Doctor Who: Chris Chibnall Explains "Flux" And Yet It's Still Awful

Doctor Who: Flux is mercifully over, and the BBC has released a 15-minute video featuring showrunner Chris Chibnall explaining the entire season to us, possibly because the whole season has been utter gibberish. It's always worth listening to writers, especially showrunners explain their process. One way or another, it's educational, even when the showrunner has not done a good job.

doctor who
"Doctor Who: Flux" Image: BBC

This is all contrived garbage. When you need the showrunner to spend 15 minutes to spell it all out, explaining the entire season to you to make it comprehensible and It still comes off as incomprehensible rubbish, it's a failure of writing and storytelling.  It's a prime example of overthinking everything and forgetting people can't read your mind.

For all the emotional implications Chibnall cites, the endless plot and running around spends almost zero time to stop and actually feel it. We actually have to wait for this video to come along to figure out what he's been trying to say, and it still doesn't ring true.  Case in point: Tecteun.

Tecteun is the monstrous, abusive mother and their relationship isn't explored beyond spouting exposition. There's no exploration of the Doctor's feelings for the abusive, exploitative mother who raised her. There's no real sense of Tecteun's own feelings or emotions beyond her scientific amorality. She has no personality beyond Exposition Speaker. She doesn't express any emotion at all. There's no sense of what it was like for her to raise The Doctor as a mother. The show completely wastes an actor of the caliber of Barbara Flynn. Then she's so ceremoniously killed off even Tecteun looks bored when she's disintegrated. We feel absolutely nothing for her. We don't care about her or even dislike her as a villain because she's flimsier than cardboard. She has less nuance and personality than the most stereotypical mad scientist from the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) era. Even the villains have more personality than she does – they at least had hatred, sadism, arrogance even if they spent nearly all their time monologuing like the worst Marvel Comics Beginners Writing. Jodie Whittaker is left to project emotions at the end that we have no access to.

Even the old version of Doctor Who ran in the 1970s and even the low points of its 1980s run, there were enough emotional and character moments in between the plot to make viewers care. That's why the show continues to have millions of fans worldwide from those times.

This entire season of Doctor Who: Flux commits the cardinal screenwriting crime of "telling, not showing" so totally that it should be taught in screenwriting classes for "How NOT to write a screenplay". It even made the threat of universal genocide boring.

Doctor Who: Flux feels like a cargo cult version of the show with real actors and crew. There are 3 specials left to go before Russell T. Davies and proper writers take over the new series.

Doctor Who: Flux is now on BBC America in the US.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.