Sunday, November 4, 2018
Wither the Doctor?
None of this is about the casting of Jodie Whittaker. She’s great, and the best thing season 11 has going for it is her performance, and her rapport with her supporting cast, who are all quite engaging. The casting is great.
So I like Jodie fine, but it seems to me that she’s propping up an increasingly rickety season.
Edited to Add: The Tsuranga Conundrum is slightly better than Arachnids in the UK, though it has enough plot holes and unused Chekov's Guns for a shootout at the OK Corral. I did like the way the Doctor worked out a way to save the ship and send the Pting off happy. It was a cute-comic end for a monster that didn't quite cut it.
The cast seem to be working well, as an ensemble and individually. It’s just the writing is....blah. Some good ideas, some good sequences—a very watchable first episode, and Rosa had some great comedic moments mixed in with the history (Ryan awe-struck addressing Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King by their full names was well handled). Bradley Walsh's agony at having to make a seat unavailable to force the conflict between Rosa Parks and the bus driver grounded the moment quite well, but Vinette Robinson brought enough gravitas to the part that the scene would have worked without him.
But the villains have been dreadful. Krasko was a bore, and Robertson actually started out as a great takeoff of Trump, only to blow out of the storyline when he got bored. "Tim Shaw" isn't exactly making anyone's "best of" list, either, I suspect.
At least we are being spared (thus far) the misanthropy that made Torchwood so dreary, leaching all the fun out of Captain Jack.
The new visual aesthetic is excellent, I should add, richer color palettes and new sights that up the spectacle quality of the program. The music. . . not so much. Even the theme--if you're going to stretch it out, can I have the middle 8, please--is slightly off.
We are in rough waters, right now, and if this incarnation of Doctor Who does find its way, Jodie Whittaker will have been its savior for keeping it moving and afloat.