If you’re like me, you’re always searching for interesting Doctor Who-related content on the internet. I don’t mean reviews of stories or the latest Doctor Who news. They’re as prolific as adipose. I mean thought-provoking articles having to do with concepts and themes that transcend individual episodes, that delve a little deeper into the meaning of the program or the effects that it produces. So I have gathered together my top ten picks for 2017–no news (which becomes old within a few days), no reviews (which are great, but center attention on only one story). Yes, that eliminates about 98% of what is available out there on the blogs. I hope you find all or some of them valuable, enjoyable, or engaging.
10. Zachary Schulman, Letting Go of the Doctor
Just coming in at the tail end of the year, this essay from Doctor Who TV looks at the 12th Doctor’s era and its legacy. What did we learn from Twelve? Letting go may never have been this hard.
The posts made in 2017 about the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the next Doctor are as numerous as the stars in the universe. Three made my list, because I think they either best capture the essence of the conversations or approach the subject from an interesting angle. Joy from Deep South Whovian, has a psychological take on the casting. Most sites defending the casting of a woman as the Doctor have emphasized the reasons why it will be good for women or why men need not be mad about it. Joy, mother of a son who watches the show, talks about the benefits for men and boys.
Writing over at The Conversation, Matt Hills offers an argument that Doctor Who is actually a little bit behind the curve on the new casting and is playing catch-up.
I’m not sure The Guardian qualifies as a blog, but come on, an essay by one of the Doctors? And it’s a fabulous piece too!
6. Daniel Whitaker, Me & Who- Mental Health Day
October 10 was Mental Health Day, and Daniel Whitaker opens up to us about his personal experience with depression and how Doctor Who helped him through his most difficult times. From The Gallifrey Archive.
5. Alyssa Franke, Reflecting on Grief
Alyssa Franke experienced the deaths of three family members in 2017, and Doctor Who provided her with some relief. As she writes at Whovian Feminism, “Every impossible scenario ever dreamed up in grief is possible in a show where time and space aren’t boundaries any more. We’re free to imagine the impossible and indulge in denial and bargaining for just a little while longer.”
4. Sarah Barrett, How Often Does Doctor Who Pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test?
Back in 2015, Barrett did a full research study of how well Doctor Who performed according to the Bechdel Test, and in 2017 she updated her results, which can be found at The Mary Sue. A lot of work went into this study, and although Barrett’s view of the value of the Bechdel Test has evolved somewhat, it still sheds light on how well female characters are portrayed by the program’s writers.
3. Samuel Maleski, The Moffat Era and three-dimensional screenwriting
If you want to delve deeper into the intellectual underpinnings of the show, Downtime is probably the best blog to visit. This essay by Maleski (a.k.a. TIBÈRE) is one of the best of the year. It argues that Steven Moffat has changed, and continues to change, the status of the Doctor Who writer. A great read.
2. Christel Dee, Why Bill Potts Proves Positive LGBT+ Representation Matters
You probably know her from Doctor Who: The Fan Show, but this essay, published on the Time Ladies blog, is an example of Dee expressing herself through the written word. She explains how the creation of the Bill Potts character is so very important to members of the LGBT+ community around the world.
This epic essay (in four parts) from the Downtime blog is a magnificent exploration of the way the deaths of regular characters in Doctor Who are and should be handled. Belmont treats the death-resurrection combination in the abstract in the first two parts. She examines the specific cases of Clara and Bill in part 3, and in part 4 she looks at death and resurrection in the context of the show’s ethos.
Anonymous, Thoughts on Thirteen
Connor Johnston, A Female Doctor: Seeing the Wood for the Trees
Kevin Burnard, The Power of the Not Dead
Let me know your thoughts on these essays, and if you think I missed any of the great ones, please comment and provide a link.