It’s important to recognize this in terms of gender balance. Since 1971, the “standard” model for Doctor Who has been a male Doctor and a female companion, and while this episode does explicitly note that it is possible to regenerate into a different gender, at this point in the show the Doctor remains a firmly male character, with female characters delegated to the “secondary” role. But The Doctor’s Wife consciously alters this, declaring that the series’ implicit hierarchy is in fact topped by a woman, and making female spaces a vital concept in the show’s mythology, in an entertainingly literal manner. And, because it’s worth saying, the fact that this is what the script emphasizes and not “spooky alien planet with a personality” can be credited to Moffat.

Really into Phil Sandifer’s recent Doctor Who posts, in which he teases out a feminist reading of the sixth season (The above is from this post, but the post about “Let’s Kill Hitler” is the central one in this argument, and one that’s sure to drive a bunch of people insane with fury).

If the Doctor’s name means anything, it is that in a story about a woman who is raped he will be the figure who helps her to heal. If there is to be a Doctor Who story about rape then that story has to be one that is about the victim. It has to be one about her agency and her identity. One in which she is not an object, and more to the point one that rejects the entire ideology that would treat her as one. A Doctor Who story about rape isn’t about vengeance, but reparation. And that, of course, is what River offers. Amy is not all right, but she will be. The horrible things that have happened to her cannot be undone. Not with a magic wand, and not with an army. But she can heal. She can have her daughter, and love her.

The wonderful, must-read Philip Sandifer writes about “A Good Man Goes to War,” and the whole Doctor Who reveal that River Song is actually Amy and Rory’s daughter.

It’s an interesting take, if one that I don’t really agree with or embrace; I think Steven Moffat really dropped the ball with the resolution of this storyline – for all that he clearly wants to explain away/fix the violation of Amy’s pregnancy happening without her knowledge and the subsequent kidnapping of her child (and he definitely does, hence the whole, awkward insert of “Mels,” the pre-regeneration River), the show not only utterly fails at doing so, it also fails at dealing with the inevitable emotional aftermath that said events should have had on the characters; sure, it happens off-camera, to some extent, but still. It’s a terrible fumble at best.

(It’s also a surprising fumble, in many ways; Moffat’s first season as showrunner was so well done in terms of emotion, but the second – and definitely his third – are far too focused on the intellectual sleight of hand instead of the emotional truth of the characters. He didn’t really returned to the heights of his first season in charge until “The Day of the Doctor,” for me, and even that was followed by “The Time of the Doctor.”)

Favourite companion? I do like Clara for dubious reasons unbecoming a man my age. Favourite Doctor? Tom Baker. It’s obvious, I know… 

Rob Williams, talking about favorite Doctor Who companions and Doctors in another off-cut of the Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor interview we did for THR.

I’m with Williams on the love for Baker. He was my favorite Doctor, before Smith came along – he was my first Doctor, and that’s always a very important thing for any fan of the show. Smith won me over thanks to his performance.

(I also really like Clara, especially in the last two episodes. Her attitude towards everything: Excited, emotional, just very present. Once they were done with the “Impossible Girl” thing, I liked her more.)

Craig Ferguson says it’s intellect and romance triumphing over brute force and cynicism. Philip Sandifer says it’s alchemy, the secret of which is material social progress. (I may be oversimplifying. You should read his blog.) I suppose I fall somewhere between the two. The thing is, though, that Doctor Who isn’t one show – it’s ten different shows and a movie, not counting Peter Cushing, and what that means for you is affected by how old you were for each Doctor, each massively different TV show with the same name, and where it stood in the culture at the time. Doctor Who is Lenny Henry making Margaret Thatcher jokes in a TARDIS. Doctor Who is Jon Pertwee yelling SPLINK! Doctor Who is any knitted scarf of a certain length or greater. Doctor Who is my nephew mesmerised by an old Peter Davison episode. Doctor Who is the KLF. Doctor Who is holding a sink plunger in one hand and an egg whisk in the other. Doctor Who is so deeply entrenched in the culture that you can’t actually dig it out or say what it is, because Doctor Who is everything.

Al Ewing explains the appeal of Doctor Who from the full, unedited version of the interview for the Hollywood Reporter.