After having played things very close to the vest since Jodie Whittaker's freshman Doctor Who season began filming, the BBC has finally released a new trailer for season 11 that reveals more about what we can expect from the first woman to play the Doctor.
Is that Gallifrey we see in the trailer? It's hard to tell; the Beeb and new showrunner Chris Chibnall are still holding onto a lot of secrets. Here's what we do know about the upcoming season:
* S11E01, The Woman Who Fell to Earth, is set in Sheffield. Sharon D. Clarke, Johnny Dixon and Samuel Oatley are guest stars.
* S11E02 is titled The Ghost Monument and features Shaun Dooley, Susan Lynch and Art Malik as guest stars.
* One episode will feature Alan Cumming as King James I.
* Team TARDIS won't run into the Daleks, the Cybermen, or any old adversaries.
* It is rumored that one plotline will revolve around the U.S. Civil Rights movement and feature Rosa Parks.
* Chris Chibnall told The Guardian that viewers won't need an "encyclopaedic knowledge of Doctor Who" to enjoy the episodes, and he's hoping this aspect will attract new fans.
* However, Chibnall also assured current fans that the new season will have "everything [they] expect" and "honours everything that has gone before.”
Some fans on Twitter complained about the modern music in the new trailer, saying that they didn't feel it fit the series. I don't agree with them. I think it's consistent with Chibnall wanting the series to appeal to a new generation of fans. It's also a way of getting it in tune with the times. Viewer preferences have changed dramatically since 1963, and even 2003. One of the professors in my MBA program said that in nearly every case, the gravestones of failed businesses could be inscribed with this epitaph: "But we always did it this way." Chibnall realizes that Doctor Who cannot keep doing things the same way it always did and remain relevant; change is what has kept this series going for so long.
On that note, a small but vocal group of naysayers are still hopping mad at the notion that the Doctor is going to be played by a woman. Stylist Magazine posted this humorous video of Jodie Whittaker reacting to a sampling of social media reactions to her casting last year:
As I posted on Twitter yesterday, I was originally skeptical about casting a woman. I didn't think it was a good idea. Two things changed my mind. The first was the reaction of little girls who were filled with excitement over the idea that a woman was going to play the Doctor. The second was, ironically, the people who are still mad about this. All the venom directed at Whittaker made me realize that, indeed, it was time for a woman to play this role.
Representation matters. Next month at the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, a Q&A panel will discuss the famous "Scully Effect." Many little girls and young women who grew up watching the fictional Dana Scully on The X-Files were inspired to pursue STEM careers. Perhaps we'll see a "Jodie Effect" 25 years from now.