Trial by Fire
The film plods at points, trudging along, and there are a few misguided narrative "devices" tacked on, but still, "Trial by Fire" bristles with anger.
So it turns out that, while announcing that the new Doctor would be another British white male, "Doctor Who" showrunner Steven Moffat, who this year pretty much obliterated the show with equal doses of humiliating sexism and dumber-than-Hollywood High Concepts (the episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" was the Doctor finding just that), and got rid of almost everything Who-like—the epic humanism, the implacable melancholy, the making any sense at all—this same Moffat was selling his show to America, to the world, and assuming that it's all peopled by misogynist idiots.
So, there was Moffat, keeper of the tradition of not allowing even one women in the writer's room since 2008, at a press conference announcing the new, 55-year-old Doctor. Somebody asked if he ever even thought about casting a woman or an Asian or anyone but a white British male. Moffat spat back the joke, "That would be like casting the role of the Queen with a man."
This would just be a stupid joke were it not for the fact that in "Doctor Who" itself, it is stated that the Doctor can be of any race or gender.
So the fans were not projecting when they waited with bated breath for weeks for change after 50 years of swinging…well, whatever's under the Doctor's trousers.
Moffat's jest—so at one with the entire attitude towards chicks on the show—demolishes the whole point of "Doctor Who," the whole mission statement, the entire reason it's shown to kids: Because it's a show of infinite possibility.
The Doctor lives forever, looks different infinitely, goes everywhere with infinite curiosity about everything and infinite empathy. Well, forget all that.
This horrid season, the Doctor gets over the illogical deaths of the two people who have touched him the most in 50 years of companions—Amy and Rory—with a couple of flashbacks. Then it's, "Why look at that! A zany puzzle girl to 'solve'! And she has different names! Interesting!"(Recall that the grieving process over Buffy's mom and Willow's girlfriend consumed entire seasons of narrative on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and almost led to the end of Buffy and/or the World.)
As for the Doctor's current Companion: We all know what happens to girls who attract men because of their mystery—they're discarded for a newer, younger model. I'll assume that's the sort of message Moffat will be teaching us now.
But I digress. Moffat's joke says he's closed off to possibility. One wonders what other old oaks his creative axe won't take a swing at, and what fringes he won't balance on because it would just be too unseemly and not the way things are done.
And remember, the Doctor's a dude. As long as Moffat's in charge, he will be a dude.
All of this is blasphemy. And boorrriinnng.
And him looking down the barrel of fan hopes and spitting 'piss off.' Saving the world is a straight man's job. Sorry, you cute anime girls in the front row, I do love your dollars, yens, francs and dineros. It's just you who don't matter. Now lookee here: this season we have some woolly mammoths on a starship!
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A tribute to Doris Day.