Archive for the ‘Chris Chibnall’ Tag

The Next Doctor   Leave a comment


It’s possible the casting is done and an announcement imminent. It’s possible we have months more to wait. The Internet loses its collective marbles at every opportunity. Rumors! Bookies! Fancasts! It’s all really too much.

And yet here I am adding to the noise.

I don’t have a pick. A lot of the names I see would do just fine, if not great. There’s at least a decent chance the winner will turn out to be someone I’ve never heard of. It’s likely that whoever it is will be amazing. Of course there are a few I’d love to see, but I’m perfectly happy to be surprised.

I still believe, however, it can’t be another white man.

It’s been a tough year for decent people. Racism, misogyny, and violence have won hearts and minds on both sides of the pond. But the Doctor represents the opposite of that. He’s about the best humanity has to offer. Right now the best of humanity is taking a pounding. The Doctor has to take a stand.

Wonder Woman has shown us how much the world needs a new kind of hero. We’ve been starved for goodness and love and doing the right thing – not for credit or fame but because it’s right. As much as I love the Marvel universe, only Captain America comes close – and he’s the Aryan ideal of manhood.

It’s time to pass the torch to someone new.

There’s a lot of pressure on Chris Chibnall right now. Taking on a show of this scope and intensity – and a fanbase this raving – is a mad task in any case. Taking on a show about hope in these times, even more so. There’s no safe space to fall back on – it’s only illusion. The only way out is through. The only way home is forward.

It will be an act of courage. It’ll get him in a world of shit. But it’s his only choice. Anything else would be failure on an epic scale. Temptation must be resisted. The new Doctor must represent a new era, one that includes all kinds of people.

I haven’t seen enough of Chibnall to know if he’s man enough for the task. But I know the Doctor is.


Posted July 3, 2017 by Elisabeth in Commentary, Speculation

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The Chibnall oeuvre   Leave a comment

Our new showrunner these days is best known for his creation of Broadchurch and its two spinoffs, the American Gracepoint and the French Malaterra. However, he has a long history with the Doctor Who family, as well as a range of other types of shows. His more conventional fare includes the TV movie United; the series Camelot; and 6 episodes of Law and Order: UK. But of course, we really want to know how he treats our favorite Time Lord and his friends.

Doctor Who:

  • “42”(2007): This is a pretty good horror-style episode with great side characters, marred by appalling melodrama between the Doctor and Martha. I almost left it off my rewatch for that reason, but the rest of it manages to compensate.
  • The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood” (2010): A decent two-parter, once you overlook the rehash of “Doctor Who and the Silurians.” Good character stuff; a dark look at the underside of human nature; and another favorite in the form of Nasreen Chaudhry.
  • Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” (2012): A weird mix of silly and grim. Tricey and Brian are wonderful, and Amy has a good time too.
  • The Power of Three” (2012): Mostly dull, unless you’re a fan of Amy and Rory’s “ordinary” life. However, there’s lots of Brian, and the first television appearance of Kate Stewart. It’s not her best showing, but still it’s nice to have her.


I haven’t rewatched Torchwood in a long time, so my impressions aren’t as clear. Still, this is as I recall:

  • “Day One” (2006): The second episode of the series and Gwen’s first day on the job, this episode sets the tone for the show and establishes a lot of essential character stuff. It’s weird, intriguing, fun in places, but made us wonder what the hell is up with these people.
  • “Cyberwoman” (2006): This episode is, as I recall, terrible. Everyone is stupid. The sexualized Cyber-costume doesn’t help.
  • “Countrycide” (2006): This episode is scary and gross, and put me off the series originally. I even skipped over it on my second pass at the show. I finally managed to watch it – in daylight – during my great rewatch. It’s classic horror, quite well constructed, but still hard to watch for the non-horror fan.
  • “End of Days” (2007): The S1 finale doesn’t have a whole lot to recommend it – particularly coming on the heels of the spectacular “Captain Jack Harkness.” Everyone is pretty much terrible.
  • “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” (2008): Not great, but gay Spike James Marsters as Jack’s old frenemy spices things up. I also enjoyed sassy Ianto.
  • “Adrift” (2008): A brutal, pessimistic (mis)handling of the mentally ill. This is one of the episodes flagged by fans comparing Moffat’s treatment of disability to Davies’. It doesn’t score well. (Interesting that Chibnall appears on both sides of the line, with this and the Silurian two-parter.)
  • “Fragments” (2008): Cool backstory, not much else.
  • “Exit Wounds”(2008): Jack’s personal drama gets more personal. I definitely remember rolling my eyes at this one.

A mixed bag of stories, to say the least. If anything I’d guess we’ll get more horror in Chibnall’s Doctor Who. We might even get some interesting character stuff: Chibnall aligns his audience with both Ambrose and Restac, both Jack Marshall and the community that turns on him, both acceptance and fear of the differently abled. I look forward to seeing what he does with Doctor Who‘s characters, what other writers he puts on his team, what new direction he takes from what we’ve seen in the past.

Who news   Leave a comment

Regardless of how you feel about him, the departure of the Grand Moff is an event.

I have trouble imagining anyone is truly sad. There may be some emotionally invested young people who find this difficult, but I haven’t seen any of them on Tumblr. Even if you respect him as a writer and a showrunner – another rare breed as far as I can tell – you’d have to admit it’s time. Six seasons is long enough for anyone in Moffat’s position; for a show like Doctor Who, new blood is essential.

As successors go, Chris Chibnall is not a terrible choice. He’ll have three seasons’ experience as head writer and showrunner of Broadchurch by the time the handover takes place. He’s written an assortment of Doctor Who and Torchwood, and a little Life on Mars, though the episodes are a mixed bag. He’s been a fan since childhood – practically a prerequisite these days. And he created Ellie Miller, one of my favorite fictional characters of all time:


Less acceptable is the news that we’ll have to go an entire year with no new Doctor Who. Even Tennant’s year of specials wasn’t so barren. Worse, the delay increases the likelihood of Peter Capaldi’s departure after S10. When he was confirmed for the season, I thought we’d be lucky to get one more year out of him. Now, we’ll get that year, but we won’t get any new episodes.

Of course Capaldi might decide to stay on for S11. He’s having a great time; he isn’t trying to launch a career like Matt Smith or go back to the stage like David Tennant. But of course he’ll want to go out on top, like Tennant did. He won’t want to linger. Even Tom Baker, still the most beloved Doctor, began to grow stale after too long. Capaldi will be careful to avoid that.

I have feared all along that he would depart with Moffat. It’s easy enough to announce one’s exit when everyone else is doing it. It’s harder to pick up where you left off with a new regime in place. A complete changing of the guard, as we had in 2010, is not beyond the realm of possibility. And now we’ve added a year of nothing: a year of sitting around, not shooting, not creating. A year for distractions, for opportunity to knock, for something better to come along.

I’ll miss him terribly when he’s gone.

I do look forward to seeing what Chibnall does with the show. I look forward to a new Christmas special, a new companion, and a new season. I enjoy changes, in spite of the cost.

I just wish we didn’t have to wait so long.


S7 Continued   2 comments

  • ‘A Town Called Mercy’ by Toby Whithouse
  • ‘The Power of Three’ by Chris Chibnall

‘Mercy’ is better television than I remembered. It’s moving and scary, a bit ST:TNG with its complex questions of good and evil. All three of the mains – the two Doctors and the gunslinger – are compelling characters both good and bad. The setting is a strange bit of Old West fun, and the music is magic. Seriously, this is one of my favorite episodes for music: a bit spaghetti western, a bit Firefly, and at the same time, all Doctor Who.

‘The Power of Three’ on the other hand doesn’t hold up as well. It’s boring; the story takes place over almost a year, in which almost nothing happens. Amy and Rory finally address the question of what kind of life they want. Brian, however, is fabulous. The Doctor has a wonderful speech about all there is out there to see. And of course this episode introduces the fantabulous Kate Stewart, as portrayed by the equally wonderful Jemma Redgrave. I love this character and I wish she got more to do than just tell the Doctor how great he is. All the action takes place in the last minute or so, and it’s a bit of a damp squib. Not Chibnall’s best work.

Only one episode remains of Amy and Rory, and I find myself wishing they’d been treated better over their last few stories. Ill-used they may be, but they’re great characters and deserve better.

Jurassic World   1 comment

‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’ is a decidedly mixed episode. On the one hand it is extremely silly. Tricey plays fetch and gives rides. Rory’s dad carries odd things in his pockets. Mitchell and Webb voice the robot sidekicks. But on the other hand, we have mass slaughter, human trafficking, hostage-taking, and, ultimately, what may be the Doctor’s first up close and personal on-screen murder.

Definitely mixed.

There are plenty of things to like about the story. I like the idea of Silurians running away from death by asteroid, with an ark of Silurian-era flora and fauna to seed a new world. (I wonder if this is a different branch of the family from those who stayed sleeping underground.) I like the Indian Space Agency. I like Amy and Nefertiti asserting themselves. I love Rory’s dad: coming to terms with the impossible, sharing tender moments with his son, overcoming his personal reluctance to see the world. But there are a few uncomfortable moments, and some strangeness. Nefertiti’s behavior in the opening scene bothers me in the same way Amy’s does in ‘Flesh and Stone,’ and Martha’s in ‘Smith and Jones.’ Solomon’s treatment of her is likewise a little too unsettling for family television. In addition, the Doctor is confusing. He left Amy and Rory behind for their own good after ‘The God Complex,’ and hasn’t seemed to mind paying them occasional visits when the mood strikes him. Now he has apparently changed his position – at the same moment that they have changed theirs, in spite of Amy’s expressed unwillingness. Is she giving in to Rory after their difficulties in the prior episode? Is she ready to give up the Doctor for him? And has the Doctor now realized he doesn’t want to do without them, regardless of the risk to their lives?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It’s a strong episode, fantastical and sweet and adventurous. The characters are great, even if Nefertiti and Riddell are drawn a little thin. The ideas are good, and the acting is excellent. Another good outing by writer Chris Chibnall.

I only wish we’d gotten more Brian.