If you haven't heard already, the thirteenth Doctor of the long-running BBC show Doctor Who is going to be a woman, played by Jodie Whittaker.
Unlike some of the internet, I don't have a problem with that specifically. It's 2017, there had been past talk of having a female Doctor, and hey, the Master regenerated into Missy a few seasons ago. The fact that the Doctor is going to regenerate into a woman shouldn't be too surprising.
My problem lies in the fact that the show has been pushing and breaking its own conventions as of late.
Let me give you some background first. I've been a fan of the show since about 2012, when I got Netflix specifically to watch Doctor Who. I binge watched the entire thing, and I've kept up with the show ever since, from the ninth Doctor to the twelfth.
I've even gone back and watched some of the old serial episodes, just so that I could further immerse myself into the Doctor Who universe of sci-fi and aliens. It's my favorite show, hands down, and I know it pretty well.
That being said, my favorite show is not without its problems. Since the onset of the show back in 1963 with William Hartnell, there have been certain conventions that the show has followed, such as the rules of regeneration. For years, it was widely believed that the Doctor would remain a man due to 13 prior regenerations that showed the character remaining male.
Additionally, It was established long ago that the Doctor would have 12 regenerations, with the twelfth being the final one before the character's death. The tenth doctor technically regenerated into himself twice, meaning that the eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith, should have been the last one.
If show runner Steven Moffat hadn't come up with a way to get the Doctor a new regeneration cycle in the episode "The Time of the Doctor", the show would have ended then.
In some ways, I wish it did end there.
Of course, I was super happy to see that the Doctor wouldn't die on the planet Trenzalore, and that there would be new episodes for years to come. However, I was simultaneously conflicted, because giving the Doctor a new set of regenerations was honestly a total deus ex machina that realistically shouldn't have happened.
12 regenerations was all the Doctor was supposed to have, but there it came, a brand new regeneration cycle.
Understandably, the BBC really can't let this show end. Not yet, anyway. It's 54 years old, has a huge following and undoubtedly brings in a lot of money for the station. After regenerating into the new thirteenth Doctor, the character will still have ten regenerations left, which means that the show will be around for a lot longer.
In addition to the Regeneration Limit issue, pushing the conventions of certain creatures causes issues as well. Steven Moffat first introduced the terrifying weeping angels in season three, where the basic rules of the aliens disguised as statues were established.
Since then, they appeared in three more episodes, becoming increasingly complex with each reiteration. Unfortunately, with this complexity came some plot holes, which are the subject of many talks on many internet forums.
To finally move onto the most recent "issue," the idea of a timelord's gender changing during regeneration was technically brought up during the regeneration from the tenth to eleventh Doctor, where he touched his longer hair and gasped, "I'm a girl," which shows that he knew it was possible.
However, it didn't actually happen until the Master, the Doctor's enemy who was also always depicted as a man, regenerated into Missy, a move that shocked many viewers. While it was technically pre-established, I'd still say that both Missy and the new female Doctor are pushing the long-held conventions of the show.
Despite the conflicted feelings I've expressed here, I'm still excited to see how Jodie Whittaker will play the iconic alien with two hearts. I'll definitely watch the new season when it comes out, and every season after that.
My excitement and love of this show outweighs my minor annoyance with the breaking of conventions. If you too are feeling conflicted about this new change, just remember what the Doctor once said, "Regeneration. It's a lottery." We're finally seeing just how this "lottery" can play out.