Making Doctor Who For My Daughter (or any PoC)
This video of my daughter got me thinking how I would make Doctor Who for her. You may remember reading about my reluctance to show her one of my favorite TV series of all time. Well, here is my vision of a Doctor Who that would be accessible to people of color, deal with some of the horrors of history, and at the same time take aim at a brighter future. As the show runner, my philosophy would embrace the idea that we can't have a harmonious future without facing our turbulent past.
I have a five-season plan for the 13th Doctor that involves the return of the Key to Time and the Guardians. The first season would be the gradual revelation of what is going on, and the first part of the Key falling into hands of a regenerated Rani, Monk or Drax, all of whom would have fought in the time war and are now free because of the Doctor's actions of returning Gallifrey to our galaxy. This would be the last image of the last episode of Season 10.
The 13th Doctor
I would go back to the basic idea of The Doctor being Time's Champion, similar to the 7th Doctor toward the end of his television run or the New Adventures book series. All of the new Doctors seem to call upon certain aspect of previous Doctors (10th, the 5th; 11th, the 2nd; etc.). This would make him a more active protagonist as compared to some of the recent Doctors, and less inclined to just randomly bump into trouble, as he plays a cosmic game of chess.
Casting for the Doctor would involve a shortlist of some of my favorite black actors. My first choice for the 13th would of course be Idris Elba, who would bring a level of seriousness and worldliness to the role. A close second would be Paterson Joseph, who would bring an effortlessness to dialogue with an understated sense of humor; he has also been on the show before, which would follow a popular Doctor Who model of recycling characters (look at Amy Pond or the 12th Doctor, both in the "Fires of Pompeii"). And lastly, but certainly a worthy actor, Adrian Lester would bring a ton of charm and makes that musical episode a possibility.
Costume: slightly crumpled white suit, black tie and overcoat with combat boots
While the Doctor is perfectly fine on his own, he works better with companions. The companions are nearly as essential as the man himself. I have always been a fan of the larger TARDIS crew, as it enhances the drama, tension and allows for multiple perspectives on everything they encounter.
Langston McShane: The son of Dorothy "Ace" McShane grew up hearing stories about the Doctor. He has spent his life knowing that he is destined to be a companion, and has been preparing himself and waiting. He is a young man in his mid 20s living in Washington DC, close to his mother Dorothy. Only one actor comes to mind: Tyler James Williams.
Costume: leather half waist duster, backpack (w/Nitro-Nine), jeans and converse
Romana: She is a Timelady that is smarter than the Doctor, has been around since the 1970s, and is severely underused. She would have recently regenerated. Episode 4 would be a Romana-only episode with her fleeing Gallifrey via a time-ring, discovering that the Doctor is a prisoner of a Rutan scout, and rescuing both the Doctor and Langston at the end of the episode. This new Romana would be one of two or three actresses: Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren or Sarah Lancashire. (We would plan for a Romana spin-off series at the end of Season 12.)
Costume: immaculate red and white pant suit with trench coat and runners
Wei Kane: She is a warrior from an alternate-future Earth that was overrun and on the brink of destruction. She would join the crew around Episode 8 and have historical knowledge that seems to line up perfectly with Langston's timeline. This would mean that the Doctor has failed, and it becomes a race to discover what is going on and to not make whatever the mistake was. One actress would be perfect for this: Crystal Liu Yi Fei.
Costume: black military fatigues with combat armor, weapons and boots
Captain Jack: Around Episode 10 of the first season, the Doctor would realize that something is going on and he will need Jack. So, he travels to him and asks him for help. Whenever Jack travels with the Doctor, it allows him to be lighter and funnier, as the Timelord carries the heavier burden.
Costume: current look
Season 10: Opener
"The Blood Equation": This would be a three-part episode focused on the new Doctor, him meeting Langston, and them dealing with a factor of vampires that escaped from E-Space (as shown in the episode State of Decay, the Timelords are an ancient enemy of the vampires). As a nod to the past, the episodes would feature a guest appearance from an old companion, Ace (the proto-Rose, an independent, combative and capable young woman). This would be a passing-of-the-torch moment to start the series with a current day backdrop to increase accessibility for new fans.
There is a lot more, but that would involve spoilers. The show would be a muddling of the past with the present, and after establishing the baseline, would easily lead into one-off episodes that would happen when the crew travels to say 1223 England or 1957 Alabama. This approach would allow for some incredible drama, teaching history (as the show was first created to do), and taking it to a larger audience. Television is one of the most influential media in modern day and can be used for more than just entertainment.
Steven, BBC TV, Mark . . . I am here and happy to share my ideas to turn this show I love into something for my daughter (she does look way cute saying the word TARDIS, doesn't she?). Help me to help you make this show better and more relevant for our lives.