Doctor Who is back, louder and more chaotic than before

Doctor Who famous for constantly reinventing itself while remaining more or less the same. The show has had a rough couple of years, which led to some dramatic changes behind the scenes. Behind Russell T. Davies Doctor Who In 2005, a revival made the rounds to save the show. Historically an in-house BBC production, the business is now handled by a Sony-owned production company. And Disney financed it, with this new revival being released as a Disney+ Original outside of the UK.

Behind the scenes, the dramatic changes have raised some fundamental questions Doctor Who will develop in this new world. Will Davies be able to bring the show back from the brink for a second time? Will the show appeal to Zoomers the way it found a loyal audience of Millennials? And it would Doctor Who Surviving intact under Disney, accustomed to obsessive levels of control?

That’s the last question I can answer by watching the first two episodes of this new eight-episode season: Doctor Who not tailored to the new paymasters or the large international audience that sees this show open every Friday. Actually, in fact, Kim 24 Weird, avant-garde doubled down on being hard to control and harder to pigeon hole. It’s a little punk and a little rough around the edges, which makes it more interesting than, say, some of the other Disney+ series I could mention.

I’m not allowed to share much of what I saw, but the first episode, “Space Babies,” featured the Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson) visiting a space station built by babies. As you can see in the trailer, there is liberal use of implausible and creepy CGI mouths for said rugrats. The Devil’s Chord, meanwhile, sees the TARDIS travel to Abbey Road to meet the Beatles at the start of their career.

If this is your first experience Dr. Kim, please start your Christmas Day special with The Church on Ruby Road. These first three episodes are the jumping off point and form the standard “Present”, “Future” and “Past” trilogy that Davies uses to open his runs. All three are marketed as fun romps, but there’s a sleaze that stems from Davies’ underlying cynicism. As much as he can paint with primary colors, his outlook is much darker than some of his colleagues.

Davies is a strong advocate for better queer representation in film and television and is arguably one of the most powerful gay men in media. Many of his shows, including A Queer, Cucumber, Very British Scandal Like Folk and This is sin centers on strange stories. Davies has made it clear that he wants to bring queer experiences to the fore this season Doctor Who and he does it with pride. He said Diversity That the doctor “sounds with extraordinary energy” and that he is not a “castrated doctor”.

Some context: In 2021, Davies called out Disney+ for not being realistic on some of its other shows. During the virtual panel as reported Pink News, he pointed to Loki’s single reference to the protagonist’s fluid sexuality as a warning sign. “Loki mentions being bisexual once and everyone likes it”oh god it’s like a pansexual show,” he said. The addition of the single-spoken reference was “a ridiculous, flippant, feeble gesture toward vital politics and stories that need to be told.”

Davies returns to the job following the failure of his predecessor, Chris Chibnall, who is likely to be demoted. Chibnall inherited a successful show and opted to broaden his horizons by hiring a more diverse crew both in front of and behind the camera. This includes writers such as Malori Blackman and Vinay Patel and two women, Jodie Whittaker and Jo Martin, playing the Doctor. Chibnall also refused to bow to culture war pressure when tiresome people started shouting that the show was “woke”.

But for all the show’s goodwill — and Chibnall’s early decisions helped garner it — the showrunner quickly began to burn out as he built his legacy. The quality of his episodes has never been great, and he’s written inconsistent episodes or said pretty terrible things in a nonsensical way. He later began using the show as a vehicle for his own fan theories, even re-litigating the tenuous continuity issues. I I squeezed my eyes so hard that my skull caved in.

And then he created a secret origin story for the Doctor that essentially wrote most of the previous 60 years of character development. He turned the Doctor into a sort of Space Jesus and then proceeded to destroy a significant portion of the series’ fictional universe. Viewers weren’t thrilled: 8.2 million watched Chibnall’s first regular-season episode, but that number dropped to 3.47 million by the end of his run.

It would be smart to throw it all away and declare a fresh start, but Davies took a different approach. He chose the smoothness of Yes-And Chibnall, incorporating last season’s disastrous events as the new backdrop for the series. The universe is now “confused,” which has caused the show’s fictional reality to bend in new, weirder, and more whimsical directions. But before Doctor Who sat at the intersection of science and fantasy, now turned into a soft fantasy show. Villains like the Toymaker and the Goblin King push the Doctor into a more mythic register than before.

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson) explore a space station full of babies in 'Space Babies'.The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby (Millie Gibson) explore a space station full of babies in 'Space Babies'.

BBC / Disney+

CGI baby mouths aside, Doctor Who doesn’t work unless it’s tied to slick production values, great writing, and great acting. Ncuti had already become a superstar thanks to his work on Gatwa Sex Education and Barbie and the magnetic presence on the screen. I try to take your eyes off him, but he is ready to give space and time to his stars. Millie Gibson has a more challenging role as Ruby Sunday, who has to keep her character grounded and believable in this fantasy world. The role of the Doctor’s traveling companion has netted many British A-listers since the show’s return, and Gibson is clearly destined for big things.

If there’s one thing these opening episodes have in common, it’s that Doctor Who isn’t the same show from one week to the next. It enjoys being chaotic, moving freely between genres and styles, with the freedom that its main character enjoys. So if this is your first time aboard the TARDIS, welcome and brace yourself for some silly and serious fun.

Oh, and they set the title sequence.

The first two episodes of Doctor Who arrive worldwide on Disney+ on Friday, May 10 at 7:00 PM ET and Saturday, May 11 at midnight on BBC iPlayer in the UK. One episode will arrive simultaneously over the next six weeks.

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