also interesting outside of it, showing how much Chibnall has improved his writing. 

Although the finale was a tad disappointing, the season succeeded in garnering excitement about the franchise again, which is just what is needed in time for the return of Davies.

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