Confession #114: I've Come Full Circle on Rose

Sep
13

Several months ago, I got my daughters to agree to watch an episode of Doctor Who with me—just one. I told them if they didn't like it, they didn't have to watch any more. It turned out, though, that they did quite like it, and we ended up watching another right away.

Since then, we've watched a number of stories together, from Series Ten to The Monster of Peladon to Dalek. With the summer holidays winding down and a new school year starting, we've come to something of a viewing standstill (though I'll admit to not being overly anxious to push forward, as the next two episodes in the queue are Love & Monsters and Fear Her...), but now that we are ~85% through Rose's time as a (regular) Companion, I have to say it's made me think about her differently—again.

When I first started watching, Rose was my everything. I fell in love with the show and the Doctor through her, totally reading their relationship—starting with Nine—as romantic. I even had my own headcanon about exactly when each fell for the other, and when each ~realized~ they'd fallen for the other. I made notes (I'm that kinda nerd).

I spent a great deal of Series Four (which was airing as I caught up to it) waiting with bated breath for Rose's return. It couldn't come fast enough for me. Although Donna replaced her as my favorite modern Companion (until Series Ten), for several years I had nothing but fondness for Rose. Then I started interacting with The Fandom.

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The Confusion of a Time Line

Aug
23

Review of Terror of the Vervoids (#143c)
DVD Release Date: 10 Oct 08
Original Air Date: 01 - 22 Nov 1986
Doctor/Companion: Six, Melanie "Mel" Bush
Stars: Colin Baker, Bonnie Langford
Preceding Story: Mindwarp (Six, Peri)
Succeeding Story: The Ultimate Foe (Six, Mel)

Let me begin by acknowledging what a ridiculously suggestive (nigh pornographic) creature design this serial has. Wowzers. How that got past the censors/BBC high muckety-mucks/whoever screens this stuff, I'll never understand. And now that that's out of the way, we can talk about the rest of it.

While Terror of the Vervoids has never ranked high in my personal preference list of Doctor Who stories, it does have one particularly intriguing aspect that sets it apart from most other pre-Hiatus serials: it's wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey.

Sadly this aspect isn't pervasive; it only shows up when we cut back to the courtroom for the scenes that remind us the Doctor is on trial for his life. In order to find evidence to defend himself, though, the Doctor has had to dip into his own future, as recorded by the Matrix. Thus we get a bigger hiccup in his timeline than usual, which has an interesting and slightly maddening side effect: we never get a formal introduction to his next Companion.

We join the Doctor and Mel with their travels already in progress. There's a distinct sense of familiarity between them that comes of a prolonged association with each other. In one way, I'm delighted by the cheekiness of this writing decision. We have just learned (along with the Doctor, because (a) his memory's messed up and (b) he got pulled out of time before the events reputedly happened) that his previous Companion Peri has died due to his actions/inaction. Normally we'd expect an adventure where he meets a new friend and invites (in this case) her to travel with him.

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Confession #113: I Like In-Doctor-nating Newbs

Aug
09

When I started writing this blog several years ago, I still considered myself a new fan. The original concept of the blog was to talk about the show—particularly the Classic/pre-Hiatus era—from the perspective of someone who'd only "discovered" it ~2.5 years before. It was also less common at that time to see women blogging about Who, so it seemed like a nice little niche I could carve out for myself in fandom writing.

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have morphed into something more akin to Old Guard. I'll certainly never have the same kind of cred as fans who grew up with the show in the UK, or even those here in the US who had to scramble for access via many-times-copied VHS tapes. (Along those lines, I'm really looking forward to the release of Red White and Who: The Story of Doctor Who in America by Steven Warren Hill et al., due out in less than two weeks.) However, I've noticed that as the show evolves and gains new young viewers, I have more in common with those long-term fans than the new.

I think that commonality has much to do with the fact that I am of an age with the fans who grew up with the show. As such, I relate to television in much the same way. Having been raised on 70's and 80's television, I don't find those periods of Doctor Who as foreign or off-putting as many fans of younger generations do. Nor does 60's Who seem as far out of my norm.

These are things I have to keep in mind when I want to introduce new people to our show. Depending on the kind of television the individual in question is used to, I might have to make different selections or give a different set of preparatory comments.

The general openness of a subject to the entire experiment is also important. For example, there is a big difference between a thirty-something fan who's seen all of modern/post-Hiatus Who and is interested in exploring more of the older Doctors; a twenty-something who came in with Smith's Eleven and doesn't really connect to Capaldi's older, crankier Twelve—and is pretty dubious about that whole black-and-white nonsense; and a pre-teen who mostly only knows about the show because their parent(s) watch. That necessary customization is part of the fun for me.

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Reader Poll Roundup: Series Ten Edition

Jul
26

Every year when I examine the readers' reactions to the series's episodes, I have more data from previous years (S7, S8, S9) to compare and contrast, thus giving context to the current year's ratings. Because I eliminated the zero-star option in all of the Reader Polls this year, I won't be able to do an "apples to apples" analysis, but will do what I can with what I've got.

I'll begin, as usual, with the average (mean) ratings. For each episode, I multiplied any given star rating (e.g., 5 stars) by the number of votes it got, added the results, and divided that sum by the total number of votes. The relatively even-keeled results are below:

Confession #112: I'm Psyched for Thirteen

Jul
19

As I scrolled through my news digest from The Washington Post on Sunday around noon, I came across a headline saying that Roger Federer had won an unprecedented eighth time at Wimbledon. "What?" I screeched. "The men's final is over?"

I scrambled for a new browser tab so I could search for the announcement. If I'd been clever, I'd have gone right to the BBC's Doctor Who page so I could watch the announcement trailer myself, but I was in too much of a rush. And then—there it was, in picture after picture splashed across my Google results page: the Thirteenth Doctor will be played by a woman. Chibnall actually had the ovaries to break with tradition and cast a woman.

I'm not even sure what sort of noise I emitted; it was enough to make my 11-year-old daughters ask what was up. When I told them they'd announced who would play the next Doctor, they scrambled to look over my shoulder—and started screaming. They jumped up and down. They made their own set of incoherent excitement noises (driving their poor father from the room in a desperate act of self-preservation). I had almost managed to calm them enough to save my own ears when it dawned on them that she'd be number Thirteen—their favorite number(!)—and they went hypersonic again.

Needless to say, our household is on the pro-change side of the equation.

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