Once more DOCTOR WHO arrives at the same disorienting, strangely meta precipice on which the show has repeatedly found itself perched over the years: out goes a Doctor/performer currently leading its narrative, and in comes a new one. Accompanying this change? An entire repositioning of the heart of the show, its overall tone, its visibility in the public eye, and how it is perceived in the ‘real world.’
I am, of course, referring here to the imminent departure of Peter Capaldi, and the insertion of Jodie Whittaker into the iconic role - all presumed/stated to occur in Twice Upon a Time, transmitting Christmas Day. But we’ll be getting more than a new Doctor as Capaldi steps down: we’ll be witnessing the end of Steve Moffat’s era in a macro sense, an across-the-board reworking of principal elements we’ve settled into over the past 7 years of his stewardship. Long-standing composer Murray Gold will be exiting the production alongside Moffat, and incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall is brining on board new Directors of Photography with markedly fresh aesthetic ambitions. When DOCTOR WHO returns - love it or hate it - it will look, feel, and sound quite different.
I’ve posited, many times, that DW is chiefly about change, and I believe this characterization extends to behind the scenes as well as its narrative. DOCTOR WHO is, and should always be, about reinvention - and about how characters (and, by extension, viewers and fans) react and adapt to ‘the new.’
Thus, it’s difficult to be entirely downtrodden that so much rejiggering is currently afoot, as such flux is what has allowed the show to endure for as long as it has. Change is an integral component in DOCTOR WHO. It is a natural function. It is - regeneration.
On the other hand, it’s difficult…perhaps impossible…not to feel at least a tad bittersweet on this occasion.
For me, at least.
I have largely enjoyed Moffat’s time at the helm. No matter what quality of work Chibnall brings to the party, and hopefully he will bring to bear creativity and clarity of the highest order, there are…quite simply…Moffaty elements of I will always, inescapably miss. Beloved Moffaty elements no one will ever be able to emulate, no matter how hard they try.
For me, at least.
With this, the Twice Upon a Time discussion board is now alive. Between now and the new year, a separate ‘General Discussion’ board will be launched to span the time between now and the formal arrival of Whittaker, Chibnall, and Season 11.
Come what may, it'll be a fascinating adventure.
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Onward. Always onward…