Why Jodie Whittaker Thinks Doctor Who Is More Than Just Science Fiction

The Doctor Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who BBC America

Doctor Who Season 11 is constructed to welcome in new viewers to the franchise, perhaps more than any other season since its revival in 2005. The series hopes to pull in those interested in Jodie Whittaker, who recently said the show is more than just the typical science fiction romp some may typically avoid. Whittaker explained her thought process in more detail, referring to the Doctor as a "traveler" perhaps more than just an alien:

You're playing an alien, you are not restricted to social etiquette or time periods or anything like that. You are a traveler who is there to experience and has this extraordinary way of viewing worlds and life and time and science and space and everything. And I think to limit [the show] to a sci-fi genre in its label does it a disservice because it's its own genre, in a way. And yeah, it's beautiful.

Sure, Doctor Who has a good deal of aliens and time-travel, but as Jodie Whittaker points out, the program is largely about how the Doctor reacts to each situation and the world around her. For that reason, Whittaker appears to be saying the show is one viewers who may not even like sci-fi can enjoy, provided they can see the series the way she does. This is why Jodie Whittaker believes Doctor Who is in a genre of its own, and that the term "science-fiction" is too limiting.

Jodie Whittaker's perspective is an important one to note in this instance, as she is technically an outsider to the Doctor Who universe. Unlike her predecessor Peter Capaldi and other past Doctors, Whittaker did not grow up as a fan of the show. Given that, her perspective might be one that tempts skeptical and unfamiliar audiences into the franchise, as Season 11 continues to switch things up going forward.

Whittaker's statement shouldn't alarm any current Doctor Who fans, as she told Bustle that calling the series sci-fi is merely "limiting." Whittaker is merely saying the show is more than a science-fiction adventure, rather than being something different entirely. New showrunner Chris Chibnall has made a lot of changes to the franchise, although even he hasn't gone so far as to change the core concept of the series.

If Chris Chibnall did make such changes or ends up doing so, he'll hear far more complaints about that than he ever did for breaking decades of tradition and casting the program's first female lead. Jodie Whittaker's adventures on Doctor Who air on BBC America Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET. The fall season is in full swing, so be sure to head on over to our fall premiere guide and see what other shows are premiering or returning to television over the next couple of months.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.