It’s almost that time of year again. Lights flicker. Snow falls. Familiar music pipes in, surrounding us all and enveloping us in a warm hug as if to say, “You’re home now.” The woosh of the engines lulls us into comfort … I am, of course, talking about the Doctor Who Christmas Marathon that leads up to the Doctor Who Christmas Special. It’s my favorite holiday tradition. This year, it’s a seven-day marathon leading up to the final day for Peter Capaldi as The Doctor as well as being the final episode for showrunner Steven Moffat.
That’s right. We’re getting a new Doctor AND a new showrunner. Jodie Whittaker will be the first female Doctor, ushering in an exciting new era for Doctor Who fans. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding what she will be like as a character. Obviously, the Doctor is always the same, but a little different with each incarnation, and I’m excited to see what Jodie Whittaker will bring to the character. I’m also excited because this will be Alice’s first Doctor.
We are now binge-watching Doctor Who episodes so that Alice is all caught up in time for Christmas. Really, this means that I play Doctor Who in the background while I work and she plays with her toys, but every once in a while she looks up at the screen and watches for a few minutes. And in those few minutes, while she’s paying attention, I tell her all about why I love Doctor Who so much.
When I was a kid, my father introduced me to science fiction. We would watch Doctor Who on PBS. I don’t remember seeing all of those episodes of Doctor Who specifically, but I do remember spending time with my Dad. It was our thing. Later on, “our thing” would include my brother and sister, and we would all enjoy Star Wars, Monty Python, Star Trek, The Three Stooges, and The X-Files. Dad would talk about why he thought these things were so great. These things would spark conversations and open up a dialogue that strengthened our family connection. We’d talk about war, about why people have a hard time accepting each other’s differences, about politics, about love, and about The Knights Who Say Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Pitang-Zoom-Boing!
This is what I want for my family. I want us to be close. I want us to have a strong connection. I want the things that we enjoy together to open up a dialogue. The Doctor encourages growth and communication, creative problem solving, exploration, and togetherness. The Doctor tells us that we can be whoever we want or need to be and we believe him – and now her.
I know there’s a lot of concern over introducing the female Doctor. I’ve read arguments over sexism and political correctness, and I’m done with that. Unlike Captain Picard on the Enterprise, I don’t engage. I didn’t engage when the Ghostbusters reboot announced the female cast. I didn’t engage at a recent magician’s convention when the men selling me the tricks made jokes about women, and then praised me for being a woman in the field while wondering why more women don’t get involved in magic. (Like, duh.) I don’t engage because, for the most part, when these conversations come up, the person “asking the question” isn’t interested in my answer. Online, it’s worse. You walk in, expecting to have an argument, but you’ve accidentally walked into abuse.
There are always going to be naysayers. I’ve dealt with my fair share of them (because didn’t you know? Art/writing/insert-creative-thing-here isn’t a real job). I won’t let that negativity get me down anymore. I’m excited about Jodie Whittaker being the next Doctor and I’m not going to let someone else ruin my excitement. This is Doctor Who and my daughter is going to have an amazingly strong female character to look up to. Hell, I’m going to have an amazingly strong female character to look up to! And I hope that growing up with her will help inspire my daughter to see what it took me years to see – there are a lot of people who are going to love to pull you down. But there is also a whole beautiful, fantastic universe out there to explore, and if we take that leap into the unknown, we can do ANYTHING.
* The Doctor Who Marathon begins Tuesday, December 19th (8:00 AM) on the BBC and on BBC America and will go on 24 hours a day for seven days. The Doctor Who Christmas Special airs on Christmas Day.