When I was 13 years old, my best friend introduced me to Doctor Who. Growing up as a brown girl in a predominantly white neighborhood in Sacramento, people would ask me, “What are you?” When I explained that my family came from Armenia and the Philippines, I might as well have said they were, like the Doctor, from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous. The show played perfectly to my fantasies of escape into wider possibilities. Yes, funny smart man with your English accent, please whisk me away in your blue box as far in space and time as I can get from 1980s Northern California.
Nearly two decades have passed since I first watched the show, but on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, to my eyes, the show looked a bit… like 1980s Northern California. “The Day of the Doctor,” the episode marking the special occasion, was simulcast globally in 94 countries, an official Guinness World Record. So why was so little of the world in it? I had expected the diversity of the audience to be reflected on the screen, but instead the episode seemed Anglo in every dimension.
I monitored #DoctorWho50th on Twitter but couldn’t find many people of color livetweeting the simulcast. The few that did seemed to have “the feels” like everyone else. No one mentioned race. With Matt Smith’s tenure in the title role ending on Wednesday, I turned to Facebook to find more Whovians: friends, friends-of-friends, and strangers, mostly Americans, mostly people of color. What did they think about the whitewashed “Day of the Doctor”?
By Guest Contributor Kendra James & Managing Editor Arturo R. García
This week, television networks held their Upfronts: these are the meetings where they do their best to convince advertisers (and viewers) that their shiny new vehicles are going to be the best of the lot in the season to come. Among those that got picked up was Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project (above) which will air on Fox. Whatever your thoughts are on Kaling getting her Bridget Jones on, it’s still good to see Kaling as both star and showrunner. According to ThinkProgress’ estimates, she’s one of only five POC showrunners who came out of the Upfronts a winner. (Not among them, sez Latino Rebels, Eva Longoria and Devious Maids.) - AG
Freema Agyeman. Courtesy: Camera Press/Listal
There’s not much to say about NBC’s new comedy lineup aside from wondering why NBC felt the need to give Nene Leakes a show. Oh, and there’s a show with animals who appear to do people things.
That said, there were a few choice pickups: Megan Good’s cop soap/drama Infamous will air on NBC; ABC is giving Mistresses, with Yunjin Kim and Rochelle Aytes a chance; Freema Agyeman is going to be on American TV (finally) on the CW’s The Carrie Diaries, so dramatically, at least, things are looking up. - KJ
If you answered that they are major supporting characters in hit TV shows, give yourself 1 point.
If you answered that they are among the few fictional representations of Black women on major network television shows, give yourself 2 points.
If you answered that fandom, for some mysterious reason, hates the shit out of them, give yourself 5 points.
If you answered that fandom’s hatred of these characters are particularly gendered and racialized along stereotypes about Black women, hand yourself the internet.
The level of hatred spewed at these characters sometimes even manages to spill over onto the actors who portray them. Poor Rutina Wesley can’t do anything right in True Blood fandom. And according to some Merlin fans, Angel Coulby is probably the Antichrist. OK, I exaggerate. But not by much.
For a fleeting moment, Undercovers was on to something good. In introducing an Evil French Spy Couple, finally we had the chance to see the Blooms test themselves against real adversaries.
Naturally, by the end of “Not Without My Daughter,” they were dispatched. What with the show seemingly stable, ratings-wise, and more episodes on the way, one can only hope that they come back – and bring much-needed tension with them. But the Roundtable certainly won’t forget about them, nor one particular exchange between Steven and Hoyt …