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Doctor Who really does need more female writers

Stashed in: Women, SciFi!

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Charlie Jane Anders is right:

The last time a woman wrote for Doctor Who, it was Helen Raynor in 2008. Last year, producer Caroline Skinner said she wanted to get more women writing for the show -- but she left without making that happen. The Guardian asks producer Marcus Wilson about the situation, and he replies: "Due to schedules and other projects, both male and female writers whom we have wanted to join the team simply haven't been able to. For us it's about who can write good Doctor Who stories, regardless of gender."

So why does this matter? I'm quoted in the Guardian article as pointing out that somewhat more women are writing for SF and fantasy television in the United States, and this diversity of viewpoints has coincided with an improvement in the writing -- not just of female characters, but of all characters. I think of The Middleman, which started its life as a comic book by Javier Grillo-Marxuach and then became a TV show with three women writers.


Even though Doctor Who doesn't have an American-style "writers room," you can still imagine how the generally one-dimensional Amy Pond could have grown a bit more if writers beyond the small group of men had tackled her. (As it is, you can see hints of greater depth and complexity in "The Girl Who Waited" and one or two other stories.) And meanwhile, I've described River Song as the central failure of Moffat's Doctor Who, and I stand by that.

One of the frustrating things about Doctor Who in the Matt Smith era has been the way the uneasy fusion of "boy's own adventure" and "relationship sitcom" tropes has often left the characters, especially Amy, feeling like cogs in the machine.

Doctor Who is, at its basis, an escapist piece of entertainment. But the character who escapes the most, and the most meaningfully, is generally a woman. So yeah, it doesn't seem entirely unreasonable to wish for more women writers, rather than a small group of men, to be crafting that escape plan. [The Guardian]

She makes a compelling argument.

'generally one-dimensional Amy Pond' ... yes... she was pretty one dimensional, but that's the norm in British television, where the BBC has more money than timeslots so they throw character development out the window.  

An article written from an American perspective needs to understand how British expect their telleyboxes to tell stories (ex. British audiences HATED the americanized Torchwood: Miracle Day).

We're spoiled in America because we expect character development, even if it's a movie show like The Walking Dead or a drug kingpin show like Breaking Bad or a medieval fantasy like Game of Thrones.

Without character development why am I watching television? I could get story without character for a movie with a lot less time commitment. 

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