Jonathan Wright of We Got This Covered kind of alludes to the idea that Chris Chibnall’s idea to just sprint to the end of the season is less than the fans are really wanting, but he doesn’t appear to care. A showrunner with the idea of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ can be a positive thing in many cases, but if one asked many of the fans there’s something broken with Doctor Who and it has yet to be attended to since the viewers have been dropping off in a big way during this season, with the latest episode being one of the most disastrous yet in terms of viewership. It’s hard to imagine that any showrunner would dismiss the reaction of fans this much since in a sense the fans are the ones keeping the lights on and the special effects running since they’re the ones that make it possible for shows like Doctor Who to actually maintain their place in pop culture. If not for those that are willing to invest themselves in such shows many a show simply wouldn’t exist. Some might advise viewers to calm down since this hasn’t happened in around three decades, but it’s still an issue that needs to be addressed and if Chibnall is going to keep pushing forward while maintaining the type of tunnel vision that doesn’t allow for anything a person doesn’t want to see or hear about then it’s possible that this show could be headed for a very rough patch.
It’s amusing to think that when Jodie Whittaker took over as the Doctor people were up in arms about a woman taking on the role and sounded as though they were about ready to quit the show altogether. But yet here we are as fans have given the new Doctor as much faith as they can, and they’re still not happy, but this time for a much better reason than the simple gender-swap that has been happening to so many movies and shows at this point. There are many things that don’t need to be messed with when it comes to a story, but narrative and lore are two of the most important that have threatened to sink many a show and movie throughout cinematic history. If anyone’s not following as to what narrative is, in the simplest terms it’s the story that has been told, the events that have linked together to create the story, and essentially the running tale that has been ongoing in a series such as this. The lore is even simpler, it’s the the knowledge, the traditions, in other words the basic building blocks of the story that’s being told, and messing with it is usually done at the peril of the story itself and can easily turn off a viewer if it’s not paid the proper respect.
One might think that I’m speaking as a purist that doesn’t want to see anything change and that everything should go back to the way it was. Not at all. In crafting a story things are going to change, new arcs are going to be created, the narrative can change so long as it keeps close enough to the story, or goes off and creates its own story, and the lore can be added to, altered in ways that might make some kind of sense given the current narrative, but messing with them simply because one can isn’t a wise move since it threatens the overall integrity of the story. Steven James of Writer’s Digest wrote an article that might be of some interest. With Doctor Who there’s been so much lore created and so many twists and turns that have been used to advance the plot that it’s sometimes difficult to really know what’s going on if one comes in during the middle of a season or even at the beginning without any knowledge of what’s come before. But having watched a couple of episodes at this point I tend to disagree with some folks with naming Jodie Whittaker as the cause of any of the current issues going on with the show. Most of this is not on her shoulders since the showrunner needs to be aware of what’s going on with the ratings, how each episode is being looked at by the fans, and why the viewership might be down. That’s not an actor’s responsibility, they’re there to act and do their job, not watch the numbers.
Whether or not the show is going to pull out of the current decline its in or if Chibnall is going to ride it all the way down ala Slim Pickens, whooping and hollering the whole way even as the show pays the price for it is hard to say, but it’s realistic to think that this won’t be the end of Doctor Who. The fan base is too big and is bound to come back for more, providing that they’re given a reason to do so.