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Why is Doctor Who failing?

Scified2018-11-20 11:16:15http://www.scified.com/articles/why-doctor-who-failing-7.jpg
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Why is Doctor Who failing?

Doctor Who, the BBC's long-running science fiction TV serial recently returned to the small screen with the thirteenth Doctor portrayed for the first time by a woman in the lead role, British actress Jodie Whittaker. The eleventh series since the property was relaunched in 2005 started strong with a phenomenal performance by newcomer Whittaker, but as the series has continued it has experienced a gradual decline in viewership with the opening episode 'The woman who fell to Earth' attracting 10.9 million viewers, but with the fifth episode only attracting 7.7 million viewers (source - Wikipedia). While most TV serial shows will experience a decline in viewership during a seasonal run, the reason the latest series has experienced such a drastic drop in audience returns is reported to be because of negative reactions to the shows overbearingly 'politically correct' narrative.

Each of the episodes of the eleventh series of Doctor Who that have followed the opening episode have either directly or indirectly featured 'politically correct' elements including a lesbian support character, a pregnant male alien, and two heavily PC episodes - one telling the story of Rosa Parks, and the other set during the partition of India (pictured below). The episode 'Rosa Parks' (pictured above) was truly moving and well written, and although the partition of India is just as worthy a topic of discussion when it comes to racism throughout history, having two such heavy social commentary episodes in a science fiction serial whose latest season is composed of a mere ten episodes is pushing the agenda of social-political platforming somewhat too hard, especially considering that thus far there are are no apparent signs of the shows trademarks antagonists such as the Daleks, Cybermen or the Master.

Of course, those pushing the agenda of faux-feminism and misandry will proclaim that any criticisms aimed against the latest series of Doctor Who are misogynistic in nature, despite the fact that only the most extreme of the show's detractors have criticized Whittakers performance. Like Peter Capaldi before her Whittaker's portrayal of the Doctor isn't what is turning away the fans, its the stories written by the shows new showrunner Chris Chibnall (pictured below) and his team of writers, which is strange considering that Chibnall is allegedly a lifelong fan of the show, having previously worked on the first two seasons of its entertaining but short-lived spin-off Torchwood.

The issue of social-political platforming is one that is seeping into virtually all aspects of the entertainment industry. At its core, the movement is good-natured; trying to eliminate ignorance and hatred toward minorities and promote equality. Sadly, however, those that usually promote social-political platforming are the ones abusing it for political or commercial gain. Too often whenever a new movie, TV show or video game is released proudly holding the banner of social-political platforming that fails to become a critical or commercial success we see those involved in its development proclaim any critical or commercial shortcomings to be because of 'organized hate campaigns'. How many times will filmmakers claim their social-political platforming movies Rotten Tomatoes score is the result of bots, or that their YouTube trailers downvotes are from organized hate campaigners?

As audiences, we get that we live in a world of social, racial, sexual and political diversity, and as a modern audience, we understand the need for better representation of said diversities. But the desire to platform such diversity can, if forced upon your audience, overshadow the narrative of the entertainment you are creating, which will have a negative effect on the general (AKA the majority) audiences enjoyment. Take episode four of Doctor Who's new season 'Arachnids in the UK' (pictured above), which featured a red-shirt character called Frankie who was introduced in one scene only to be killed off in the characters next scene moments later. This character, despite quite a few lines of dialogue, is little more than a background stereotype 'business executive'. Why then did the creators of the show feel the need to include that this character was a lesbian, especially when the sexual orientation of the other three characters that shared the opening scene with 'Frankie' wasn't highlighted.

Social-political platforming aside, however, one of the key criticisms that the latest series of Doctor Who is receiving but which is being overshadowed by the argument over how to interpret the shows declining viewership is, as we've already mentioned is the lackluster narrative of the episodes thus far. While the first episode of the new series did feature an atypical Doctor Who alien antagonist, the villain of each of the subsequent episodes since have been human or human-looking characters. Doctor Who's new production team, headed by Chibnall is stifling the enjoyment of the franchise with too much social-political platforming. Fans, both devout and casual want to see the Doctor face impossible odds against seemingly powerful enemies with a healthy dose of manic humor. This is what made the show's revival so successful, especially during David Tennant's widely acclaimed five series run.

Although there will be a New Years Day episode there is no Christmas special this year for the show, the first time since the shows return to the small screen thirteen years ago, which together with only three episodes remaining could see the latest series become the most controversial for the show. Sadly the major news outlets will push the agenda that the show is the latest victim of the allegedly organized misogynistic hate-campaigners, while the real reason for the shows decline, that of overly needless social-political platforming and a clear detour away from the shows tried-and-tested aforementioned strengths will, as it was with the Ghostbusters reboot in 2016 become buried. As a result, if renewed, the twelfth season of Doctor Who will likely continue down the same politically correct route this latest series has taken, which will see viewership numbers continue to decline until inevitably the BBC as they did back in 1989, will cancel the show.

This article was written By Gavin and published on 2018-11-20 11:16:15

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4 Fan responses to Why is Doctor Who failing?

Christmas-ified Emperor GorillaGodzilla

Nov-20-2018 12:18 PM

There's a difference between poor writing and PC. Shows and movies can be politically correct and give representation to accurate modern society, and also have great writing and be extremely entertaining. I understand some aspects of your point when it comes to not using a diverse cast as a cover for your poorly written show, but I don't agree that because of it being PC it is not appealing to this so called "majority". It is likely a case that the episodes of the show are not interesting enough.

If you want to look at a show that has relatively high ratings and good reviews take CW's the Flash, which has a very diverse cast and has even made Iris West African-American. The show is comical but it is still entertaining and provides fun story points that general audiences get behind and give it its high ratings.

I disagree with your points in that regard.

The Legend of Brian

Nov-20-2018 1:15 PM

Except it's not?

Firstly, just a tiny correction, David Tennant was only on the show for three seasons spread over 5 years.

Second you are correct, the rating dip so far is very typical for television shows in the middle of their seasons and this season is no different. 

You say that the dip from 10.9 to 7.7 is a sign the show is dying except, if you look at season 5, which is a comparable season since like season 11 it features a new Doctor (Matt Smith) and new show runner (Steven Moffat) it had a similar dip at this point. Episode 1, The Eleventh Hour had a viewing figure of 10.09 million, but episode 6 Vampires of Venice had 7.68 million viewers and even further down to 6.44 for the Lodger later in the season. By your count, the show was dying during Matt Smiths first season then.

If there's anything to your argument, the 10.9 viewing figure from The Woman Who Fell to Earth was so high because there was a lot of interest to see a female Doctor by those who were in seeing how she would do and 7 million is the base viewing figure, which is still higher than it has been for the past few years.

Jodi's first season is doing even better than Peter Capaldi's first seaon (season 8) which was at 9.17 and 6.99 for the first and fifth episodes respectively as compared to "low" 10.9 and 7.7 million for season 11. 

If the show is doing so badly, it would've been canceled last season when the viewing figures fell to 4.73 for The Eaters of Light.

Sorry, but the argument that this seasons viewing figures are a sign that the show is failing just doesn't hold up when you look at the broader scope. The show is in a better spot than it's been in the past 5 or so years.

Like your article, all my numbers come from wikipedia

Batchpool

Nov-23-2018 10:44 AM

All does not appear to be completely happy in the Dr Who camp. My main complaint up to now, has been the change from the traditional Saturday slot to Sunday instead. I have one or two niggles about the quality of dialogue and the constant repetition about the Doctor being an alien. It is early days and I am still open to the changes. I do feel that Jodie is doing a good job as the Doctor.

However it is emerging and has been reported by NME which sites its source as Starburst that Chris Chibnall is set to leave and that “Jodie Whittaker would not want to continue on as the Doctor without Chibnall at the helm”.

The question does appear to be how long Jodie will remain as the Doctor and could another regeneration be soon on the cards.

https://www.starburstmagazine.com/doctor-bbc-confirm-series-12-broadcast-2019

 

Batchpool

Nov-23-2018 10:45 AM

All does not appear to be completely happy in the Dr Who camp. My main complaint up to now, has been the change from the traditional Saturday slot to Sunday instead. I have one or two niggles about the quality of dialogue and the constant repetition about the Doctor being an alien. It is early days and I am still open to the changes. I do feel that Jodie is doing a good job as the Doctor.

However it is emerging and has been reported by NME which sites its source as Starburst that Chris Chibnall is set to leave and that “Jodie Whittaker would not want to continue on as the Doctor without Chibnall at the helm”.

The question does appear to be how long Jodie will remain as the Doctor and could another regeneration be soon on the cards.

https://www.starburstmagazine.com/doctor-bbc-confirm-series-12-broadcast-2019

 

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