TV Review: Doctor Who 12th Season

I’ve been a fan of Doctor Who since the relaunch, and it’s been wonderful to watch all of these different actors put their spin on the character. It’s one of the really cool parts about having a main character that “regenerates” into someone new, but still familiar.

I was really excited about last season’s take on the doctor with Jodie Whittaker, being the first Doctor to regenerate into a woman.  The eleventh season gave her a chance to express herself and show off what she wanted to do with the character. I was excited to see this continue in season 12.

**** SPOILERS BELOW ****

Despite my excitement, I felt a bit let-down by this season. Doctor Who has always had a certain level of messaging to it. It often has storylines that comment on the state of human affairs, and how we too often are instruments of our own self-destruction. However, this season it feels like it went from commentary to preachy. There were many episodes that were focused on issues such as plastics in the ocean or nuclear war, and instead of being somewhat clever with the message, the Doctor just outright said what the problem was and why humans were bad for hurting themselves or the planet.

Despite this issue, I was please with the final 4 episodes in the season. The arc of the Timeless Child and Cybermen was well done, and it really allowed Jodie Whittaker to establish her role as the Doctor, and how she was playing the part. It took seven episodes, but I finally felt like the show started to get it’s stride this season.

I know there’s some controversy around retconning the Doctor into the original progenitor of the Time Lord race, but in many ways I think it helps close some plot holes from the past. My only concern is that they’ve now opened up a new thread about discovering where she really came from. In many ways, I don’t feel like we need to pull on that thread.

Apart from the Doctor, I felt like the companions took time to establish themselves this year as well. By the end I felt like they had really hit their stride. Hopefully, that will continue into next season so we don’t need to spend so much time re-establishing each of them. I think there’s a lot of potential in Yaz and Ryan in particular, and I’m excited to see what they grow in to.

Finally, I do have to say I didn’t like the final scene with the Doctor getting kidnapped. After such a heavy episode with so much being revealed, a simple fade out to the sound of the TARDIS humming would have been sufficient.

Jodie Whittaker is signed on for one more season. I’m curious to see where she take the Doctor going forward.

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