Is the Future Going to Be All Girl?!

As most people know, a year and a half ago Jodie Whittaker was announced as the new Doctor in Doctor Who. She started her first season last fall, which has been an exciting, glorious, and beautiful ride to watch, as a long time fan and someone who firmly believes this is a great trajectory for the show, I’m pleased with how it has turned out so far. (I’m upset that the next season will not air until 2020, the injustice)!

What some may not know about, is that there is another Sherlock Holmes adaptation that came out last year. If you haven’t caught on yet, this adaptation stars a female Sherlock Holmes. I know! Shocking?!

[Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor saying oh brilliant once she realizes she’s a woman]

Yes, it quite simply is absolutely brilliant!!

However, this is different than previous incarnations of Sherlock Holmes because not only is Sherlock a woman but it is also set in Tokyo, Japan. (Yes, they speak Japanese in the show, but there are subtitles, sit down). In my less than humble opinion, this is probably the best adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

First off, there is Sherlock (aka Sara Shelly Futaba) played by Yuko Takeuchi. She, of course, is a consulting detective for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police working to help solve crimes with the help of her “Watson:” Dr. Wato Tachibana (Wato-san) played by Shihori Kanjiya.

The accompanying characters in Sherlock and Wato’s life are Mrs. Hatano (Mrs. Hudson), Inspector Gentaro Reimon (Lestrade), Kento Futaba (Mycroft), and of course, Moriarty (who I will not reveal, mwahahaha; I mean come on, it’s the fun of watching the show).

I know what some people may be thinking: “Really, another Sherlock Holmes!?! Aren’t there enough already?” The simple answer is no. The slightly longer answer is, no and this is better not only due to the fact that Sherlock is a woman but the fact that it does justice to the books and is set in Tokyo, Japan with an all-Asian cast (I will be repeating this quite a bit; I apologize in advance…but not really sorry).

[insert gif of the master saying: is the future going to be all girl?!]

Second, Sherlock is still a genius but is more like someone who doesn’t recognize social cues. In certain episodes, Wato has to remind her or chase after he to remove her shoes before entering someone’s house (a cultural practice in most of Asia). Yet, her rudeness is a quirk, instead of encompassing her entire character. Yet, she keeps with the introverted self and sensory overload anxiety. While she is still the smartest person in the room, they also have the rest of the cast be present and have their own strengths/smarts. Sherlock respects the two police officers she works with, even if she will never show it. Wato is given the chance to not soften but more compliment Sherlock’s mannerisms, where Sherlock is brash, Wato is more tactful (as an example).

Along with probably the first series to have Kento (Mycroft) and Sherlock love each other as siblings. He suggests that Wato move in with Sherlock (after the hotel burns down) not out of a need to spy on his sister, but because he doesn’t want her to be alone. He actually acts like a big brother, which is refreshing to see in general in shows. There is also present throughout the first season the idea that Sherlock can have relationships with others and not only Watson. She is allowed to have a loving brother, a motherly landlady, and two police officers that she does respect as friends all in her life.

Most people always marvel at the fact that Sherlock has this character arc. He/She no longer only cares about himself, he cares for (and in some cases; definitely in this case) loves Watson. Not that it isn’t something important, but I appreciate the fact that they write Wato as her own person. They have her go job hunting, date, and go to counseling (which they do an amazing job showing the importance of recovery from mental illness). They give Wato her own arc in the first season as well that will challenge her in future seasons as well. I find that an annoyance in much of BBC’s Sherlock is that Watson always acts so in awe of Sherlock in every. single. scene.

Before I have an angry mob after me, I want to say: I do like the BBC Sherlock. Do I like it as much as I did when it first aired? That would be a resounding no. As much of Steven Moffat’s writing tends to be, he tries to be more flashy with little plot, many plot holes, and most of the time, he never takes the time to explain anything (I’m looking at the season 2 finale and Sherlock’s “death”). I think the BBC Sherlock became too much like a superhero instead of a regular person. Yes, Sherlock Holmes is a regular person, don’t all faint at once. S/He has quirks, but s/he is in no way a superhero or a highly functioning psychopath (I truly hate that line). As Justin Charity states “Sherlock, in particular, rendered the detective’s supposedly careful deduction as exhaustive, orgasmic belittlement; his insights so illegible that their illegibility becomes the show’s main joke” (“Rehabbing the World’s Greatest Detective”).

Sherlock and Wato are both presented as their own characters who complement each other with their own strengths and weakness. Most importantly we are given, an obliviously Asian cast, where both males and females show emotion. Many times when the male suspects where arrested they cried the same amount of tears as women; they break down when their loved one was gone, and that is not something shown a lot on American television.

My last thought on this series, that is a touch spoiler-ish. They allow Sherlock to be human. As I said, Sherlock is a regular human, just like the next person. In this show, she reads and observes and is cultured is all. As usual, there comes a case where Sherlock is framed and a character says: “She always reveled in tragedy.” Yet, when she kills a man to save all of Tokyo, millions of people, she is utterly destroyed (along with the fact that she then realizes she failed to protect Wato).

As someone who has grown up in the aftermath of most feminist movements (minus the fourth wave, which we are living through at the moment), I am ecstatic that this show exists. Not just as someone who is a feminist, but also, for the fact that this is an all Asian cast (yes, I know I already mentioned that, but it bears repeating). In the current climate, I sometimes am saddened by how people react; however, then I find this show that shines some hope that the future will be okay. As the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) says in response to the Master asking if the future is going to be all girl: “We can only hope!”

Team TARDIS, the New Doctor Who Fam

When I heard the announcement that Jodie Whittaker was going to take over as the next Doctor on Doctor Who, my first reaction was

with a ton of crying (from such happy tears), and my second reaction was

I have been waiting for a female Doctor before I even knew what Doctor Who was, so pretty much my entire life. I couldn’t be more eager about the prospect of a female taking over this iconic role, and I was thrilled that the person taking over was Jodie Whittaker (who is an absolutely amazing actress and completely gorgeous, but that second one is beside the point).

While I meant to do a review after the first episode of the season, and then continue throughout the whole season, I forgot. After the third episode aired, I decided that doing a review of the entire season would be better instead.

For those of you who don’t want to read a lot (because this will probably be 1000 words minimum), here is a quick and dirty review:

  • I LOVE Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor
  • The 13th Doctor is a complete dork
  • I LOVE YASMIN KHAN!!
  • The Doctor’s childlike wonder is adorable
  • Graham and Ryan are “my boys”
  • While some episodes were a touch slow, overall, I loved this season

For those who want a slightly longer review, here we go!

The Characters/Cast:

I have to say all of the actors, Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, and Bradley Walsh were amazing. I love that the Doctor has three friends (companions) this season, instead of the typical one. I find this refreshing as it truly breaks away from the idea that the Doctor shouldn’t travel alone. The audience is introduced to this new side of the Doctor, as well. A Doctor who is not only a woman but someone who immediately wants to be accepted and desires friends. She is the typical kindergartener who picks someone from her class and says to her parents “I like this person. They’re my new best friend!”

This is literally thirty seconds after she meets Yaz.

I think this season with these four people has a different feel than in previous incarnations because they are all together and trying to make sense of what’s going on and how they can be a part of this amazing world the Doctor invites them into.

I’m super ecstatic that this is the first time since MARTHA “BADASS” JONES that we have minorities as the Doctor’s companions, which is too long of a wait for me. I am super happy that Mandip Gill, I’m assuming her family is from Pakistan, and Tosin Cole, an African British man, are part of the main cast. I do love Bradley Walsh and his character, Graham, but I’m so glad to see more diversity on a show that has one of their main themes be diversity. They all bring something different and unique to the show that I truly love. Again, it has been a long time since I have had this much love for some of the Doctor’s companions straight off the bat.

The Episodes: 

As I said before, some of the episodes did fall flat to me at times, but I truly did enjoy this season. This is, of course, my own opinion, but I think many people are still coming off the roller coaster high that Steven Moffat takes us on that this season may have been a bit slow for some people. There is no over-arching theme in this series where there are nuggets left throughout the season for the audience to guess at, which was kind of a letdown, but I did enjoy the fact that each episode was it’s own contained story. (Unlike in season 9, where each episode was a two-parter; I would wait until both were out before watching any). However, they still had the series finale link back to the first episode with the villain Tzim-Sha, who they accidentally sent to a different planet and 3,000 years into the past. Throughout the season, in the background, he’s been working on taking revenge against the Doctor and her companions. Anyway, back to the beginning.

The first episode was brilliant and a wonderful introduction to all the characters and the Doctor herself.

The amazing aspect of this introduction is that she still is the Doctor. The fact that her, (their?), gender changed did not make an iota of difference. They still work on helping people, learning all they can, and making friends in the oddest of ways. A female Doctor is still the Doctor. I also love that they added a different facet to the Doctor that hasn’t been done before by having her engineer her own Sonic Screwdriver, instead of relying on the TARDIS to provide one. They continually have her wear a welder’s helmet and are not shying away from the fact that a woman can still be a mechanic. I never thought I could love a Doctor this quickly, usually, it takes me a few episodes to warm up to them. With Jodie Whittaker though, it was hook, line, and sinker. I loved her the moment she crashed onto the train, and my love for her has only grown.

A few of my favorite episodes: Rosa, Arachnids in the UK, Demons in the Punjab, and The Witchfinders. I am only going to say a little bit about each of these. Rosa was a complete bawl fest for me. That ending scene when they have to be a part of history and do nothing, with Audra Day’s “Rise Up” in the background was beautiful. I think the beauty in that episode lies in the fact that they kept Rosa’s own agency. The Doctor and her friend were not there to change or help anything, but to keep history the same. While Arachnids in the UK may be an interesting choice for me (for anyone who doesn’t know, spiders and I don’t like each other). However, my love for this episode lies in the fact that this is Yasmin and the Doctor are totally in love!!

Plus, at the end of Arachnids, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham all decide they want to continue traveling with the Doctor and it’s so beautiful. Of course, Doctor Who wouldn’t be the same if there wasn’t immense heartbreak, like with Demons in the Punjab. Yaz convinces the Doctor to go back to when her grandmother was younger to discover her secret past. Unfortunately, they land on the day before the Partition of Pakistan and India. Yaz’s grandmother actually had a first husband who was killed by his brother on the day of his wedding. While tragic and heartbreaking, there are some good jokes thrown in that lightens it.

This cutie!! I cannot sometimes with her. And, of course, how can I not love Witchfinders. Witch trials, King James, Yaz being amazin’ (said in a Yorkshire accent), and King James flirting with Ryan. I could go on for hours!

Overall: 

Was this season a complete success? Probably not. Do they still need to work out some kinks with the new characters and storytelling? Yes! Did I still enjoy it immensely? Absolutely! This season had everything I was looking for in Doctor Who. An amazing cast of companions, a Doctor who is childish and heartwarming, and episodes that were engaging to watch. I cannot wait until the New Year’s Eve special or the new season (seriously!? I have to wait until 2020?!?! Is that even a real year?) I think the difficulty of this season was proving that a woman could be the Doctor; hopefully, they can now move away from that and start having meatier storylines. At its core, the Doctor and the Show remain the same:

A Madman (Woman) in a Blue Box exploring the universe!!