After the announcement that Chris Chibnall will be leaving the role of showrunner on Doctor Who, lots of replacement names have been shown into the hat — and one, J. Michael Straczynski, would apparently jump at the chance to be in charge of the franchise!
When someone mentioned the writer on Twitter, Straczynski replied:
“I don’t know if the BBC would ever consider an American to show-run #DoctorWho, but if so, I would be there in a heartbeat. (Well, technically two heartbeats, since two hearts….)”
Anyone fancy starting a petition?
You might know JMS best for creating the sci-fi heavy-hitters, Babylon 5 and, with Lana and Lilly Wachowski, Sense8 (the latter of which starred former Martha Jones actress, Freema Agyeman).
His career extends far beyond those two series, however — in fact, he’s one of my favourite writers. I first came into contact with his work through The Amazing Spider-Man; regular DWC readers will know I’m a huge Marvel fan, and his run on Spidey, chiefly alongside artists John Romita Jr. and Mike Deodato Jr., is my go-to Spider-Man. It’s what I reread when I need cheering up or want to feel inspired… or just want to enjoy an exceptional story.
His Marvel work also includes great runs on Thor, Supreme Power, and Fantastic Four, while his other comic book work includes Superman: Earth One, Wonder Woman, and Midnight Nation.
I’m currently reading his latest novel, Together We Will Go, about a road trip across America with a final destination: everyone on the bus is going to commit suicide, and this is just one last hurrah. It sounds morbid, but it’s a truly affecting, beautifully-written, and compelling piece of fiction.
So yes, I’d love for Straczynski to take over Doctor Who.
Sadly, it’s pretty unlikely: not only is JMS a hugely popular writer who no doubt has many plates spinning for the foreseeable future, but Joe Hill previously spoke about getting a rejection from the BBC which noted:
“We have never let an American write Doctor Who, and if we were going to, we wouldn’t start with you.”
An incredibly short-sighted reaction from the Beeb there!
Interestingly, JMS is also executor of the estate of Harlan Ellison, the legendary writer who wrote a foreword for Pinnacle Books’ Doctor Who Target novelisations sold in America, which claimed “the greatest science fiction series of all time is Doctor Who“.
Couldn’t agree more.
Who would you like to see as the new showrunner of Doctor Who? Should the BBC look beyond these shores, to America or elsewhere? Or would someone with a history writing for the series like Toby Whithouse, Mark Gatiss, or Maxine Alderton be a better bet?