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Introducing Jodie Whittaker, first female Doctor Who

The next Time Lord will be a woman!

Fans of Doctor Who were surprised over the weekend with the announcement that Jodie Whittaker, an actress most known for her role in the BBC drama Broadchurch, will be stepping into the role of the thirteenth doctor! This makes her the first female lead of the 50-year-old television show.

The Doctor, an adventurer who flies around in his time-travelling phone box saving the world with a number of different companions, has always been a man — albeit an eccentric man. After such a long sting, I have to admit it’s hard to imagine the character as a woman.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so. The decision itself has caused a lot of controversy. Long-time fans have said they will no longer watch the show now that the lead is female. The Internet has blown up with sexist remarks and angry sentiments from fans completely distraught that the BBC has decided to change a long-standing tradition of making The Doctor a man. A bit of an overreaction I think.

I, for one, am excited to see where Whittaker takes Doctor Who. While it will be an adjustment, sometimes change is a good thing. There has been a call for a female Doctor Who for years, and honestly, if the BBC decided to hire another white male actor, there probably would have been just as much of an uproar from female fans.

But, I really don’t understand the controversy. Doctor Who, for the most part, has always been a gender-friendly television show. It was only a few seasons ago the writers decided to make The Doctor’s nemesis a woman, despite years of the character being played by a man. I don’t remember such negativity on the Internet when Missy showed up instead of The Master.

And then, there are the companions.

The female companions were always strong-willed characters that were able to keep the madman of a Doctor in check. They asked questions, never assuming the Doctor knew what he was doing, and stood up to him when he was being selfish or high-tempered. They were, and still are, critical parts of the show. Never has a female companion simply become the love interest. In a refreshing twist for a television show, romance is just not part of The Doctor’s charm. Even The Doctor’s wife had to work hard for a little bit of action, and she played a much larger role in saving the world than she did as a lover.

Then there was Captain Jack Harkness, who was the first openly non-heterosexual character on the show. His portrayal of bisexuality (although in 2017 terms he would probably best be described as pansexual) inspired so many people that he was re-cast in the role as the lead for the spin-off series Torchwood.

And finally, in the latest Doctor Who series, writers introduced the first female gay companion.

After all of these transformations, there was nowhere else for Doctor Who to go. Having a female Doctor was necessary and should give the BBC the opportunity it needs to bring a new and refreshing take to the show after the last 50 years. Personally, I think all fans should hold their opinions until they see Whittaker in action.

But, I’m still left with one question. Considering the companions of the story are the real heroes of Doctor Who: will Whittaker’s partner in crime be male, or female? Sure, a powerhouse double female act would be absolutely amazing — but who else is itching for a male companion with a female Doctor? Or better yet, an alien!

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany wins Emmy for Orphan Black

There were a lot of good things that came from Sunday night’s Emmy’s — but for me, the most exciting was that Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany won an award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series.

Yes! I am a part of the Clone Club fan base and I’m not afraid to shout it from the rooftop. But, more specifically, I am a huge fan of Tatiana Maslany.

Maslany plays over 10 different characters in the hit sci-fi television show Orphan Black. Her characters are all clones, but they lead unique and separate lives. They have individual looks, accents, and personalities. Maslany’s ability to make the audience actually believe she is playing different people is what makes her deserving of this award — in fact, I find it hard to believe that it has taken this long.

Not only does Orphan Black create a realistic and frightening portrayal of a world in which evolution can be hand-picked and where sentient beings are considered intellectual property, but it also deals with a number of gender-specific issues that a lot of television shows steer away from. Maslany has played a hot-tempered, single mom from London, England; an American police detective with a drug addiction; a traditional (but scary) soccer mom; a lesbian nerd and geneticist; a tortured Ukrainian assassin; and even a transgendered male. And that is just a list of SOME of the clones within the series. It seems every few episodes a new character is introduced into the plot.

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These characters not only fight to gain their independence and freedom from their creators, but they also represent strong and capable women (and men). What I love about the show is they don’t shove these gender roles, or rather the lack thereof, in your face. LGBTQ characters like clone Cosima and adopted brother Felix are simply there, existing along with everyone else, fighting for the same cause.

That may seem like a strange statement — to say that these characters are “simply existing.” But, in many television shows, writers will use LGBTQ characters as a way to introduce gay-or-lesbian-specific problems or conflicts. They stand out, becoming the quintessential and/or token “gay” or “lesbian” personas.

That is not the case in Orphan Black. If a character is gay, it’s considered a fact. That’s it. Instead of making their gender or sexual orientation a part of the plot, the show focuses on the larger storyline — keeping your family safe and implications of genetic manipulation.

And that’s how it should be.

Even Maslany, who has been nominated twice for the award, acknowledged this powerful part of her role during her acceptance speech. “I feel so lucky to be part of a show that puts women at the center,” she said amid her thank you’s.

I am overjoyed that Maslany has finally received the recognition she deserves for her role in Orphan Black. Every episode I watch, I find that I’m admiring her talents more and more. I don’t know another actress who is able to play such a variety of characters with such intensity, passion, and ability — and all within 45 minutes of television.

So, without risking spoilers, let me just say this: Maslany, congratulations on your Emmy! It is well deserved.