Longtime British sci-fi show “Doctor Who” made news over the weekend after the latest episode made a first for the more than 50-year-old series.
The show had its first black incarnation of the titular character with actress Jo Martin making a surprise appearance as the time traveller. At this point, we know very little about this version of the doctor as little backstory has been given.
For those unfamiliar with the series, “Doctor Who” follows the adventures of the eponymous, and otherwise nameless aoctor, a centurys-old, time-travelling humanoid alien. Over the course of dozens of seasons, the doctor has travelled across time and space, often protecting Earth from a myriad of threats and monsters of the week.
One of the recurring plot points that has led to the longevity of the series is that the doctor’s species has the ability to regenerate upon dying. Upon regenerating, the doctor will take on a new appearance and personality, along with a new actor.
The ability was used early on in the series to replace an aging William Hartnell, who was the first actor to play the role more than 50 years ago. Since then, more than a dozen actors and actresses have played the various incarnations of the character with currently 13 numbered incarnations and several others from various points in time.
The series broke new ground in 2017 when it announced that British actress Jodie Whittaker would be the 13th —and current — doctor, marking the first time a woman played the role. At the time, there was a vocal minority who spoke out against the choice as the doctor had always been a male up to that point.
With a series with the longevity of “Doctor Who,” it needs to be able to evolve — and regenerate if you will — with the times. With the changes in culture and viewers, it is only natural that the show will change with it over the years.
With Whittaker, I said at the time that she represented a chance for the show to appeal to new audiences, and in some cases create a hero or role model for a generation of young girls who may not have had the same kind of role models as their brothers. With Martin, I see the same opportunities.