River Song is Melody Pond??? Whaaaaaat?

Through the course of watching episodes of Doctor Who, there have been many surprises that caught me totally off guard, such as Rory’s first “death”, Rose’s “Bad Wolf” powers, or Donna’s character development in “Turn Left”; however, nothing prepared me for the reveal that River Song was actually Amy and Rory’s daughter. I actually screamed at my television as the realization and the implications of this realization hit me. I was deeply impressed with the writing, although it was a little bit deus ex machina style of conflict resolution. Overall, it was one of the most surprising things that was revealed in the show in my opinion.

River Song was a character that I didn’t really like very much when the Doctor first meets her. She’s kind of a know it all, I know something you don’t know type of person, which was narratively off putting for me. As she began to appear more and more frequently, I began to like her a little bit more (but I still didn’t really like her). She represented a sort of narrative “screw you” to the audience, as she already knew everything that lay ahead of the Doctor. However, once “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon” came around, I began to suspect that this teasing was finally going to come to a head soon. When it was revealed that she was Amy and Rory’s daughter later on, it all finally made sense. Because of the paradoxical nature of River Song, she had to withhold all of this information. When I realized the implications, I was even more caught off guard. She was the girl in the space suit that killed the Doctor, she was stolen by a cult, the Doctor was Rory and Amy’s son in law!

Ultimately, this was one of my favorite reveals in a show famous for them. I was originally off put by the build up (it did feel like it took forever!) but it only made the payoff that much better. River Song is narratively one of the most interesting characters; it seems as if she is somehow woven into almost every major storyline, from David Tennant all the way to Peter Capaldi. I still don’t love her as a character, but what the writers have done with her character demonstrates a true display of how interesting narrative arcs should be done.

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Why Rory is the BEST Character in the Show

Over the course of exploring this show, Doctor Who’s audiences have been exposed to hundreds of unique and interesting characters that offer unique perspectives to the show. Among these characters, there are countless fan favorites, many of which Doctor Who fans will adamantly argue that theirs is the best character and any dissenting opinion is incorrect. At first, I held a certain disdain for this kind of fanaticism for a character. Then the Doctor met Rory. Ever since the beginning of Matt Smith’s run as the eleventh Doctor, Rory has been my favorite character on the show for a plethora of reasons, namely his loyalty, his realistic viewpoint when addressing the Doctor, and his devotion to Amy.

Rory is introduced in the very first episode of Matt Smith’s run, and I must admit that I wasn’t extremely impressed with him from his kind of craven attitude to juxtapose Amy’s bravery. However, as he developed in his travels with Amy and the Doctor, I saw Rory grow and improve. In the episode “Vampires in Venice”, Rory showed he could be heroic for the first time in their travels. He stepped up several times throughout the episode to do dangerous things selflessly, such as infiltrating the vampire lair with Amy and stepping between the younger vampire fella that was attacking Amy. I also appreciated Rory’s ability to understand and stand up to what the Doctor suggests, often having valid points against the Doctor throughout the episode. He doesn’t necessarily trust the Doctor 100% of the time, which behooves him in that the Doctor is often deceitful or misleading with what he tells his companions!

Finally, probably the best aspect of Rory’s character is his loyalty to Amy. I think literally any guy would ditch her after all the foolhardy and headstrong things that she did in the show, and whether from attachment or just plain stupid love, Rory sticks with Amy even when it actually gets him killed. I actually cried when Rory waited for Amy two thousand years as her protector while she was inside the Pandorica. Rory was loyal to her and his friends no matter the personal cost to him. Rory is my favorite character for this reason, he is selfless and does what’s best for not just him, but for him and those he loves even under great personal stress and pain.

PLUS THAT PONYTAIL, THOUGH!!! 🙂

Converse or Bowtie? The Pros and Cons of David Tennant vs. Matt Smith

As somebody entirely new to the show before this class, I didn’t really understand the fervent support or disdain of either Matt Smith or David Tennant as The Doctor in the show. I just saw this debate as two sides of the same coin; they’re both playing the Doctor, what’s the big deal? However, after watching the show, I am beginning to understand the debate.David Tennant was such a well loved actor in his portrayal of the Doctor, but Matt Smith is also no pushover. I am still on the fence about which I like better, but here are some of the pros and cons of David Tennant vs. Matt Smith.

My first argument in favor of David Tennant would have to be his character arc and portrayal of the writing given to him. The tenth Doctor would not have been an easy role at all; he is at times gritty, witty, and over the top just plain weird. Watching the growth and change of his character through multiple companions shows a lot of care and effort on Tennant’s part. From Rose all the way to Donna, we see a total change in how the Doctor acts. His acting ability is superb. Another point in favor of Tennant is all of the interesting arcs that we are taken on with him, to his love story with Rose all the way to the epic battle against the Daleks with all of his companions by his side. The tenth Doctor is just plain cool in the stories that are told through him. One negative of Tennant’s run that I would add is some of the companion development. He is often cold, angry, and dismissive of his companions when they first meet, which really turned me off of his character. Overall, David Tennant’s Doctor was truly amazing and was just what the show needed.

With a run like Tennant’s Matt Smith had a lot on his plate. I think the transition between Doctors was seamless and cool; Matt Smith was perfectly cast for the role he was to play. I understand how some may feel the transition was rocky, but some people are going to believe that no matter what with the attachment many fans had to David Tennant’s Doctor. Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor is just cool! He’s got an air about him that he is not to be trifled with, with dramatic monologues in nearly every episode. I’m also a huge fan of his style; again, it’s just cool. I can definitely see the merits of both actors in their roles as the Doctor, and I have to say that I really enjoy both of them, but for different reasons. I appreciate both Matt and David in portraying a character that I am coming to appreciate more and more.

Mickey is not at all a Mouse!

Out of all the characters that we have met so far in our viewing, I have found Mickey to be one of my favorites. He’s funny, relatable, and oftentimes heroic, but due to the occasional portrayal of him as a clingy boyfriend who has nothing better to do then wait and hope for Rose’s return, he’s seen as lame or lacking in depth. I would argue, citing a few episodes, that Mickey is one of the more interesting characters with more depth than characters on the show and fans of the show give him credit for.

The first episode I would cite is one of the first episodes in the new series, “Aliens of London / World War Three”. In this two part episode, the Doctor and Rose discover a sinister plot by the Slitheen to launch the world into nuclear war. They disguise themselves as officials in the British government, and one such alien disguises himself as a police officer. When he reveals his true form and attacks Jackie in her flat, Mickey is there to rush in and save her from a gruesome death at the alien’s claws. Later on, Mickey is given access to government software and uses it to effectively stop the Slitheen by launching a missile at their gathering place using a British submarine. Mickey proves that he’s not just the bumbling boyfriend in this episode.

Mickey further proves himself in later episodes, especially when he eventually joins the Doctor and Rose on the TARDIS. In the episode “School Reunion”, Mickey’s first adventure with the Doctor, he plays a major role in taking down the Krillitanes by driving his car through the front of the school to orchestrate the escape of the trapped school children. Mickey saves them and is basically an action hero in the process. I think this is almost a turning point for Mickey, where he learns what he really is capable of.

Mickey only further expands on what he believes himself capable of doing in the two part episode “Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel”. While he causes the problem initially by holding down a button for too long, he proves himself effective in solving the problem. We also see more character depth in Mickey than ever before with his visit to his parallel universe grandmother, who raised him and was very important to him. We find that she had recently passed away on the true earth, also. Even the Doctor and Rose agree that they often take Mickey for granted. At the end, he turns into a total action hero, much like his parallel universe counterpart, Ricky, when he pilots the blimp and saves Rose, the Doctor, and Pete from certain death in the burning building. Mickey is a hero in this episode and should be given credit for it.

Overall, Mickey seems to be, especially during the Ninth Doctor’s run, seen as a bumbling boyfriend who has nothing better to do than wait for Rose to come back. I would argue, however, that Mickey is an interesting character who brings a lot of depth to the show. We see ourselves in Mickey; he is fearful, but brave in spite of his fears. He is loyal and unwilling to give up on the people he loves. Mickey is certainly my favorite character right now, and I would hope that more people might feel the same.

Fanvids Project – Trevor, Allison, and Weston

The bad one we found was called “The worst fanvid ever”. Clocking in at 54 seconds and a staggering 32 views on YouTube, this one was a doozie. We watch the ninth Doctor and Rose in seemingly random scenes with a generic rock ballad playing in the background. Quality material!

 

The best one we found is called “Doctor Who ‘Ghostbusters'”. It is, in simple terms, a compilation of the occurrences of ghosts in the show, beginning with the Doctor delivering the classic line: “Who you gonna call?”! It’s an 11/10

Dungeons and Dragons and Doctor Who?

In watching the first few episodes of the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who, I have caught myself thinking to myself time and time again, ‘this would make a GREAT dungeons and dragons adventure!’ From the fantastical aliens and monsters that the Doctor and his companions battle and outwit in nearly every episode, I cannot help but see the storytelling parallels that exist in the Dungeons and Dragons world. So that really got me thinking: could the Doctor make his way onto Faerûn?

There are many specific instances from the show that shouted Dungeons and Dragons to me in my watching so far; these instances would make for really fun and exciting adventures (providing players had not seen the episodes and therefore know exactly how to defeat the enemies already!). The first such example is the very first episode of the reboot, “Rose”. The Autons are an exciting enemy that the Doctor and Rose face down and defeat the Nestene Consciousness, which controls the Autons. The Nestene Consciousness is essentially set up just like a beholder

 

, a common first boss for beginning Dungeons and Dragons Players. They both control a group of mindless enemies that the heroes fight through to defeat and shut down the ‘mastermind’. “Rose” also serves as a great introduction to the world of Doctor Who in that Rose is learning about the Doctor the same way the audience is. This would make a similar ‘session 1’ for new Dungeons and Dragons players effective in introducing the ideas of the Dungeon Master’s world. The prospects of introducing new players the way the BBC reintroduced Doctor Who would be highly effective.

Another episode(s) that would make a fun adventure is “The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances”. More hordes of mindless monsters chase the Doctor and Rose, but this time, the Doctor has to discover the reason the monsters exist in the first place, determine how to defeat them, and then actually defeat them. This follows a classic Dungeons and Dragons campaign style of having inexplicable things within the adventure than can only be solved through specific investigations. All the ingredients for a fun and exciting campaign are all right there. It would be very easy to adapt this episode for Dungeons and Dragons-ing purposes.

Doctor Who, I’ve found, is the perfect source material for fun and exciting adventures in a Dungeons and Dragons context. I find it fun to think about the stats of a Dalek or if the Doctor could have negotiated better with the Nestene Consciousness if he rolled a higher Persuasion check! The elements are all there, the only thing left to do is to apply a new lens to these fun and exciting adventures!