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Why Doctor Who Fans Are Divided Over Jodie Whittaker's Doctor

"Doctor Who" is one of the most fascinatingly unique television shows that's currently airing. Originally, "Doctor Who" ran from 1963 to 1989, before being revived in 2005, where it's remained a staple of British television ever since. "Doctor Who" focuses on an alien time traveler named the Doctor, who comes from a race of beings called the Time Lords. They travel through space and time with their revolving door cast of companions, saving the galaxy from other alien threats or going on adventures.

What's allowed "Doctor Who" to continue airing for so many years without worrying about an aging cast is the particularly clever plot device called Regeneration. Whenever the Doctor is close to death, they can regenerate into a completely new physical form. This has led to many casting changes throughout the years, allowing the show to explore new actors, new storylines, and new stylistic choices based on the actor portraying the Doctor and the showrunner in charge. The latest incarnation, played by Jodie Whittaker, is the first woman to step into the role of the Doctor.

As it turns out, her era of "Doctor Who" has garnered a divisive response from fans of the show, and maybe not for the reasons that fans would expect.

Some fans believe that the writing has failed Jodie Whittaker

On the r/doctorwho subreddit, u/MartieB offered up an opinion post related to Whittaker's tenure as the Doctor, and how they believe that her casting doesn't actually "empower women." A lot of this critique boiled down to the writing choices made for her version of the Doctor by showrunner Chris Chibnall. Mainly because, in this person's opinion, it relied on gender stereotypes instead of remaining true to the character of the Doctor. "In my opinion, the Doctor should have stayed the Doctor, regardless of gender, and I feared the writing and [characterization] would change to better suit gender stereotypes," they wrote. "Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened."

They went on to say that the Doctor comes off as more of a nurturing mother figure as opposed to the sometimes arrogant and often commanding role that the male versions of the Doctor would inhabit. Still, they agreed that Whittaker has done the best with the material she's been given. Others in the thread agreed, like u/Larry2Thumbs who wrote, "If she had been cast instead of Matt Smith she might have been a 4+ season Doctor. The writing was a marked downgrade from Capaldi's episodes to say the least." User u/reprobatemind2 believed that the moral ambiguity of the Doctor had been stripped from the character thanks to Chibnall's writing.

So it appears that, while some fans appreciate Whittaker's performance, the writing for her incarnation has been underwhelming at best.