(Vague, slight spoilers but nothing in detail)
- Kicking out the grimdark; it is possible to have angst and bad things happen without gritty dystopia. Bad things are balanced with some FUN and joy and sympathetic, decent-hearted characters.
- Doctor MacGuyvering her way out of EVERYTHING; she arrives on Earth with empty pockets, no TARDIS, no sonic screwdriver, and spends a significant chunk of the episode jury rigging solutions out of junk (I think she uses 3 different blowtorches and a soldering iron, over the course of the ep)
- Doctor intense, focused, and fearless, smart (she lands, sees some humans in mortal danger, saves their asses in about TWO SECONDS, then tries to figure out who she is and what's going on)
- Doctor figuring things out on the fly, gathering data, adjusting theory when first one doesn't pan out. "I have a plan" "Do you?" "I will by the time we get to the top of this." And then she does.
- Doctor caring about people and knowing how to Human. She's a little alien, but she's not tone-deaf clueless about people's feelings.
- Expecting much of the friends she makes while also protecting them.
- Never once confronts a threat by boasting about her reputation as the Doctor, she flipping DEALS with it.
- She is always the lead, but her companions are active characters with their own lives and stories, their own skills, their own agency, and they go off and tackle parts of the story too.
- Did I mention fearless? (Okay, as the Doctor says there's a little panic involved, but mostly fearless). There's a couple times where she behaves in ways no normal person would, charging at danger.
- Sass, humor, and frenetic energy is 500% the Doctor. Brilliant smile, trademark of more than half the Doctors, is back (along with their eccentric fashion sense)
- Group of companions like the 60s and early 80s to get rid of unhealthy Doctor/Companion dynamics of Moffatt era.
- Companions/regulars: Yasmin Khan, young black (Indian descent) woman who's a junior cop on the totem pole usually assigned to traffic violations; Ryan Sinclair, young black man with dyspraxia who's at home on social media and blogs; and his somewhat timid step-granddad Graham who fell in love with and married his chemo nurse and has been cancer-free 3 years (Graham tends to take a backseat to the two younger companions)
- It takes place in Sheffield, which means not much to Americans, but it's a workingclass city up north (a lot of British fans were complaining about the northern accents) which normally NEVER is shown on British TV? Not that they'll be staying in Sheffield the whole time; it'll just be a "home base".
- Minor characters tend to be just random workingclass people. Most of them likable, from the drunk tossing salad out of his kebab takeout to the old night shift security dude talking to his granddaughter on the phone.
- A reasonable looks-like-the-real-world number of PoC characters and/or women: often all the characters onscreen just happen to be PoC and/or women. And when the Doctor is the lead in a scene, she's almost always got Yasmin and Ryan backing her up as her friends/teammates. There, was that so flipping hard?*
Anyway. I feel like THIS is the Doctor Who I wanted, and haven't really gotten except maybe a little bit with Nine. It's not perfect, but it's definitely doing what it should be doing and striving for the things it should strive for. The showrunner hasn't boasted about diversity or any of the stuff the show's doing, it just... gets on and does it (eg first new composer since reboot? happens to be first PoC composer for Doctor Who in 55 years. About flipping time.) And most of all? It's fun. BECAUSE OUR ENTERTAINMENT IS ALLOWED TO BE FUN.
And damn, this Doctor is flipping AdORABLE. 99% of the responses I've seen have been variations of I LOVE HER.
*SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH BUT NONSPECIFIC COMMENT:
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