Confessions

Confession #85: I Need a Dimensionally Transcendental House

May
27

Having just spent the last week packing up a ridiculous amount of accumulated crap, signing bunches of paperwork, and then unpacking some but good-god-nowhere-near-all-of-it-why-oh-why-do-we-still-have-all-this stuff, I'm starting to see a real advantage to spending one's centuries in a TARDIS.

As we've moved house, we've stumbled across a whole lot of keepsakes that we've held on to for a vast stretch of years. They're the kinds of things that when originally packed had too much meaning to let go, but have remained in boxes for so long that meaning may or may not have since faded. Sorting will take a redonkulous amount of time and effort.

I suspect the TARDIS is littered with such shelves and boxes, a collection that the Doctor has never bothered to curate. Hints at that tendency abound. For example, at least a couple separate times we've seen a wardrobe area littered with clothing from bygone Regenerations (and I doubt the Doctor even knows what all is lurking in the rooms filled with clothing his Companions have—or could have—used). And when Clara was lost in the depths during Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS, we saw an array of memorabilia (such as the pinwheel that was in young Amelia Pond's yard in The Eleventh Hour) suggestive of packrat tendencies I know all too well.

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Confession #84: I Like Unusual Colors

May
13

What if monsters came in a range of rainbow colors?

There's an old saw in Doctor Who circles, apparently going back to the thirtieth anniversary documentary "More Than 30 Years in the TARDIS" (and perhaps the originally broadcast version, which lacked the "More Than"), when long-time script editor Terrance Dicks famously pointed out a de facto trend in design on the show: "The colour for monsters is green."

It sounds a little odd, stated baldly that way, but upon reflection it's clearly true. There are the Silurians and Sea Devils, Alpha Centauri, the Draconians, the Krynoids, the Rutans, the Jagaroth... The list goes on and on. And if any of the aforementioned can be argued to be anything other than green, it's a muddy brown instead.

Occasionally we'll see something further into the red part of the spectrum—the Zygons, for example—but other hues are distinctly lacking. Where are the bright yellow critters, or the blue ones? I guess we've had the golden Axonites in The Claws of Axos and the occasional blue-faced humanoid (e.g., Dorium Maldovar), but in the grand scheme of things, the pre-Hiatus palette in particular definitely trends to green.

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Confession #83: I Kinda Like Torchwood

May
06

Everything's coming up Torchwood lately.

First there were a plethora of Torchwood guests at Gally. (By the way, I offer my condolences to all of you who suffered the same abject terror as I on Monday when their registration vendor choked mightily under the onslaught of desperate nerds trying to get 2016 tickets. I hope you are all able to get the tickets you intended.) Then I decided to start re-watching the show (well, the first three series anyway—"Miracle Day" is total retcon-bait in my book). And just this week, Big Finish has announced the return of Torchwood with all new stories on audio.

Torchwood is an odd beast. It took a while to find its stride, trying a bit too hard in those early episodes to establish itself as a post-watershed show distinct from its parent, with as much sex (both different- and same-gender) thrown in as it could manage. Eventually, though, it explored some interesting themes about memory, loyalty, and all kinds of love (romantic, familial, and friendly).

Of course, it's still probably most famous for the sex. How can it help but be so, when its star—both the actor and the character he plays—is so synonymous with playful sexuality? John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness is the heart and soul of the Torchwood team. The rest of the crew might (and does) change at the drop of a hat, but there's no Torchwood with out Jack.

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Confession #82: I Still Like Murray Gold

Apr
22

Every now and again, I indulge myself and sit down to watch some Ninth Doctor story or another, letting the nostalgia wash over me. From the moment I hear that sting slide into the first, triumphant downbeat, something in my heart lifts in a way no other version of the theme song can evoke. Over the past ten years, composer Murray Gold has produced a half dozen or more versions of the title theme, incidental music for every episode, and musical cues for a multitude of characters, and I'm still not sick of him.

Not to say there aren't moments I wouldn't mind a change, especially when the sound mixers decide to allow Gold's work to stomp all over the dialog, but generally speaking I quite like the way he scores the show. Aside from that first version of the title theme (still my favorite), I especially love the way just a bar or two of a particular melody—sometimes less—instantly reminds me of a specific character.

Each Doctor has had his own theme, though the ethereal oo-ooh'ing one created for Eccleston's Ninth Doctor was shared with Tennant's Tenth before its tone was modified. And though not every Doctor's theme has been immediately obvious to the audience as such, it doesn't take long for even a snippet of a particular melody to become inextricably linked with its Doctor. How many fans, for example, can listen to "I Am the Doctor" without immediately envisioning Smith's Eleven?

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Confession #81: I Want Certain Retcons

Apr
15

Continuity is a tricky thing in Doctor Who. Due to the nature of the beast, with a plethora of writers contributing to the "canon" (a loaded, debatable term), contradictions abound. For large things, like humanity becoming aware of non-Terrestrial life, a showrunner will usually find a way to smooth over the issue with a clever (or not-so-clever) retcon. A few such instances were highlighted recently in an article at the Houston Press.

However, sometimes rather egregious inconsistencies remain unaddressed. Other times, writers throw in ideas that some fans simply find distasteful (while others, of course, couldn't care less). There is at least one of the former category—and several of the latter—that still irritate me. Here are some of the blips in the Doctor's adventures I'd like to see sorted.

I'll start with the actual discontinuity, which involves the Blinovich Limitation Effect (BLE). First mentioned in Day of the Daleks, and later in Invasion of the Dinosaurs, the BLE began as a vague hand wave to explain (without explaining) why our heroes couldn't simply go back and try again and again if they failed their mission the first time. Later, in Mawdryn Undead, we learned that an extension (or corollary, perhaps) of the Effect meant that if two versions of the same individual from different points on their personal timeline were to touch, there could be catastrophic effects.

Unfortunately, post-Hiatus Who has, more often than not, ignored the perils of the BLE—unless it happened to suit a particular storyline. There are, off the top of my head, three examples of characters crossing their own timelines and touching other versions of themselves. The first, where Rose holds her infant self in Father's Day, does actually lead to severe consequences in the form of Reapers. It's not the same result of that corollary that we saw in Mawdryn Undead, but at least we see how the paradoxical crossing of her own timestream affects Rose and her surroundings.

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