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Doctor Who, on BBC One (UK) / BBC America (USA)
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Caution: spoilers!

The original Doctor Who TV series ran from 1963 to 1989. The new series began in 2005, in the U.K., but I didn't see it until 2006, when it aired in the U.S., on Sci-Fi Channel. (That network would air the first four seasons, before American rights were picked up by BBC America, which had already been airing reruns of seasons 1-4, and then became the primary American distributor of the series from season five onward.) So... Quick recap of the old series: there's this human-looking alien called "the Doctor," who is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. He has a time machine/spaceship called the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension In Space). The tardis is disguised as a 1950s British police box (which is like a phone booth), but it's bigger on the inside. He uses it to travel throughout time and space, and has lots of strange and exciting adventures, sometimes even on Earth. Sometimes he travels alone, and sometimes with one or more Companions. The Doctor is centuries old, and occasionally regenerates a new body, so he can be played by different actors. But it's not just his appearance that changes, he also gets a new personality when he regenerates... but the one constant is that he's always a hero (and kind of a rebel). But Time Lords can only regenerate twelve times (under normal circumstances), for a total of thirteen lives. And this new series begins with the ninth Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston). (Well, we'll call him the ninth Doctor, anyway. He might technically be the tenth, but that's a story for another time. Same rule applies to all subsequent regenerations in the current revival of the franchise.)

Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker)
Series Eleven (2018)
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Jodie Whittaker was announced as the thirteenth Doctor in July 2017 (at which point I still hadn't seen any of the show since the middle of series 6, back in 2011). This would be the first time the Doctor was played by a woman (at least canonically). Predictably, a lot of misogynistic fans were angry about this, while many other fans (I hope it would be accurate to say "most fans") were happy about it. Also this season, Chris Chibnall replaces Steven Moffat as showrunner.

In the first episode, the Doctor meets the people who would soon become her Companions. They include a young man from Sheffield named Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), who has dyspraxia, though that fact hardly ever comes up or makes any sort of difference to the stories; and an old friend of his named Yasmin "Yaz" Khan (Mandip Gill), who has recently become a police officer; and Ryan's step-grandfather, Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh). Graham is married to Ryan's grandmother (or "Nan"), Grace, who dies in the first episode, because of an alien enemy the group encounters, a Stenza named Tzim-Sha. This, of course, leaves both Ryan and Graham devastated. Meanwhile, the Doctor has lost her TARDIS, and teleports herself to another planet to look for it (or actually to a spaceship, which soon lands on another planet). But she accidentally teleports Ryan, Yaz, and Graham with her. And of course, once the Doctor finds the TARDIS, the three of them begin traveling and having adventures with her.

Let's see, what else can I say about the season? There's an episode where they meet Rosa Parks, that was pretty good. And one with giant spiders, boo! And one where Yaz meets her grandmother as a young woman, before she married Yaz's grandfather (whom Yaz never knew). That episode has some major political stuff going on, in the Punjab. There's an episode about a futuristic online shopping service (very reminiscent of Amazon). There's one about witchfinders (which reminded me of Good Omens), in which King James I is played by Alan Cumming, so that was fun. There was an episode that was kind of like a folk horror movie, which maybe vaguely put me in mind of something else (though I won't say what). And um, in the season finale, the group once again encounters Tzim-Sha, whom Graham wants to kill as revenge for Grace's death, but of course the Doctor doesn't want him to. I won't spoil how that turns out.

Other than that... I'm not sure what to say. I liked the new Doctor and Companions well enough, but on the whole none of them were ever quite developed enough as characters for me to love them as much as I did previous Doctors and Companions. (Nor did any of the stories stand out, for me, as particularly amazing, as some past episodes have.) Probably the best Companion in this season is Graham, who I'd say has a rather dry, sardonic yet subtle wit, and seems to take the fantastic adventures with the Doctor more in stride than... well, than most Companions ever have. Also, there's a theme running throughout the season of his wanting Ryan to call him "Granddad" instead of "Graham," which Ryan isn't ready to do, yet. So... that's a kind of touching personal arc. As for the Doctor herself, she mostly seems to be trying to figure out exactly what her new personality is going to be, beyond clever and adventurous (as always). She's definitely always eager to... I dunno, do whatever needs doing, whether or not she really has much of any idea what she's doing or whether it will work (or if she'll even survive it). Yes, "eager" is probably the best word I can think of to describe her, for now. (Though I might say she almost seems to have a touch of ADHD, but in a fun way. And yes, it really is saying something, that it would occur to me to say that in comparison to some of the other modern Doctors.) Anyway, I liked her, and I look forward to seeing more of her and her Companions, and hopefully getting to know them all better. And of course I also hope there'll be some truly brilliant, standout stories.

The season is followed by a New Year's special (rather than the usual Christmas special) called Resolution.

Series Twelve (2020)
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The season begins with a two-part story involving aliens from another dimension as well as a new version of the Master (Sacha Dhawan). And the Master drops some dire hints about Gallifrey and the Doctor's past being based on lies. There are also a couple of episodes with environmental lessons. And one where the Doctor meets a version of herself she doesn't remember, known as the Fugitive Doctor (Jo Martin), which ties in to a mystery that isn't resolved until the season finale. Of course plenty of other stuff happens, but the last three episodes involve the Cybermen, as well as revealing the truth that the Master hinted at, at the start of the season. I don't want to spoil what that secret is, but I think I heard that there was some fan backlash about it. Personally I have mixed feelings; I think it worked well enough in the finale itself, but I'm not sure how I feel about the massive alteration to the show's canon as a whole. But I'm not really going to worry about it. Oh, I also wanted to mention that there was an episode where the Doctor's current companions briefly met Captain Jack Harkness. Alas, he didn't meet the new Doctor, and if the two of them don't meet sometime before she regenerates again, I shall be very cross.

Well, luckily Harkness meets the new Doctor in a New Year's special called Revolution of the Daleks.

Series Thirteen: Flux (2021)
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This season is a six-episode serial adventure, like they used to make in the old days. I don't know how much I want to reveal about the story, but I will say that there's a phenomenon called "the Flux" which is destroying the universe. So of course the Doctor wants to figure out what it is, and stop it. There are various characters introduced in this story whom I feel I need to mention. One of them is a man named Dan Lewis (John Bishop), who sort of becomes the Doctor's newest companion, though he doesn't actually spend much time with her in this season. He spends more time with Yaz, who becomes separated from the Doctor. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Um... we also meet a Lupari named Karvanista, who at first is an enemy of the Doctor and Yaz, but ends up rescuing Dan from Earth when the Flux shows up there, for a reason I won't get into. But Karvanista and Dan don't like each other. A bunch of other Lupari ships soon arrive at Earth, and protect the planet from the Flux. And we meet a man named Inston-Vee Vinder, who witnesses the Flux destroying a galaxy from a remote space outpost. He wants to find his wife, Bel, who is also trying to find him. She's pregnant, unbeknownst to Vinder, and while I like both of those characters, I kind of don't like the Tamagotchi-like technology called Tigmi that Bel has to sort of communicate with her unborn child. I may have misunderstood the nature of the device, but... well, I don't want to get into why I didn't like it.

Um... there are also a pair of villains called Ravagers, named Swarm and Azure, who had been imprisoned separately, long ago, by a mysterious organization called Division, of which the Fugitive Doctor and Karvanista had been operatives. The Ravagers escape, and cause a lot of trouble. The current Doctor wants to learn more about Division, and is eventually transported to its headquarters outside the universe, where she meets a Time Lord named Tecteun, who is responsible for the Flux. This all ties into the Doctor's lost memories that were introduced in series 12, the nature of which I still don't want to spoil. But those memories are contained within a fob watch, which the Doctor gets possession of by the end of this series, but hides from herself within the TARDIS, and it's unclear if or when she'll ever open the watch to restore her memories. But again I get ahead of myself.

There's a man named Professor Jericho, with whom Yaz and Dan travel for a few years while they're separated from the Doctor. And a real historical figure named Joseph Williamson, who had built a series of tunnels under Liverpool, which somehow connected to different times and places throughout the universe. And the Daleks, Cybermen, and Weeping Angels all make appearances in the story, but the main alien race making trouble are the Sontarans, who take advantage of the Flux. There's also an alien called the Grand Serpent, a powerful leader of his world (wherever and whenever that was) for whom Vinder worked for a little while before discovering he was a bad guy. After filing a report against the Grand Serpent, Vinder was reassigned to the observation post we first saw him on. At some point the Grand Serpent lost his position, though it's not revealed how (I'm not sure if it's because of Vinder's report or not). And he ended up on Earth in the past, infiltrating UNIT. In the present, he comes into conflict with the current head of UNIT, Kate Stewart (whom I don't remember if I've ever mentioned before). And... yeah, there's just a ton of stuff going on throughout the season, and I think a lot of it wasn't explained very well (if at all), and I'm not sure how much sense any of it made (but I did mostly enjoy watching it, nevertheless). Nor am I sure how much of the universe was actually destroyed by the Flux before the Doctor finally managed to stop it. But a new potential enemy was introduced, whom Swarm and Azure worked for, which was apparently the manifestation of Time itself. Anyway, I've left out a few characters and some plot points, but I think I've said just about enough. Of course, the Doctor is eventually reunited with Yaz and Dan, and the three of them will have more adventures together.

Series 13 was followed by three specials, the first being 2022's New Year's special, "Eve of the Daleks".

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