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Can’t wait for Ncuti Gatwa as Doctor Who

Ncuti Gatwa

Ncuti Gatwa

Doctor Who Series 14 is here. We finally have a trailer. A new season of Doctor Who is not necessarily a big deal. However, this trailer matters because series 14 will usher the franchise into a new era.

Russel T. Davies must start on the strongest possible note because Doctor Who has been on shaky ground for years. He needs to win back the older fans who abandoned the franchise during the Jodie Whitaker era while simultaneously converting new viewers.

Whether he succeeds or fails depends on the quality of the show. Series 14 has several factors working for and against it. Let’s look at some of the weaknesses. The Jodie Whitaker era was terrible, but it ended well. The Flux season was fantastic. But that six-episode run came too late.

By the time it aired, many viewers had already abandoned the franchise because of Chris Chibnall’s preachy storytelling. I have said this before; social messages in fiction are fine as long as they don’t overshadow the plot. Chibnall’s episodes were too heavy-handed. He alienated hardcore fans. So naturally, Ncuti Gatwa’s era feels tainted before it even starts.

The fanbase does not trust Disney or the BBC to recapture the magic of the Tennant and Smith eras. The 60th Anniversary specials added fuel to the fire by absolutely sucking. Remember how excited we were when Tennant’s face appeared at the end of Whitaker’s regeneration?

We had spent the previous decade speculating about a potential Tennant/Donna reunion, and Davies was finally making our dreams a reality. After blowing our minds with an incredible 50th Anniversary special, some of you nearly passed out from excitement when the BBC announced not one, not two, but three delicious episodes for the 60th Anniversary.

But then we actually got the episodes, and wow! I felt like Davies was making a deliberate effort to ruin everything I love about Doctor Who. That brings us to the most significant crack in the Doctor Who wall. Russel T. Davies’ return was initially hailed as a triumph. The man who revived the franchise in 2005 and gave us some of the best Doctor Who stories ever was coming back to fix Chibnall and Moffat’s mistakes.

We wanted to believe that his involvement with series 14 would lift what felt like a sinking ship. But he has given us four abysmal episodes of Doctor Who thus far, including that awful Christmas special, and we are starting to wonder whether our trust was misplaced.

Am I saying Doctor Who Series 14 is a lost cause? No. The trailer did nothing for me, but only because the reasons above tempered my expectations. That said, don’t write off Series 14 until you watch the first few episodes. As I mentioned above, the show has factors working for and against it. We have seen the cons. What about the pros? Well, I can only think of one: Ncuti Gatwa.

Usually, new Doctors struggle because we spent four seasons with the previous one and don’t want to say goodbye. However, Whitaker’s Doctor was so unpopular that viewers will happily embrace Gatwa, assuming he is worth embracing.

Also, we have a new Doctor. A new Doctor always wipes the slate clean. Whatever went wrong in previous years, this feels like a fresh start, and that is encouraging.

Additionally, for all its failures, the Chibnall era did one thing right. It recreated the air of mystery that made the Doctor so alluring when we first met him in 2005. Once again, the Doctor is a madman in a box traveling through space and time.

We don’t know who he is, where he came from, or what awaits him in the future, which excites me. Or, at the very least, it gives me a reason to tune in when Series 14 airs on May 11.


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