“The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

Going into last weekend’s Series 11 Premier of Doctor Who, I sat down and watched all the regeneration episodes I could get my hands on over the course of a week and a half (list below). While I already really like this new Doctor, there are some things I’d like to discuss regarding Chris Chibnall’s new Who.

 

1. Regeneration: Something always goes wrong
The Doctor always experiences some form of memory loss and disassociate as their body settles into its new form. Sometimes this can be moments of absent-mindedness, while others experience something closer to amnesia. The Doctor also has a history of collapsing into a slightly comatose or unconscious state (3, 4, 10, 12, 13), often experiencing delirium (4, 5, 7, 12). Doctors Six and Ten went beyond delirium into something erratic and even violent. Aside from a brief period of unconsciousness, the first Female Doctor’s regeneration is very much like their Eleventh incarnation, mostly consisting of memory loss, absent-mindedness, and disassociation. This is somewhat jarring as two of the New WhoDoctors have had much more erratic episodes and longer periods of unconsciousness. Remember, this Doctor’s adventure takes place in the space of one night.

 

2. Location: The North
In the past, New Who has referred to The North as something deserving of capital letters. In “Rose” (Series 1, Episode 1), Rose makes a point of asking the Ninth Doctor why they sound like they are from The North. In “The Crimson Horror” (Series 7, Episode 11), Strax reminds everyone to be on guard as they are leaving London for The North. It’s not unusual for major cities to look on more rural or industrial areas with some form of derision, but this time all the characters are Northerners.

The Twelfth Doctor was unique for their Scottish accent, although the only episode to take place in Scotland was set in the second century (Series 10, Episode 10 “Eaters of the Light”). Here, the new Doctor’s Northern accent debuts in The North.

Okay, so why is this important? Well, as someone from Boston, I can tell you I’m always excited when something is set here and actually filmed here (Boston is NOT like New York or LA, sorry!). Seeing someone get it right always makes me happy and a little proud. As Chris Chibnall attended University of Sheffield, there’s no doubt that he ‘got it right’. Additionally, with it becoming more common for Doctors to use their natural accents (the actor’s natural accent), setting the series opener in Sheffield eliminated any questions about the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker’s) because they all have Northern accents. It’s something that has been taken advantage of in previous incarnations. When their brain is already scrambled, it’s one less thing to worry about.

 

3. Building a Sonic: Something new!
The origins of the Sonic Screwdriver has not always been clear. Both Eleven and Twelve were gifted Sonic Screwdrivers by the TARDIS, but where Nine got his (and where Twelve got the Sonic Glasses) is something of a mystery. This is the first time we’ve seen a Doctor building their Sonic Screwdriver. Showing the Doctor building one accomplishes a few things. First, the emphasis that it is made of “Sheffield Steel” adds to the Northern pride. Second, it demonstrates a great deal about this new Doctor.

It doesn’t take long for the audience to see that this Doctor is much more charismatic than Twelve and less awkwardly gawky than Eleven. In many ways, they pull on their Tenth persona. However, this Doctor is already shown to be much more hands-on. While the Third Doctor had a lab at UNIT, they seemed to be more interested in observation or tidy science (how often did that suit get ruffled?), whereas this Doctor in their torn clothing doesn’t hesitate to get their hands dirty– in fact, they are rather enthusiastic about how “fun” it will be to build. This makes it clear that this Doctor will be hands-on and resourceful, likely in a way the audience hasn’t seen before.

 

4. New Wardrobe: Scenes & Significance
Currently, gender politics are a hot-button issue in the United States, so my first reaction to the Doctor in a dressing room trying to decide on clothes was a negative one. However, there is actually a precedent for scenes in which the Doctor chooses a new wardrobe.

How we dress says a lot about us, so it makes sense for the Doctor, upon regenerating, to rethink their wardrobe for something that feels right. As the Doctor said in this episode, ” ” In many ways, choosing new clothes is another way for the new Doctor to set their stage.

 

In almost every onscreen Regeneration, the audience gets to see how the Doctor finds their new look.

– The Second Doctor goes through a trunk and changes some of his clothes in front of Ben and Polly in “The Power of the Daleks” (Season 4, Serial 3).

– The Third Doctor steals clothes that appeal to him at the hospital in “Spearhead from Space” (Season 7, Serial 1).

– The Fourth Doctor goes in and out of the TARDIS trying to decide on a new wardrobe before finding his signature scarf in “Robot” (Season 12, Serial 1).

– The Fifth Doctor happens upon a cricketer’s outfit hanging on a mirror as he wanders around the TARDIS “Castrovalva” (Season 19, Serial 1).

– The Sixth Doctor and Perri spend time in the Doctor’s closet trying on different things before settling on a brightly colored coat and a cat pin in “The Twin Dilemma” (Season 21, Serial 7).

– The Seventh Doctor again goes through his closet trying on various clothes (including looks preferred by previous incarnations and much to the Rani’s irritation) in “Time and the Rani” (Season 24, Serial 1).

– The Eighth Doctor once again steals from hospital staff– this time, a costume/fancy dress rather than someone’s actual clothes in Doctor Who (1996).

– The War Doctor doesn’t change clothes but does symbolically take up Cass’s bandolier to fight in the Time War in “The Night of the Doctor” (2013).

– The Tenth Doctor spends a portion of a montage rummaging through his closet before finding his signature pinstripe suit and long coat in “The Christmas Invasion” (2005 Christmas Special).

– The Eleventh Doctor once again steals from hospital staff, rummaging for just the right tie-in “The Eleventh Hour” (Series 5, Episode 1).

– The Twelfth Doctor debuts his chosen new look when he returns for Clara at the end of his first episode in “Deep Breath” (Series 8, Episode 1), though it is notable that his costume does not stay consistent during his tenure, deviating from is original look far more than previous Doctors (3, 10).

 

With these eleven Doctors in mind, it is clear that such a scene is a staple of Regeneration. The only reason the Thirteenth Doctor is in a shop dressing room is because the TARDIS is MIA.

 

There is also symbolism in the 13th Doctor’s choices
– Her striped shirt contains colors that call back to Tom Baker’s iconic scarf.
– She wears a long beige coat reminiscent of the one worn by David
– Her pants/trousers are cropped short and paired with boots, though they are wide legged to Matt Smith’s costume.
– Her suspenders/braces are in an unusually bright color, but have been part of the costumes of numerous Doctors including Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, and Matt Smith.
– Finally, her shirt, pants/trousers, socks, and even some of her coat is BLUE! Blue like the TARDIS (though not all the same shade).

 

5. Episode Ending + Next Week Trailer
I was actually a little unsatisfied with this ending until I realized how similar it is to Old Who. In its original run, Doctor Who would frequently experience major TARDIS malfunctions as the Eleventh Doctor explains, “Ooh, I once spent a hell of a long time trying to get a gobby Australian to Heathrow Airport” (Series 7, Episode 11, “The Crimson Horror”), referencing adventures with the Fifth Doctor and companion Teagan. Even in its first ever serial, “An Unearthly Child” (Season 1, Serial 1), Doctor Who makes it clear that the Doctor does not always know how to work the TARDIS. That they do not consistently find themselves lost is a new Who concept, so I’m actually rather excited to see what Chibnall, building on the last ten series/13 years does with it. The trailer for tomorrow’s episode makes it clear that getting the new companions home is going to be the Doctor’s main priority.

 

Conclusion:
Chris Chibnall’s background (unsurprisingly) has a big impact on the new series. It’s well known that he was a huge fan of the original series, but expresses that in a way that is different from Russell T. Davies or Steven Moffat.

Davies’s Who was about bringing back a beloved classic, so in many ways, a lot of the episodes were love letters to the old series. However, Davies also made the show accessible for a modern audience, increasing the pacing and adding dramatic elements, such as ongoing plot lines, the Time War and the Last of the Time Lords. He also introduced the companions’ families into the mix. All of Davies’ series contain mothers (Series 1&2: Jackie Tyler, Series 3: Francine Jones, Series 4: Sylvia Noble, Specials: The Woman) worrying over their children and their adventures with the Doctor.

Moffat’s goal was to take it a step further, evoking the joy and excitement he felt when watching the original series, while also examining relationships more closely. With Moffat, we see the Doctor fall in love (Madame de Pompadour, River Song), we are given monsters that scare a modern audience (Weeping Angels, Vashta Nerada, The Silence, The Monks). We also get to see more of the companions’ lives outside the TARDIS. He evokes the childish fantasy of going off in the TARDIS for adventures where the Doctor always wins, then being home before anyone notices an absence. His Doctor Who is, in many ways, about wish fulfillment.

From the first episode, it looks like Chibnall is taking the modern elements established by his predecessors, such as family ties, but brings in his own spin. Chibnall’s filmography includes showrunner or writing for not only Doctor Who and Torchwood, but also BroadchurchLaw & Order: UK, and Life on Mars. All three of these programs are crime dramas that don’t hold back on the grittiness or the death– something notable in Torchwood as well. These elements are all present in “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”, not just in the plot or the characters (companion Yasmin Khan is a Police Constable), but in the tone, colors, and lighting. The setting even steps away from the wide socioeconomic range of London, the peacefulness of Leadworth, and the austerity of a University, instead choosing Sheffield which has a much more industrial history, so he doesn’t evoke the poverty that is part of London (like Davies), but instead the gritty, hardworking connotations– which as we see when the Thirteenth Doctor builds a Sonic Screwdriver, could very likely be a trait she shares.

 

So, what can we expect from Chibnall’s new Doctor Who? With the filmography he has, it would be easy to say that procedural drama will spill over, but when you look at the episodes he’s written for Doctor Who it demonstrates something different. Chibnall’s episodes, such as “42” (Series 3, Episode 7), “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood” (Series 5, Episodes 8-9), “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” (Series 7, Episode 2), and “The Power of Three” (Series 7, Episode 4) often depict industrial sites/jobs, family members, and/or connections to the world outside the companion’s purview. This is not all that removed from any other Doctor Who episode or serial. My expectation is that Chibnall will continue to evoke the similar tones we saw in “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”, harkening back to Davies-era and even Old Who, and I’m actually really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with!

Why I hate Danny Pink

In honor of the new, first female Doctor, and the first new episode of Doctor Who since Christmas, I decided to revisit previous Doctors and their adventures. Naturally, I started by thinking about which episodes I felt I needed to watch of most recent Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and remembered… Danny. Pink.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Doctor Who Seasons 7.5-10

 

It’s taken me more than a couple years to be able to admit this out loud, but…

I hate Danny Pink.

Sooooo much.

For those of you who don’t know, Danny Pink (played by Samuel Anderson) serves as the love interest for Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) in the 8th Season (Series 8) of Doctor Who. Now, there are already many different opinions on Season 8. I firmly believe that there should have been one more season with the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, paired with Coleman, then you get two of Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, and companion Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). Although Clara had chemistry with both Eleven and Twelve, I think it’s safe to say that she really clicked with Eleven.

Yes, there was flirting between Eleven and Clara, but there was also a deep understanding and friendship there as well. The chemistry between Smith and Coleman is undeniable and she is able to keep up with his manic portrayal. Between Seasons 8 and 9, there were episodes that showed chemistry between Coleman and Capaldi as well, but of a very different kind. Here, the friendship was much closer to that of Tenth Doctor, David Tennant, and Companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), one without any flirtation, just best friends and platonic soul mates. This was a great chemistry, but former Doctor Who show-runner, Steven Moffat, just seems to get completely bogged down by the romance element.

Following youthful Eleven’s Regeneration into the much older Twelve, there is a definite shift in the dynamic between Clara and the Doctor. No longer is there that flirty element, but instead the new incarnation of the Doctor demonstrates jealousy and a lack of understanding and social graces.

Now, had Danny Pink had the same joie de vivre that Eleven seemed to possess, perhaps I wouldn’t be so bothered, but Danny Pink is cynical, bogged down by his time spent as a soldier. Clara is inquisitive and adventurous by nature. She loves to explore new times and places. Danny Pink is a sourpuss. Previous possible love interests of female companions (ie Mickey, Rory) eventually joined the adventures with the Doctor, becoming just as enraptured  with time and space as their female love interests (Rose, Amy) or at the very least, supported them. Danny Pink is not supportive.

At the end of Season 8, Danny Pink is hit by a car and dies. It occurs off screen, but as far as we know this is just a random though unfortunate Earthly occurrence. His death effects Clara for the remainder of her time as companion and ultimately leads to her death, as she becomes increasingly impulsive and reckless in the face of such a loss.

 

…What?

 

…How?

 

The chemistry between Coleman and Anderson is strained and lacking, so already it’s difficult to understand how they were together– especially considering how Danny Pink was never supportive and actively discouraged Clara traveling with the Doctor. But how did Clara love this guy THAT much? Like, I can understand his death having impact. Heck, if it was explained as survivor’s guilt, then that would be just fine. But, no. This is supposed to be heartbreak.

Moffat has an unfortunate habit of forcing a connection between the audience and a character. He introduces characters telling you they are important and that you should care about them, without letting that build organically. It happened with River Song (one of two characters inspired by The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger), and perhaps that is what is happening here.

For a long time, I tried to respect his choices; Moffat was show-runner. He’d done a lot of interesting and creative things for Doctor Who. But every time I think about Season 8, all I can think of is Danny Pink and how annoying he is. Then I think of Clara’s death and get even more annoyed because it was directly influenced by Danny Pink (she even says so!). People are iffy on Capaldi, but while those two seasons may not get the same recognition some of the others do, they aren’t bad. Capaldi is a callback to older, crotchety Doctors, such as First Doctor, William Hartnell. I actually really like him in the role and he has some really interesting stories, but Danny Pink. He just seems to loom like a shadow, tainting some of the stories with his sour attitude, discouraging remarks, and cynicism.

He is ants at a picnic.

 

With a new Doctor on the horizon– one that apparently will be free from romantic entanglements– we will be getting to know the Doctor all over again. A female Doctor is a bold choice, as is having three companions right off the bat (two male, one female). The show is going through a major change with not only a new Doctor, but a new show-runner (Chris Chibnall, Doctor WhoTorchwood), AND a new composer.

 

Let’s hope there isn’t another Danny Pink anytime soon.

 

Doctor Who returns tomorrow, Sunday, October 7, 2018 and is expected to air at the same time as the BBC One broadcast in the UK. In that case, watch it on BBC America at 1:45 pm EST, with a repeat broadcast later in the evening.

The Role of Witches

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Typically, I spend the month of October, attempting a month-long marathon in the vein of FreeForm’s “31 Nights of Halloween” (formerly 13). So, originally, I had intended to make this post about that, focusing on some of my favorite Halloween TV specials and movies. However, in light of certain events, I decided I wanted to look at the role of women in Halloween culture.

The most obvious figure, is the witch. In Salem 1692, these were individuals who supposedly were in league with the devil. Over time, they have become almost exclusively women and, for a long time, almost exclusively evil. In 1939, the Wicked Witch of the West was the frightening antagonist with the green skin and hooked nose who was thwarted with help from Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. This beautiful ginger got a name and a sparkly pink dress and crown, while our anonymous friend looked severe and dour in the traditional dour black dress and conical hat.

In The Wizard of Oz, good and evil are both represented by witches/strong female characters (although protagonist Dorothy later needs to be saved by her men). In typical fashion, they are characterized by their appearance, but they both demonstrate a great amount of power. Almost 54 years later Disney released another good example of strong women on both sides: Hocus Pocus (1993).

In Hocus Pocus, the Sanderson sisters are three witches who cast a curse just before they are hanged in 1693 Salem. The curse enables them to be resurrected 100 years later to exact their revenge. Played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, these witches are not so obviously “ugly”, and, in the case of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, she’s actually quite beautiful. Instead, the “ugliness” is in their actions and personalities and in how they aren’t especially intelligent.

In contrast, there’s our protagonists, siblings Max and Dani Dennison, Max’s beautiful crush, Allison Watts, and 17th Century Salem resident-turned-cat, the immortal Thackery Binx. Although the protagonist is decidedly Max (and to some extent, Binx), he is often outshined by Dani and Allison’s intelligence and resourcefulness. Max is the one who starts the trouble, and while he finishes it with his bravery, the beautiful girls more often than not prove to be the more intelligent characters.

Hocus Pocus and The Wizard of Oz share some key similar traits in how they portray women, with good and evil females on both sides, and the evil ones less beautiful or intelligent. However, where The Wizard of Oz, also gives its strength and intelligence to the male protagonists, Hocus Pocus reflects the changing times by making the females the more capable characters.

In the years since Hocus Pocus, witches have more and more often been portrayed as forces for good: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992, 1997-2005), Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003), Charmed (1998-2006, 2018-), Harry Potter (1997-2007, 2001-2011), The Good Witch (2008, 2015-) … the list goes on. The point is, women have been taking back that word. Because, let’s be realistic, what is a witch but a woman who has power beyond male understanding? Witches don’t need men and cannot be controlled by them (which is why some of them choose romantic partners that are not your standard human man: Willow and Tara, Scarlet Witch and The Vision (a cyborg created by an alien intelligence and hyper-sophisticated AI)).

Today, witches are again being threatened. See, it’s no longer just witches threatening the patriarchy. More than ever, women are standing up for injustices that have previously gone unacknowledged, but also/still receiving pushback. Women are looking for the same autonomy, power, and resources afforded to men; the right to feel safe and secure. While women have been restricted and vilified as witches, (wealthy, white) men continue to exhibit poor behavior and decision making skills without consequence. For centuries, women have been silenced, burned at the stake (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially). It’s never been okay and now that people are voicing that opinion it’s even more important that we keep standing up and saying it. Because these voices are having an impact, the opposing side is becoming more frantic and eager to silence them. While this message seems to be gaining ground socially, it seems to be stagnating politically. For the first time in my life, I am actively encouraging political participation. Vote, take a stand; things are never going to change when we have politicians who want them to stay the same. Find the power within yourself to be a witch; someone who cannot be controlled and expects respect and equality.

Consider what kind of world you want to live in: one where Dorothy needs to be rescued by a Scarecrow and the hero is a boy who summoned a trio of evil witches (NEVER light the Black Flame Candle), or one where Captain Marvel is supposedly going to be the most powerful character in the MCU and Wonder Woman and Patty Jenkins’s success is leading to the DCEU actively recruiting female directors for female-lead superhero films? (A historically male-oriented genre wants to explore powerful women without asking them to wear a sexy outfit.) This October, almost 55 years after its pilot aired, we’re even getting a female Doctor on Doctor Who! (Seriously, I could go on…)

 

So this year, rather than be a sexy witch for Halloween, be a powerful one all the time.

Animated Matrimony

My mother is getting married today! In honor and respect of this, I have written a post about weddings in some popular cartoons.

Weddings are great! They are happy, festive events that bring people together. The same is true for TV shows. In TV, weddings are useful plot devices that bring together a lot of characters to interact in a way they don’t usually (if at all). This can create interesting and unique situations, as well as drama. While weddings are happy events, they can also be high stress. We’ve all heard horror stories about bridezillas or crazy family members. The same can be true in TV (probably more so).

When thinking about this post and brainstorming cartoon weddings, a few came to mind right away. The first, Ruby & Sapphire of Steven Universe, who married over the summer. There’s also Tree Trunks and Mr. Pig from Adventure Time, who married in 2014. Finally, there have been two weddings in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Princess Cadence & Shining Armor in 2012 and Matilda & Cranky Doodle Donkey in a 100th episode special in 2015.

(Note: I’m looking at episodes where the wedding is a main focus of the plot.)

All four weddings approach the big day differently and use the event in different ways.

 

Adventure Time 5×44 “Apple Wedding”
(Aired: Jan. 13, 2014)

In this episode, secondary character Tree Trunks (an elderly mini green elephant) and Mr. Pig (a pig who typically walks on his two back legs) get married. In typical Adventure Time fashion, this wedding is used for random comedic effect and is the least stable of all the relationships discussed in this post. It satirically demonstrates how weddings can become incredibly selfish events. At this wedding, everyone has a selfish agenda that has little to do with the wedding itself. In the end, it becomes clear that weddings are about two people coming together to celebrate their love for each other. That supersedes anything else and has the ability to bring everyone together in the end.

 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic 2×25-26 “A Canterlot Wedding”
(Aired: Apr. 21, 2012)

This episode served as a two part season finale for season 2. The previous season had ended with a single episode in which the characters go to a party that had been referenced throughout the season. They go to the party and shenanigans ensue but they learn a valuable lesson. This episode is significantly more dramatic and has an impact on future episodes.

We are introduced to new characters including, Princess Cadence (one of the initial three rulers of their homeland, Equestria), Shining Armor (Captain of the Guard at the castle and brother to protagonist, Twilight Sparkle), as well as a new villain who reappears more than once throughout the series.

Here, the wedding ups the drama because it means that multiple characters are about to become family. It also brings together a huge portion of the cast, allowing for higher tensions as well as more characters involved in what occurs.

 

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic 5×9 “Slice of Life”
(Aired: Jun. 13, 2015)

I LOVE this episode! It is truly one of my favorites. It is MLP:FiM’s 100th episode and focuses on background or secondary characters. Two characters, Cranky Doodle Donkey and Matilda, were brought together after a long separation in a previous episode of a prior season. There is very little impact moving forward, and the main protagonists (known as the “Mane Six” by fans) only appear peripherally.

This episode is a lot of fun because it looks at characters that have previously only appeared in the background, some of whom never had speaking parts. It is really an episode dedicated to the rabid fanbase, however. For example, one background character somehow developed a huge backstory as a spy thanks to fanworks. This is made canon in this episode.

Here, a wedding is used to demonstrate how the actions of one character can carry over as well as bring together characters that are not typically seen together. The wedding plot point is used to highlight how these events bring people together and looks at the comedic mishaps can occur, but how ultimately weddings are happy events.

 

Steven Universe 5×23-24 “Reunited”
(Aired: Jul. 6, 2018)

This special event concluded a number of plot lines.

 

*SPOILER WARNING* Scroll to skip

 

 

 

In this 22 minute episode, Ruby and Sapphire get married and reform Garnet after a longterm separation. Following the wedding, Blue Diamond and Yellow Diamond arrive to awaken the Cluster, a geo-weapon that Steven helped to bubble during season 3. This episode also brings together not only the residents of Beach City, but a number of gems, including Bismuth (who returned in the previous episode) and marks the return of Lapis Lazuli. During the attack, Steven reveals some important truths to the Diamonds while Beach City enacts its emergency plan, something discussed at length in previous episodes. “Reunited” demonstrates how weddings can bring people together and be happy events, as well as the more dramatic aspects. Because weddings are a way to bring so many people together, they are also useful for tying up plot threads. Another episode aired after this to follow up and help set up the next season, which was officially renewed last weekend for 32 episodes. Of all the weddings listed in this post, this one has perhaps the greatest significance and impact.

 

 

 

*END SPOILERS*

Weddings are Special Events. They carry huge emotional weight and bring people together. They bring out the best and worst in people, have the potential to be the perfect start to a ‘happily ever after’ or be complete disasters. This is why they are so useful as major plot points. You wouldn’t think weddings would be taken so seriously in children’s programming, but they are treated as the emotionally charged, life-changing events that they are in real life. The couples above are all very different, and they each go through there own unique challenges. However, at the end of the day, each couple finds strength in their relationship and each other setting an example we can all hope to follow.

The “Miraculous” Mistake

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is a French cartoon, created by Zagtoon and Method Animation in conjunction with Toei Animation (Sailor MoonOne Piece) and South Korean studio SAMG Animation. Although it premiered in South Korea, its primary distributor is the French television network, TF1. Its original airdate is listed as September 2015 and in the United States it first aired on Nickelodeon before moving to Netflix beginning with the 2016 Christmas Special.

(Believe it or not, all that background information is important to this post.)

Okay, so what is it about? *SOFT SPOILERS AHEAD*

Well, it is about the teenage superhero Ladybug and her partner, Cat Noir (Chat Noir (“Black Cat”) in France) as they combat the evil machinations of Hawkmoth (Papillion (“Butterfly”) in France). Hawkmoth is looking to get Ladybug and Cat Noir’s Miraculouses, the items that make them superheroes. The Ladybug and Cat Noir Miraculouses are considered the most powerful and acquiring them will enable Hawkmoth to get his greatest wish. Hawkmoth has his own Miraculous, one that gives him the power to take control of people’s anger and turn them into supervillains. He uses them to try and take the other Miraculouses.

The show has global distribution and, most recently, won a Teen Choice Award this past summer. Last year, there were plans for 5-6 seasons and a live action movie with Lionsgate. So, what’s the problem? Well, as I mentioned, the show originally aired 2015-16, with a Christmas Special in 2016. The fanbase, although somewhat obscure, is huge and passionate and was deeply looking forward to season two… which didn’t premier in France until the end of October 2017.

It didn’t come to the US until the end of March 2018.

Okay, so shows have hiatuses, what’s the problem? Well, here we are almost a year later and France’s sporadic airdates have resulted in only 16 episodes airing in France, 13 in the US (the remaining 12 are expected to drop on Netflix this December), of an expected 25 episodes. Now, Miraculous isn’t the first show to be so sporadic. In the US, fans of Adventure Time (2010-2018), Star vs. The Forces of Evil (2015-), and especially Steven Universe (2013-) have long been frustrated by long hiatuses. However, these shows aired more episodes more close together before their hiatuses, though they too fall out of interest over time.

Adventure Time was a huge success for Cartoon Network, but I hardly hear about it anymore, even though the SERIES FINALE literally just aired this week. Star vs. The Forces of Evil was another popular show, but over a year hiatus between seasons led that to fall out of high interest. Steven Universe has aired sporadically enough that the rabid fanbase has stayed consistent. Miraculous, with its grand plans of a global franchise, does not have this luxury.

Miraculous relies on when it airs in France. Episodes here and there will premier earlier in other countries, but in the US, the episodes will not be released until a certain number have aired in France. Now, this would not be a problem were it not for the grand plans Zagtoon has for its property. Despite its Teen Choice Award win, it has yet to gain a strong foothold in the US. While the United States is not the be all and end all, it is a huge producer and exporter of entertainment properties.

Additionally, for many of these shows, while they are meant for children, the most excited and excitable fans are adults. However, it’s merchandise that sells. Cartoon Network does it best, flooding stores with toys, apparel, school supplies, etc to get children not only buying but keeping the show in the public interest. Essentially, in absence of content, the goal is to keep visibility across the market.

Although I cannot imagine a scenario in which Miraculous and Zagtoon are not reliant on TF1, the unpredictable hiatuses in conjunction with a season of controversy has frustrated and alienated fans. The first season, which has less continuity was a huge success for everyone, but did not rely on a constant schedule, though it did have that. After years of waiting, fans are impatient and frustrated and the release schedule is only exacerbating the problem.

This “Miraculous” Mistake is costing the show.

I’m not at all familiar with the French Entertainment Industry, but it seems like a great disservice is being done to what was an ambitious and creative project to begin with. I’m not sure what, if anything, can be done to rectify it beyond TF1 just airing the episodes (which are ready to be released in multiple languages). My concern is that the show will be canceled before it can accomplish all it looks to. I’ve had my own frustrations with the content, but have tried to remain optimistic that, given enough time and episodes, the show will return to and surpass the quality of the first season. Perhaps in another post I can better address my opinions on the show itself, but for now, it’s difficult to move past the frustrations.

I’d like to close this post by giving you a taste of the show. The Pilot Video, which demonstrates a greater amount of influence from Toei Animation, and a Trailer for what has actually aired/been released. (Believe it or not, the 45 second Netflix trailer is a better representation than the original 2 minute one.)