Timestamp: Series Thirteen and Thirteenth Doctor Summary

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Doctor Who Series Thirteen and Thirteenth Doctor Summary

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Jodie Whittaker’s final series was consistent but frustrating.

This batch of episodes encapsulated much of this era of Doctor Who, which struck me as more of a classic era tone with enhanced special effects. The budgets were lower relative to the rest of the revival era, and the stories tended to be more self-contained and pulpy. In Flux, a serialized event akin to the classic years, we even saw some classic-style monsters that looked more like latex and plaster than we’re used to.

Unfortunately, the budget constraints also led to convoluted writing. The Flux serial was announced in early 2021 with eight episodes, but we ended up with six parts instead. The other two became specials accompanying the feature-length finale. This reduction was attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s also no secret that Doctor Who was in danger of being cancelled again. Viewership didn’t stick around during the writing troubles and the obvious shift in production values. In short, the Doctor was in trouble.

Flux started well enough, but with convoluted plot threads and jumpy stories in the back half, it fell flat. This should have been a home run for Jodie Whittaker’s farewell tour, but it was bogged down by its weight. The three specials picked up some of the slack with clearer plots, back-to-basics characterization, and exciting adventures, but Flux was frustrating and confusing when all was said and done.

Overall, Series Thirteen comes in with a solid 4.0 score, buoyed by the specials and Village of the Angels. That ties with the classic Twelfth Season and Series Ten, and places this set in a tie for sixteenth among the forty-one seasons (so far) in the scope of the Timestamps Project. Despite my frustrations, that’s still good company. It’s also right in the middle between the other two series in the Whittaker era, which speaks to consistency of quality.

For what it’s worth, I did enjoy the rewatch, though this is not a set that I’d sit down and mainline if I had a day off.

Flux – Chapter One: The Halloween Apocalypse – 4
Flux – Chapter Two: War of the Sontarans – 5
Flux – Chapter Three: Once, Upon Time – 4
Flux – Chapter Four: Village of the Angels – 4
Flux – Chapter Five: Survivors of the Flux – 4
Flux – Chapter Six: The Vanquishers
– 3
Eve of the Daleks
– 2
Legend of the Sea Devils
– 4
The Power of the Doctor
– 4

Series Ten Average Rating: 4.0/5

Thirteenth Doctor Publicity

Following tradition…

The First Doctor was a wise grandfather, the Second a sly jester, the Third a secret agent scientist, the Fourth an inquisitive idealist, the Fifth an honorable humanitarian, the Sixth a squandered cynic, the Seventh a curious schemer, the Eighth a classical romantic, the Ninth a hopeful healing veteran, the Tenth a bargaining humanitarian, the Eleventh an irascible runner, the Twelfth a principled warrior…

…and the Thirteenth Doctor is an excitable explorer.

She was the embodiment of acceptance of the post-Time War traumas in the early days, but she ended up falling into similar dour moods after the Timeless Child revelation. That comes coupled with the destruction of Gallifrey by the Master, literally dismantling everything her predecessors accomplished as the essence of her people was poured into one of their greatest enemies.

The trauma derailed her recovery.

This Doctor was intentionally distant and emotionally aloof, preferring fun and excitement over being cuddly. There were a lot of adventures taking place off-screen but alluded to by the companions. She was also considerate of the pain of leaving her companions behind, a character trait that prevented her from getting too close to Yaz. She cared in her own way.

I like the Thirteenth Doctor a lot, but I unlike previous incarnations, I feel that her score places her appropriately in the ranks. I loved her spirit and her embodiment of what it means to be the Doctor, and I will miss her. I just wish that her time had been better treated. She had so much more potential and so many more stories to tell.

Series Scores
Series 8 – 3.9
Series 9 – 4.1
Series 10 – 4.0

Thirteenth Doctor’s Weighted Average Rating: 4.00

Ranking (by score)
1 – Eighth (4.50)
2 – Tenth (4.34)
3 – Ninth (4.30)
4 – Eleventh (4.17)
5 – Third (4.00)
6 – Thirteenth (4.00)
7 – Twelfth (3.87)
8 – Second (3.67)
9 – Fourth (3.67)
10 – Seventh (3.54)
11 – First (3.41)
12 – Fifth (3.20)
13 – Sixth (2.73)
N/A – War (No score)
N/A – Fugitive (No score)

Ranking (by character)
1 – Tenth Doctor
2 – Second Doctor
3 – Ninth Doctor
4 – Eighth Doctor
5 – Third Doctor
6 – Fourth Doctor
7 – Thirteenth Doctor
8 – Fugitive Doctor
9 – Twelfth Doctor
10 – War Doctor
11 – Eleventh Doctor
12 – Seventh Doctor
13 – First Doctor
14 – Fifth Doctor
15 – Sixth Doctor

As I’ve mentioned before (and before, and before, and…), the top ten spaces on the character ranking are really, really, really close. I’m always tempted to simply rank them all as a first-place tie, but I find the real challenge to be actually thinking it through and placing them.

So, here we are: The Timestamps Project has effectively caught up with the continuing story of Doctor Who. To keep the spirit of this project alive, I’m taking a short break. First, this will allow the Sixtieth Anniversary and Series Fourteen (Season One) stories some time to breathe. Second, it will allow me some time to focus on other things.

No doubt, the Timestamps Project will return. After all, we have the return of David Tennant and the debut of Ncuti Gatwa to talk about, and my initial impression of those stories was that they were fun.

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Star Beastcc-break

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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