Forgive this bit of a disorganised rant but I'm doing my best to shut up about this on Twitter and not irritate people / ruin their enjoyment of things with my dissatisfaction. But I need to vent on the record somewhere, and this is why blogs exist.
I've been a Doctor Who fan basically my whole life and this is the first time I've found myself just waiting for a showrunner's era to end, and I don't like the feeling.
When Chris Chibnall was announced as showrunner, I was bloody excited. Broadchurch had had a great impact on me, and I was expecting that level of tension and skillful plotting in Doctor Who. And knowing he was a fan made me think the show would be in great hands.
The first story was great.
And then Ryan slowly started to do nothing. (and I don't think he was ever directed well).
And then Yaz started to slowly do nothing.
And then The Doctor started to become very reactive and passive. It wasn't until her showdown with The Grand Serpent in Flux that we started to see her true sharpness, wit and cleverness come through.
Instead Jodie Whittaker's tenure got inextricably bound to Chibnall's half-arsed attempt to upend everything we know to "open up possibilities" that frankly, we already had.
The Timeless Child balderdash further robbed her Doctor of her agency (kneel before the Master!), her uniqueness (oh you're the first female Doctor? Not anymore!), got everyone invested in a sub-plot that even the show metatextually (and cheekily) points out "Doesn't even matter," and even sidelines the first black Doctor to an enigma that was reduced to being reflections in a mirror during flashback scenes that should have been all about her! (in Flux).
But this isn't only about that massive, awful thing. (That also spat in the face of fifty years of character growth and what was achieved in the 50th anniversary special, but I digress.)
His era was such a waste of great potential. He did great things by casting Jodie Whittaker, Jo Martin, and Sacha Dhawan, and, while giving them brief, shining moments, never let them grow to be as epic as they should have been. He pissed it all away.
The "Straw breaking the camel's back" for me was the moment in Orphan 55 where Jodie's Doctor flagrantly brushed off Graham's cry for help when he was in great distress about his cancer diagnosis, never circling back to give him even a consoling talk.
I can accept that The Doctor might have lost her social skills via regeneration, but The Doctor never lets their limitations stop them from helping a friend in pain! That's foundational (once you get past aloof Hartnell). The fact that Chibnall never bothered to develop her character enough to at least TRY to overcome that flaw to help Graham felt like violence to the character. The Doctor is not someone who just leaves things alone when their friends are in distress! (Unless you're Adric, sorry Adric).
Credit where credit is due, Chibnall was wonderful in reinventing and updating old monsters. And he did save the show by taking the job when no-one else wanted it. (Probably because of moaners like me).
I just wish he had shown that same skill and passion in reinventing The Doctor.
His Doctor (especially the first female Doctor, who was bound to be under a microscope, for good or ill) should have been in charge from minute one, much like Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker or David Tennant. And as Flux showed us, she can pull that off with aplomb. But she was rarely given the chance to shine, and that was just criminal.
I truly wish Jodie and the others could have had a run under RTD before they left. I want to see what they could have achieved under better stewardship.
All I can say is I'll be glad when the Centennial special (or whatever they decide to name it) is done and I can see the back of Chibnall forever.
Having successfully invaded both America and Canada from her home base in Windsor, Paisley has become horribly corrupted by the world. She hates active voice and wished to god Twitter had an edit button but is now glad to be rid of that place. Dedicated to "creating the greatest 'Ship of them all", she ponders horribly terrible, idiotic things for your amusement.