Chibnall and his team received a lot of criticism from fans. Disregarding the racists and sexists—seriously, bro, the TARDIS doesn’t need you—most of the scorn fell upon Chibnall’s showrunning. In distancing himself from the monolith of Moffat, he may have gone too far away from the core mythos. There wasn’t a single Dalek in sight—until the stand-alone New Year’s special—and while no one is especially broken up about that, there was hardly anything of the earlier seasons still in place. Additionally, having three companions shifted crucial focus away from Whittaker’s Doctor at precisely the time the audience needed most to know who she was and how she’d recreate the role.
In a previous article written before the current season, we took the pulse of Whovians and learned that only 53.7% were optimistic about the show’s direction. Has this changed?
Chibnall’s fans say he has learned from his mistakes, and then some. The show feels like Doctor Who again. Not only has it brought back numerous elements of the previous seasons (from Moffat, Davies, and others) but also gave the Doctor a chance to show who she is beyond the frantic enthusiasm. We have seen the less patient, more concerned side of Whittaker’s portrayal. Every episode has been an improvement over the previous season.
Naysayers are still out there, despite the improvements. In general, we still barely know this Doctor, despite nearly two seasons with her. All we know is she’s overly fond of the sonic screwdriver. Seriously, has any other regeneration used it this much? And while the bad guys are pretty creepy this time around, it’s still way too easy to defeat them. The Doctor needs BIG bad to fight. With only a couple of episodes left in the season, it still feels like the show doesn’t know where it’s headed.