Confession #8: I'd Love to See More Classic Baddies (and Think We Will)


Part of the bread and butter of Doctor Who is introducing new creatures to be antagonists for the Doctor.  Writers experiment with it, thrive on it, even cash in on it (~cough~TerryNation~cough~).  Despite our perceptions, though - thanks mostly to institutions such as the Daleks and the Cybermen - most of them show up no more than twice.  So it's not surprising that we end up with such one-offs as the Sycorax, clockwork robots, the Carrionites, the Vashta Nerada, and the Krafayis (some of which fully deserve to remain relegated to the annals of history).  We've also, however, had recurrences of the (rather regrettable) Slitheen, the Ood, and the Weeping Angels as well as the return of the Autons, the Sontarans, and (WTF?) the Silurians.

But what I really want to see is more links back to some the more interesting - and not yet overused - pre-RTD-era baddies.  Here I'm thinking of entities such as the Toymaker, the Black Guardian, the Valeyard, or Omega.  In fact, all of these crossed my mind at one point or another as a possibility for the culprit behind the as-yet-unexplained Silence and reason for the TARDIS's explosion in Series Fnarg.  And while Toby Jones' brilliantly creepy Dream Lord could well have been interpreted as another aspect of the Valeyard, I don't honestly think either the Valeyard or the Toymaker are good fits for the Big Bad of Series Six.  My money (and a huge pent-up fangirl squee, if this wishful thinking pans out) is on Omega.

It's recently been brought to my attention that I'm behind the curve on this idea.  So I'm certainly not an original thinker on this front, but I submit that I am at least an independent thinker (like Newton and Leibniz, or Hertzsprung and Russell).  Suffice it to say, I had the idea myself - it sprang from the murky depths of my own fandom, not from cruising others' forum posts.


Confession #7: I've Learned to Like Six


As I was first learning about the pre-RTD Doctors, I heard a lot of love for Three, Four and Five, and a lot of hate for Six and Seven.  Although I've never understood why Seven was so reviled (perhaps because my first experience with him was Remembrance of the Daleks, which included Ace, who was to become one of my all-time favorite Companions), I must admit that I took an instant dislike to Six, as I'd come to expect I would.

I suppose it was partly a self-fulfilling prophecy, but when you consider my first exposure to Six (not counting the regeneration scene) was in Vengeance on Varos - in which he is exceptionally snotty to Peri (who, granted, kind of deserves it, but not that much...) - perhaps it's not surprising I didn't take to him right away. All I got from him was egomania and disregard for his Companion - not a Doctorly attitude at all. It wasn't till much later that I discerned any sort of affection for Peri underlying the banter.

Since those first few months, though, I've come to appreciate him as a great character in his own right. Mostly, this is due to the brilliance of Rich Morris, artist and web comic writer extraordinaire, who penned the epic fan comic The Ten Doctors (also available in PDF format here). It was through Rich's work that I was finally able to see the beautiful potential of Six, who really had been done a disservice by his writers, in my opinion. (Not to mention the costume designer - what is up with that nasty outfit? Why couldn't they have gone monochrome?) The Six of TTD was extremely clever, yet never out of acerbic character from the televised episodes.  He was somehow simultaneously grumpy and charming. I had a lot of respect for that version of Six, and was able to superimpose the positive qualities exhibited there onto the on-screen Doctor afterward.  (In fact, I learned a lot about Doctor Who as a whole from both TTD and the associated forums, which are populated by some really knowledgeable folks in what is probably the friendliest community on Teh Intarwebs.)


Confession #6: The Fourth Doctor Kind of Bugs Me


If Confession #3 irked a few Neo-Whovians (and yes, I did catch some flak from the Ladies), then this one is sure to incur the wrath of some Old Skool Whovians.  Tom Baker, aka Four (you know the one - "all teeth and curls," perpetually wrapped in a ridiculously long scarf), is one of the best-loved Doctors of all time.  In fact, before David Tennant's stint, he was the most popular Doctor ever.  However, though I do generally enjoy him, a lot of times Four just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

First, there's the way he seems to work so hard on being weird.  Sure, the googly eyes give him a head start, but that's the least of it.  There are so many instances where he'll just repeat! someone else's line enough to startle ("of course!"), and then come down from that vocal high still as confused as ever ("nope - still don't know what you're talking about") that it ceases to either surprise or amuse (a trait Tennant borrowed for Ten, though I don't believe he wielded it as often).  I think it would bug me less if it weren't such an ongoing gag.  It's something that feels like it started as one of Baker's many attempts to make the cast and crew lose their composure and start laughing on set - except that once it worked, he kept inserting it as one of Four's quirks, and it lost its effect (file under: funny once).

What really irritates me, though, is how rude he is to everyone.  He frequently cuts off his Companions mid-sentence, usually when they're trying to tell him something important that he needs to know.  It doesn't matter who it is - Sarah Jane, K-9, even Romana (who's supposed to be as clever as the Doctor) - all suffer the same indignity and implication of insignificance.  Again, every once in a while it can be amusing, but it seems to happen nearly every story.  His self-centeredness in this sense feels very anti-Doctor to me, and makes me wonder:  where's the Doctor who loves and values his Companions?  Oh, I know he does, but as the saying goes, he has a funny way of showing it...


Confession #5: I Have My Own Theories About River Song


This is more an "admission" than a confession, but hey - it's my blog.

Especially with Series Six coming up in a matter of weeks, and a promise that "everything changes," ideas about who River Song "really is" are as abundant as fans who watch Nu-Who (if not more so).  I figured now was as good a time as any to put forth my own.

Perhaps I should start with a brief list of the most common hypotheses that I don't buy.  For example:

  • She's the Doctor's wife.  Yeah, right.  They may act "like an old married couple" and there have been hints dropped left and right that they are, but I just can't credit it.  Undoubtedly, there's a romantic (or even just sexual) component to the relationship, but if River is the Doctor's wife, then that is only a fraction of the whole story.  Otherwise, the rest makes no sense.
  • She's a future incarnation of the Doctor.  This idea clearly comes out of certain fans' long-standing desire to see a female Doctor, but River Song is no Valeyard.  While she clearly knows how to handle herself in the TARDIS and such, she's much too comfortable with violence in general, and guns in particular, for me ever to believe she's the Doctor.
  • She's another Time Lord.  I'm more willing to believe this one than some of the others, but it still doesn't ring true to me.  If she's traipsing around the 51st century, why is the Doctor convinced all through the rest of Nu-Who that he (or, for a time, the Master) is the last of the Time Lords?  Supposedly he can sense other Time Lords, regardless of where (or, presumably, when) they are.  None of that fits with what we know of River.
  • She's the Doctor's mother/daughter.  Are these people on drugs?  There is nothing either maternal or filial in River's attitude toward the Doctor.  If there were, then other comments would be distinctly incestuous in nature, which is far too creepy for someone like Moffat to include in a show that is - at least in Britain - specifically aimed at a family audience.  I'd sooner believe the Woman in White from The End of Time had either familial relationship with the Doctor (most certainly not my interpretation) than that River does.

Confession #4: I Hate the "Standard" Regenerations

This site (specifically, this post) contains profanity.  If you can't handle that, turn back now.

When Nine regenerated into Ten, Rose looked on in consternation as all the energy of the Time Vortex streamed back out of him as a bright, shining light pouring from his arms and head.  It was dramatic, it was beautifully done, and it was appropriate.  So what the hell was going on when the same effect turned the Jacobi-Master into the Simms-Master?  He'd just been shot, for shit's sake - why would he get all glowy?

Former Head Writer/Executive Producer Russell T. Davies (commonly known as RTD) would have us believe that there needed to be a sense of continuity about the regeneration process, or new viewers wouldn't understand that it was the way all Timelords change their bodies whenever they near death.  Give me a fucking break.  Are we really so stupid we can't figure out that a body change is still a body change?  How does it make sense to have all regenerations the same, no matter the cause?  If a Timelord dies of a paper cut, should his regeneration cause him to stand up from where he's collapsed and shoot golden light out of every orifice?  Hardly.  That's clearly something else coming out of one of RTD's orifices, if you ask me.



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