Why the twelfth doctor must be a woman.

If you’re a Doctor Who fan such as myself, you may be aware that Matt Smith is leaving the show after next season, leaving the Doctor to move onto the twelfth (and, second to last until they come up with a plot device to make it otherwise) incarnation.  While in some ways I see this as unfortunate, as Matt Smith is great, moreso I see it as promising.

I feel Matt Smith got the short end of the stick – while he does an incredible personification of the Doctor, he followed a really tall order (David Tennant was certainly the most spectacular Doctor of the new series) – for me, in filling those shoes, it’s taken time to appreciate Matt, which, at this point, I do greatly – but the time it took strained my appreciation for the show. On top of that, upon the departure of Russell T Davies and with Steven Moffat now at the helm, I feel the show has fallen quite flat.  Where the previous companions’ storylines fluidly worked amongst each other in an even broader arc, virtually everything from the Davies era was abandoned (sans River Song, whom barely appeared), and replaced by something that just… lacks.

With the timing of Matt’s introduction, and the introduction of Amy Pond and Rory Williams, the storyline created for the show felt broadly disconnected from the previous four seasons.  This isn’t inherently bad, were it done well… but by my judgement… Moffat simply doesn’t produce as good of a product as Davies did.  The last two seasons of Dr. Who have felt far less colorful, far less energetic, and far less inspiring.  It’s actually the fact that Matt Smith is so epic at playing the Doctor that, to me, makes the show still worth watching.  The only thing.  He’s been its saving grace post-Davies and Tennant.  But I truly feel the quality of the show cannot continue to survive on that alone.

I have no expectations as far as the upcoming season goes – I don’t want to have high expectations and get disappointed, and seeing what Moffat has given us thus far… I see no reason to have high expectations.  I am, however, intrigued by the new companion who should come along mid-season, and hope that opens new, interesting, creative doors.  She’ll only get a half of a season with Smith, meaning “her doctor” will likely predominately be whomever Smith’s version regenerates into – her first appearance could give an interesting indication as to the flavour of the show in the following season or two.

However, I believe now, more than ever, would be the perfect time to finally have the Doctor regenerate as a female.  Not only would it be better than ever to finally do it, I see it as one huge opportunity that likely won’t come for a number of years afterward, that would breathe the fresh air into the show that it so desperately needs, seeing as it seems to be suffocating.  Can this show survive with another male Doctor?  Sure… but I’d wager it’s a much safer bet to have a quirky, personable female as the new lead, to bring a new energy to the show, and to really give it the revitalisation it so desperately needs.

The concept of a female Doctor had been brought up outside of the show itself since the 70s, and was advocated by some to save ratings as they began to dip in the “classic” Who series in the 80s – and the BBC wasn’t willing to take the “risk” at the time.  It was finally brought up in-story with Matt Smith immediately questioning whether he was female upon regeneration, and completely solidified as possible within canon when he mentioned a former friend/Timelord known as “The Corsair” in the episode The Doctor’s Wife – The Corsair having been a Timelord who regenerated in both male, and female forms.  Given River Song’s incarnations, it’s safe to say that a Timelord can regenerate across both race and sex… really, the only restriction being they remain looking Timelord (and no, Timelords don’t look human, humans look Timelord.  They came first!)

We’ve already caught a glimpse of what this could look like with the “Doctor Donna” situation, and I have to say, having a similar female character play the role like this would be spectacular:

Imagine – the new companion, beginning to form a deeper bond of friendship with this male character she only recently met, turns into a female.  Though still just friends, it would entirely shift the dynamic – and could easily make for some incredible character development and plot devices.  To go even further, have Captain Jack make a special appearance – his bisexuality mixed with this change in sex making for quite an interesting episode or two.

This concept is just begging to be used, and would certainly provide a great deal of creative energy to the series – and from what I’ve seen thus far, far more often than not, Whovians seem to be quite receptive to the idea rather than opposed to it.  And beyond all of this – I think it would be excellent for young female Doctor Who fans to have a character they feel they can more deeply connect with, and there is no greater fiction hero than the Doctor – who values solutions over violence whenever possible, and has an embedded moral fibre for justice rather than revenge.  The show desperately needs it, young female fans and women in general need it, and looking at Doctor Donna – I can only imagine it would be nothing short of epic.