Boycott: Dr. Who
~ Inaugural Post ~
Bar Patrons, Neo-Prodigy submits that POC (and LGBTQ folks as well) boycott Dr. Who.
So as of last weekend I decided to boycott Doctor Who.
I took all that I can takes and I can takes no more. Now I may watch the special anniversary ep if it proves worth my time but aside from that, I’m done.
But before I go any further, let me make something abundantly clear, I've got nothing against the new cast. I think each of them are pretty and brilliant and immensely talented actors. I've seen some of their other work, and I can't stop singing their praises. For actors not David Tennant and co., I believe Matt Smith and co. were the best choices. So no, I'm not hating on the new cast. In fact, I adore Alex Kingston who steals practically every scene as River Song and is the main reason I kept watching.
My biggest beef is the new direction of the series, which has virtually erased POCs and LGBTQs from a franchise that had traditionally been most inclusive.
As a double minority, there aren't many examples in the media that portray people like me (be it people of color and/or queer). At best, we're the sidekick, the background dressing. At best most shows might sprinkle a token here and there to show that they tolerate us.
There's a difference between tolerance and being welcomed.
What is tolerance anyway? Tim Wise said it best: "As I see it, tolerance means I don't burn your church down, or tie you to a fence and leave you to die, or drag you down a dirt road behind my pickup. It means I tolerate your existence and little else. I let you live and breathe for another day. How nice of me."
Former Who Exec Russell T. Davies actually made it a priority to make minorities feel welcomed. In doing so, he made me personally invested in the franchise because I was welcomed. Interracial couples were shown in a matter of fact manner and not as a controversial plotpoint for sweeps as is often the case here in the states. It showed a blueprint of how the world could/should be in that regard. LGBTQs could be the ass-kicking leads and an omnisexual male from 51st century could be featured as a leading man. A black woman proved herself to be the equal of any time lord. The themes of diversity and inclusiveness were reiterated time and time and time (no pun intended) again.
This was not only empowering for those of us who too often are marginalized and ignored in the media, but it was also educational to the mainstream (white) masses. White audiences need to POCs saving the world, being heroes and heroines and that we are human.
Did Davies get everything right? God no. Were there areas of opportunity in his narrative? Ya damn skippy. But I'll take his storytelling over 98 percent of the crap that's in the media right now. I'll sure as hell take his work over NuWho anyday.
I suspect this shift is the execs' way of making Dr. Who “more universal (read: straight and white)” to audiences and doing away with that icky PC agenda that mean ole Davies's kept pushing. And isn't it funny how when minorities are expressing our issues or our visibility, we're pushing a PC liberal scheme, but when straight white folks are erasing us from existence, they're never promoting a homophobic white supremacist agenda?
What made Doctor Who, Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures international hits was because they reached out to a marginalized, ignored and untapped audience who were all too eager to support programming that represented them with respect.
And speaking of SJA, with Elisabeth Sladen passing, that's what irks me all the more. Because that's one more progressive show we've lost. And when I look at NuWho, I was just left wondering, why bother?
The stories have also gotten immensely lazy and derivative. In fact for the past episodes, I noticed that I repeatedly glanced at the clock and wanting the episode to hurry up and be over with. That NEVER happened during the Davies/Tennant era. I was stoked when Steve Moffat took over as executive producer because this is the genius who gave us Blink. But even the ball with the two-parter featuring the weeping angels went straight to hell.
And the huge ratings tank for the season finale, that should be telling in itself. Or the fact that they’ve been splitting up the seasons, increasing the gaps and they just canceled the accompanying series Doctor Who Confidential.
An all straight white cast, subpar writing, ratings tanking?
To the Doctor Who brass, I just have one question. How’s that straight whitewashing working out for you?