The Most controversial Question

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by starsuperion, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Well we did have the Time Lady Romana in the Fourth Doctor's era, if memory serves she was smarter than The Doctor.
     
  2. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think the Doctor is defined by his sexuality, so it's hard for me to adopt a firm position either way on this argument. Despite the existence of a granddaughter, I've long viewed him as an asexual character; I never really imagined him having a wife and kids.

    That has been undermined by the dynamic between The Doctor and River, which clearly has a sexual undertone. To a lesser extent, one could also look at the kiss Nine gave Captain Jack. But then again, while Nine and Ten clearly loved Rose, I'm not sure it was in the way we view love between a man and a woman. Some of you may well disagree, of course.

    I think I'd probably now say that the Doctor is as omnisexual as he is asexual. He's not like Jack, who'd pretty much stick it in anything but IIRC he also showed some attraction to alien species during the RTD era. So I think that the Doctor could well be attracted to a man - if species isn't a barrier to him, why should gender? At any rate, it's a family programme and the Doctor's sex life is hardly a major part of the show or his character. It's not like it will turn into Game of Thrones, whichever way he swings.

    I don't think it matters a rattling frig what sexuality the actor playing the role is and I think Ben Daniels would've been fine, as would someone like Tim Curry, back in the day. As for gender, well, I don't think they ought to cast a woman just for the sake of being different. But it's now established that time lords can change gender during regeneration. So if an actress is given a chance and comes in and gives the best audition, well, give her the role. It will be controversial as hell and she will be subjected to infinitely more scrutiny and discussion than any man will be. But if she's good enough to prove naysayers wrong, then she'll have the last laugh.

    The same would apply to a transgender actor, though as I can't think of too many, I suspect that's an argument that will remain academic for now.
     
  3. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That got me to thinking: While the Doctor is a very "human" character who believes in doing the right thing and loving his alien neighbor, he can also be a despicable bastard as I've previously said. A female Doctor would have to be portrayed the same way - attention will have to be payed to the fact that we are still watching the same Gallifreyan who loves to be clever and impress his/her companions and hungers for the limelight. Not only that, but a character who has killed millions and can be a very cold and devious chess-master. Would feminist groups be upset at seeing a female Doctor portrayed that way and cry foul? Would they claim that the female Doctor is being painted as a narcissistic showoff at the least and a nasty unlikeable bitch at the worst, and that this harms the image of strong female characters?

    I offer up Maleficent as an example. I just saw the new film and it surprised me at how the titular character is portrayed. The film tries to paint her as a morally ambiguous character with a lot of darkness around her and who is capable of awful evil acts. But at no point does she directly kill anyone in an act of deliberate murder. It's as if we as a society can't quite handle the idea of a female protagonist who is a good person and a cold blooded killer when it's often celebrated about many male protagonists, or if it's a ridiculous action schlock movie that should under no circumstances be taken seriously (see Resident Evil). In a perfect would, a hero who is also a killer should never be celebrated. The character of the Doctor certainly isn't intended to be celebrated for the sentient beings he has killed. But since he is a male, most fans don't demonize him. The show even goes out of its way to scold the Doctor on one occasion - Agatha Christie calls the Doctor out for being excited to solve a murder mystery as if it were a game, when real human beings were being killed. Would fans demonize a woman for doing the same things? Or would they see such a character as empowering for women? Because that would absolutely be the wrong message.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2014
  4. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was thinking more of how the actress's performance would be scrutinised, but yes, you raise an interesting point.
     
  5. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    At the end of the day it will come down to the actress chosen, and the reasons why she was chosen. Gender aside a good enough actor can overcome most hurdles, at the risk of hijacking another thread this is, IMO, one of the reasons Colin Baker failed, he wasn’t a good enough actor to portray that chosen incarnation of the Doctor’s personality. So if they get some actress who’s ok but nothing more, she might fail. On the other hand if they get someone like Olivia Colman, and have the courage of their convictions, I think such a change will succeed. Yes her portrayal will be scrutinised, but a lot of people had a problem with Smith’s youth, and though not everyone liked him, I suspect he won an awful lot of people round just in the time it took him to clamber out of a Tardis and demand fish fingers and custard.

    It won’t be easy, and whether they cast Colman, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Toni Collette or Judi Dench people would claim they were only being cast because they were a woman, and even if they were successful the controversies wouldn’t end, because what happens when it’s time for them to regenerate? Do you replace them with another woman (cue complaints) or with a man (cue complaints).

    A female Doctor isn’t a route I want them to go down, but I’ve always been very clear on this, so long as the person who plays the Doctor is the best (wo)man for the job then that’s good enough for me, whether it was Capaldi or Paterson Joseph, Olivia Colman, or Peter Dinklage (now there’s an idea!)
     
  6. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Why wouldn't they chose the best person for the job? Do you think they would just go "meh, you're good enough?"
     
  7. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can only speak for myself, but really what I was driving at was that they merely keep an open mind in casting the role.

    For example, I recently read that when casting the Eleventh Doctor, Moffatt really wanted an older actor for the role. However, he was bowled over by Matt Smith's audition and, as we know, gave him the part. Had he told casting agents 'I don't want to see anyone under the age of 50 for the role, period', that wouldn't have happened.

    So what I'm saying is, I don't want the next person casting the Doctor to go 'I only want to see men for the role' or 'I only want to see women for the role.' I'd like them to say 'Send me anyone who you think will be a good fit for the part, regardless of gender' - albeit with some parameters, obviously - I don't think the Doctor should be played by a classic handsome leading man or classic glamorous leading lady type.

    If they were to say 'I only want to see women for the auditions', then they might end up casting the best female for the part, but one who might not be as good as a male who never got to audition. The reverse would apply, obviously.
     
  8. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    Actually I think in some cases they would (I'm not just talking Who here I'm talking across the board in tv and film). It might be down to laziness, it might be down to sheer logistics (you can't audition 25,000 people for a role after all) it might be down to salary requirements, scheduling conflicts, personality conflicts, nepotism... a whole heap of reasons. Plus of course the best person might turn you down!
     
  9. Starkers

    Starkers Admiral Admiral

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    That's the important bit, after all Avery Brooks didn't get the role of Sisko because he was the best black man auditioned, he got the role because he was the best man auditioned. You'd just have to be really cagey about the job spec. "We're looking for a man or a woman to play an older mentor figure, a wizard, someone with great wisom and gravitas but who is also quirky and can be childish sometimes. Age and ethnicity imaterial."

    Of course it might be pretty obvious who they're looking for...
     
  10. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And the producers of Voyager wanted an elderly man to play Tuvok but the much younger Tim Russ gave the best audition.
     
  11. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Really? I just find it hard to believe that a show runner who is eager to make the best show she or he can wouldn't try to find the best person possible. (To them anyway.)

    Sure, sometimes first choices can't happen, but there are a TON of talented actors in the world.

    I just cannot believe someone casting a lead in a show would go, "meh, why not?" The stakes are to high.

    Do you have an example? Not one where you believe they went "meh," but one where we know the director or show runner did.

    Which has been happening, to be sure. Women haven't been able to audition at all for the role. They have been saying, "we will see only men."

    I agree, I think they should keep an open mind. But, honestly, I don't see it as a problem if they said, "you know, next Doctor is going to be played by a woman."

    That's not how casting calls work. They would just say it. It would be, THE DOCTOR, older mentor figure, a wizard, someone with great wisom and gravitas but who is also quirky and can be childish sometimes. All gender, age and ethnicities.

    The all ethnicities is what they say in a lot of casting calls, unless they are specifically looking for a specific ethnicity or age, then they'll say, black, white, latino, etc.

    Of course, for a role like Doctor Who, they aren't going to see 10,000 people, literally looking for the best person. They are going to put out feelers and they are going to crete a short list and see those people. For a role that prominent.

    I would love for them to have an open mind. And if they decide they are going with a woman, or an actor of color, before they choose the actor, I don't think they need to justify it.

    They don't have to justify why this being who can change their looks always chooses to be a white guy. Why should they if it's a woman? Or an actor of color?

    I kinda hope they choose a woman of color, the internets would explode.
     
  12. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    For a show like DW it is possible that they put out feelers to certain actors for not just the Doctor but for the Companions and main guest stars. They might even have actors or there agents putting out feelers to the show.
     
  13. Doctorwhovian

    Doctorwhovian Fleet Captain

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    Regarding the Romana thing, it seems clear in her second incarnation-at least in her debut season-that she's intended to be sort of a female Doctor (well at least the fourth one). In "Destiny" she briefly wears Tom's getup, and the pink outfit with white scarf she wears for the rest of that serial is pretty much the same idea.

    I'm pretty sure she has her own sonic screwdriver as well.

    I suppose they could bring her back with the time lords restored. The novels have her escape E-space but I'm not sure where the TV series should have the Doctor return there.
     
  14. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    You seem to spend a lot of time worrying about what feminists think.

    Why would the fans act any different because the character is a woman? You're whole argument is based around what you think other people will think.

    Even there your logic confounds me, you claim:
    (1) Society can't handle a female protagonist who is a good person and a cold blooded killer.
    (2) Male protagonists are often celebrated as a good person and a cold blooded killer.
    (3) In a perfect world, a hero who is a killer would not be celebrated
    (4) The Doctor isn't intended to be celebrated as a killer
    (5) Most fans don't demonize him because he is male

    So going by these statements wouldn't a female Doctor be more likely to be demonized for being a cold blooded killer(1) and if she were demonized then that would be a good thing(3)(4), no?

    If a female Doctor wasn't demonized than it would be no worse since males are often celebrated for being a cold blooded killer(2) and fans don't demonize the Doctor because he is male(5). In fact, if she wasn't demonized statements (1) and (5) are even more shaky.
     
  15. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, in Horn of the Nimon, The Doctor hands her his Sonic Screwdriver, and she shows him she made her own. Then he tries to pocket Romana's and give her his, LOL.
     
  16. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I was only trying to raise points to stimulate discussion. I wasn't in the thread to play "who's the best at constructing and deconstructing logical arguments" game that you're playing. To me, that goes nowhere and it becomes a contest to see who is the most educated and skilled at debating. You seem to be arguing to "win" by deconstructing my meandering thoughts as if they were a horde of barbarians at the gate.

    I make no pretense that my thoughts are a solid argument that should be accepted on its own merits. Hence why I phrase most of them in the form of questions. I'm sorry, you'll have to find your daily dopamine hit from picking apart someone else's statements.
     
  17. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Well OK I guess you stimulated discussion. Congratulations?
     
  18. BlastHardcheese

    BlastHardcheese Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks, I guess I did. I know my own thoughts or observations aren't exactly logically consistent. How do you think leading women in fiction are expected to be by critics and the general public?
     
  19. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Are you asking because you are trying to stimulate conversation again?
     
  20. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's interesting, the term is death knell which refers to the ringing of a church bell to announce a death. But "nail" works well too in a final nail in the coffin kind of way.