The Future is Female (and so are the present and the past, because time is wibbly-wobbly like that)

There’s nothing I can say about my delight for the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor on Doctor Who that hasn’t already been said. For an alien creature that can canonically change genders with their various regenerations, it’s beyond time for the Doctor to be female after a string of a dozen males. For one of the biggest science-fiction works in the history of sci-fi television, it’s a cool move to put a woman behind the wheel of the TARDIS (doubly so in conjunction with a new showrunner finally replacing the increasingly odious Stephen Moffat). And, unsurprisingly, it’s brought out the worst in internet trolling.

The Doctor is a Man. No, the Doctor is a Time Lord. Why does it need to be Politically Correct? Well, the probability of a coin coming up heads a thirteenth time after 12 in a row is pretty unlikely (unless you’re in a Tom Stoppard play), so it’s really more about being Scientifically Correct. And the classic: they’ve ruined my childhood! Look, I know the show is about time travel, but you know that’s just pretend, right? The Doctor can’t really go back to the ’70s and erase all your childhood memories of the colourful scarf and the celery lapel and the bad special effects.

Continue reading “The Future is Female (and so are the present and the past, because time is wibbly-wobbly like that)”

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Anywhere that you tell me to, Gilmore Girls

When filmmakers want to retell a familiar story, it seems that they tend to turn to remakes or reboots, recreating a version of the original work with a new cast and crew, perhaps throwing in a cameo from the original star as a plot point or just a wink and nod to long-time fans. While there are occasional instances of many-years-later sequels, it seems that usually after a certain period of time filmmakers feel that audiences prefer to start fresh.

On the other hand, television seems to lend itself better to continuations of old stories, perhaps due to the ease of a next-generation series a la Girl Meets World or the upcoming Fuller House, or the procedural nature of a show like The X-Files (of which I have not yet watched any of the latest episodes because I’m saving them to binge watch all at once). Given that this tendency toward long-awaited continuations has led to Netflix confirming a four-part Gilmore Girls revival, I definitely can’t complain.

Like most book-obsessed, somewhat nerdy girls my age, my two fictional role models growing up were Hermione Granger and Rory Gilmore. We had so much in common: both of us always with a book in our hand, focused (sometimes overly so) on school—we even both studied journalism! Rory was smart, driven, and even if she wasn’t real, I looked up to her. I was devastated when her college years arrived and she turned off track (why did you steal that boat, Rory, why?!?!), and elated when she returned to college, with the finale sending her off on the campaign trail to report on Barack Obama.

Then there’s Lorelai. If Rory is who I was, then Lorelai is who I wanted (and still want) to be. Not the teen-pregnancy-with-awful-Christopher part or the terribly-strained-relationship-with-her-parents part, but pretty much everything else. She, too, was smart and driven, owning her own business and finding a perfect niche. She was witty as hell and enviably funny. She had great friendships in her town and an even greater relationship with her daughter. And our all-consuming coffee drinking habits are remarkably similar.

The minor characters are just as wonderful, with so many memorable supporting roles like Paris Gellar, Lane Kim, Luke Danes, and the only one of Rory’s boyfriends who really matters, Jess Mariano, but the titular Gilmore girls are by far the most important to me. When I was a kid I wasn’t much of a television watcher so most of my fictional heroes came from books—the aforementioned Hermione Grander, the Enchanted Forest Chronicles‘ Cimorene, and others, but Lorelai and Rory were the exception. To this day, I think that the more I am like them, the better.

In a way, this makes me nervous for the Netflix revival of the show. I remember my heartbreak when Rory “let me down” by stealing a boat and quitting my college, my devastation when Lorelai and Luke broke up. My diction may be slightly exaggerated here, but only slightly. What if Lorelai and Luke don’t get back together? What if Rory goes back to (ugh) Logan? More importantly, what if she’s not still writing? What if she’s changed? I mean, sure, I’ve changed too since 2007, but I’m a real person; I’m allowed. All revivals contain a certain amount of fan service; most creators aren’t as diabolical as to completely destroy everything their audience loved about the original, even in the name of progressing the story, and I’m totally okay with that when it means things turn out the way I want them to.

On the other hand, I do care about the story. Gilmore Girls wasn’t a generic show I watched for the eye candy. I cared  (still do) about the characters and their lives like they were people I knew in my own life. And so I’m willing to be disappointed in the name of good storytelling, if it comes to that. But, you know, ideally the storytelling is great and leads to Rory and Jess getting back together to write novels in Brooklyn. Regardless, as the theme song says, “Where you lead, [Gilmore Girls,] I will follow.”