Another post on the Chibnall Masterplan where I argue that it’s a catastrophe, then go on to say that might be a good thing! Some of my argument is semantics; in my defence it’s also a chance to look back on the entire history of Doctor Who.
Let’s do it!
Is Doctor Who broken?
I think it fair to say reaction to the sweeping changes in Doctor Who have caused reaction. Some are amused, others critical, others intrigued. If you look you can find any reaction you want then echo it repeatedly to nobody in particular and get yourself increasingly exercised by whatever your opinion is.
I think Doctor Who was long overdue a change and the Chibnall Masterplan is a bold attempt at cleaning up the show’s complicated and messy history. Firsts though what do we mean by catastrophe?
What is a catastrophe?
I think most people are going with the emotional view of a catastrophe being a major and negative event. I concur with the major, but negative (except emotionally for many fans) is not something I am convinced by.
I’m old enough to have watched Doctor Who since the Troughton era (I’m told I watched it earlier but have no convincing memories). I studied physics in the 1980s and was interested in various (at the time) popular scientific theories. This included Catastrophe Theory. If you’re more mathematical, here’s some helpful slides: Thom’s Catastrophe Theory and
Zeeman’s model of the Stock Market. This along with fractals and chaos theory were topics of frequent attention at the time. Those were the days!
From all that I eventually took away the following:
- A catastrophe happens when a system changes state in such a way it can’t readily reverse. The common example is pricing – once a premium product tries volume pricing, it will never go back to premium (I’m not an economist and this is from decades ago so apologies for mistakes)
- The theory is all very well and good but in the real world the cusp is all that really happens and we already studied that (eg the last straw breaking the camel’s back, the tipping point…)
- They aren’t necessary good or bad (the camel with the broken back may have strong views on this).
In terms of Doctor Who a catastrophe is something that makes a permanent change to the show. We’ve had many (expect a blog post!) such as:
- Regeneration leading to gender change
- Regeneration limit of 12
- Is the Doctor The Other (Cartmel Masterplan – what is it about people whose names start with C?)
- The Doctor isn’t really a Time Lord / Gallifreyan
We may not like the latest twist, but (barring a Bobby Ewing in the shower revelation) it’s here to stay (or just get ignored [hybrid/ exploding TARDIS…]). It’s important to remember Nietzsche:
That which does not kill us makes us stronger
If you prefer other philosophers such as Rocky Balbao:
No pain, no gain
Let’s see where series 13 takes us!