GUEST POST – Adventures in Narrative Substitution #1: Introduction & “The Eleventh Hour”

by Christa Mactíre


Greetings, DoWntime readers! I’m Christa Mactíre, and like most of you I tuned in to watch the premiere of Doctor Who’s eleventh series on October 7th, 2018, lured by the promise of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor and a new authorial voice in the form of show runner Chris Chibnall. While surprisingly grim and dour for a Doctor introduction story, The Woman Who Fell to Earth was a promising start to what could have been a fascinating new era for our collective favorite show. I even, after several years sitting on the sidelines, took a dive into reviews and televisual criticism on my Tumblr blog, which you can find here.

But then the wheels started to come off the train. As the weeks rolled by and the series continued, the flaws that stuck out to me in first few episodes began to feel less like bugs and more like features. The lack of interiority in the Thirteenth Doctor relative to her recent predecessors, the focus on male pain (and especially white male pain) at the expense of women of color, deeply unfortunate racial politics, emphasis on heterosexual relationships after claiming greater LGBT representation, killing off gay characters or making them antagonists, the Doctor’s refusal to stand up to corrupt regimes, the Doctor’s myopic morals in regards to violence and weapons, the lack of wonder and warmth in any of the episodes… I could spend all day listing all the flaws in Series 11, but I don’t really want to. The point is: Series 11 was, in my opinion and in those of several others, one of the weakest seasons the show has seen since it returned, and I wanted something better.

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TIBERIAN THOUGHTS – Sheffield Steel, or a Subjective Look at the Thirteenth Doctor #11: “Resolution”

And so, the long journey of soul-searching the show has gone on over a few months ends.

Resolution” isn’t, of course, some kind of revolutionary masterpiece. But it is, very much notably, completely breaking away from the style Chibnall developed in his Whittaker episodes so far  – empty meditations about absence, a dramatization of the collapse of Who itself, call it what you want. As in the show, and its lead writer, had sort of decided to stop lamenting its inability to rise up to the task, and decided to go “eh, whatever, let’s try”; inverting the set-up of “The Woman who Fell to Earth” as to proclaim that this is the real beginning, that the previous statement of purpose of the era wasn’t quite the right one, and that now we can properly get to business. It’s quite like his work on Torchwood: broad, and kind of sloppy, but it has an energy and a truthfulness to it, bits of brilliance shining through.

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BIT OF ADRENALINE, DASH OF OUTRAGE – Our Thoughts on “Resolution”

Ruth Long (@UndiscoveredAdv on Twitter) is a writer, amateur graphic designer, and animal lover, best-known as the co-lead writer of Clara Oswald: The Untold Adventures, a fan-written project following the character of Clara after the events of Hell Bent (the trailer for which is now available on Twitter). You can also catch her on the odd Who podcast, writing meta, or waffling about this, that, or the other on forums. Her favourite Doctor is Peter Capaldi (and if she’s being really cheeky, Jenna Coleman).

Caitlin Smith (@bossy_Clara on Twitter) is writer and student from Australia, and she is also a co-lead writer on Clara Oswald: The Untold Adventures along with Ruth. She used to write meta on tumblr as abossycontrolfreak, now she just waffles on twitter and occasionally has something interesting to say. She’s also a regular on the Eruditorum Presscast. Her favourite Doctor is Clara Oswald.

James Johnson (@JamesStreetmanx on Twitter) is a Creative Media student from Liverpool. He spends his downtime discussing, watching and obsessing over near anything Doctor Who related, especially Daleks. He aspires to become a graphic designer in the future. His favourite Doctor is a tie between Seven, Nine and Twelve (impossible to truly pick one favourite!) Continue reading