New changes for “The Doctor” and others are welcomed

Published 11:34 am Monday, October 22, 2018

As I might have mentioned here before, I’m a fan of the British sci-fi series “Doctor Who” and after a year-long break it’s finally back on my television screen with new episodes.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the basic premise follows the Doctor, a time-traveling alien, as he travels across the universe with his companions attempting to help people in need. The well-loved series is decades old, stretching back to the 1960’s. It took a bit of a break starting in 1990 but was back on the air again in 2005 to continue the story.

How did they manage to keep such a character on the air for 50+ years? By recasting the actor who played the Doctor multiple times of course! The perk of being an alien meant the writers could easily add in a detail about how the Doctor can “regenerate” (or, more accurately, change his whole appearance into a completely different actor).

So this new series, which just premiered a few weeks ago, featured the newest actor to step into the role: Jodie Whittaker. She’s the first lady to step into the Doctor’s shoes, so she’s got a lot of pressure on her shoulders to live up to her predecessors. But, in my opinion, she’s been fantastic so far in embodying the spirit of the beloved character. Variety recently reported that her debut episode garnered the largest audience since the show picked back up again in 2005.

Not everyone was pleased with the change in actors (and behind the scenes, a new showrunner took over the production aspect as well), but the show moved forward anyway despite the naysayers. Just like it always had. And now it seems like it may even attract new viewers to check out the series as it progresses.

We all know that changes in television shows aren’t uncommon. Characters move on or die, visit different places, and encounter a variety of new obstacles week to week. I remember watching “Boy Meets World” a lot when I was younger. At the end of season five, the characters approach their high school graduation. Cory, the main protagonist, suddenly panics as he realizes how much things are going to change as he heads off to college, potentially without his best friends. As with most sitcoms, by the end of the episode Cory comes to terms with reality and accepts that things change. And then the series continued forward a few more seasons to follow the characters as they continue to grow up.

We might think we want a TV show to be the same each week. We might think that’s much more comforting to watch. But, eventually, we’d get bored with nothing new and no surprises. We wouldn’t learn anything.

Change is a vital part of storytelling, and by extension, life itself.

We grow and change every day, and our surroundings and circumstances change too. Five years ago, I was working as a church secretary. Seven years ago, I was focused on studying in college halfway across the state. Twelve years ago, I was a high school student watching the typical dramas of my classmates unfold around me. And so on and so forth. Some changes have been wonderful, while others have been devastating. But I’ve had no choice but to face them all head on.

You all are reading my column on Saturdays now. That’s simply another change in life since we decided to merge our Tuesday and Thursday editions into a Wednesday edition going forward. It’s a little weird adjusting, but we’ll get used to it and we’ll move on.

People tend to shy away from change because we don’t like the unknown. I’m the same way myself, avoiding change if I can. Like how I’ve avoided buying a new laptop even though my current one is over a decade old and held together by packing tape!

But I think it’s probably better to think of change in more positive terms. It’s something different, something exciting. It’s something to learn from. I’m ready to see how things will turn out with every new change, whether that’s on my television screen or in the real world.


Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or by phone at 252-332-7206.