Diversity in Doctor Who: Final Reflection

Diversity in Doctor Who has been an interesting experience for me. When signing up for this section of IS 201, I was not certain what to expect. Before coming to class, I had never read or seen series of Doctor Who. Although I have not enjoyed watching the episodes, I have been able to relate different experiences in the show to reality in our society. Talking about different shows in relation to Doctor Who has allowed me to understand different portions of the show.

Some of the episodes related to topics that interested me which made them more interesting to prepare for. For example, The Shakespeare Code was an extremely interesting episode because I love storytelling and literature. Their ability to use historical events and works and turn it into a different theme is engaging. Episodes involving the angels relate to my interest with the Salem Witch Trials. The presentation regarding the historical events and how the witches and angels in Doctor Who relate to some of the history made the show more engaging.

I enjoyed writing the fan fiction piece more than I had initially thought. Although it was over a topic regarding Doctor Who, I loved having a creative writing element and outlet. After deciding to write from the viewpoint of the average citizen, I was able to relate to my own character in my form of writing. For example, coming into class I was knowledgeable about all things Doctor Who and still have various questions about episodes and details. Just like my character, I knew little about the Doctor, but was interested in his abilities.

Diversity in Doctor Who has allowed me to think about diversity in terms of generation, tradition, and interests that are not as common. It has opened up a different element of thinking and brainstorming that has helped me grow in knowledge of culture. I have learned multiple different tactics to identify aspects of culture and diversity in different environments and countries.  For example, my final project has allowed me to research diversity in different countries and their mannerisms regarding social strategies. Doctor Who has been a medium for me in my research regarding tradition, generation, and expression.

Although I have not enjoyed the show, I have appreciated the amount of diversity I have been exposed to regarding different interests and personality types. I have been able to relate information from this class to my other major formed classes regarding learning styles, diversity, and the ability to understand interests.

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Confession Dial or Hell

The Doctor and his confessional dial is a very odd pairing at first, we are told that this strange golden circle is supposedly the Doctors last will and testament that he hands out when he thinks he is about to die. This becomes the fix of everyone’s attention when they (his companions) aren’t running around trying to fix the world. The question becomes when is he going to die. This leaves a sunken feeling in mine if not everyone who is a fan of the show’s stomach responding with “what the Doctor can’t die”.

Later in the series in the last couple of episodes the Doctor is teleported to a castle that is surrounded by water and he can’t get off. We soon learn that this place is like a fear prison for the Doctor. All his worst fears had culminated into a shrouded monster that can kill him and chases him around the castle. Eventually the monster caught up to the Doctor while he tries to break through a piece of material that would take thousands or millions or even billions of years to get through. The monster proceeds to kill the Doctor but before he dies he was able to bring himself back alive to redo everything again.

For the Doctor this new reality that he had to endure for so long may in fact be his own definition of hell. After being tortured for so long he was able to break through the material keeping him from his TARDIS. Once he is finally free of the confessional he finds himself on Gallifrey were he learns that the time lords have been put at the end of time to protect themselves. Not only are they at the end of time they are the ones who trapped the Doctor in the confessional trying to get him to reveal what he knows about the hybrid. The more confusing thing about this series is the fact that he seemed to know that they were behind him getting trapped and that he wanted them to so that he could get to Gallifrey so to save Clara.

The most confusing thing about the Doctor and his confessional is if the Doctor knew what it was and what it was for why did he let himself get trapped in it when he could have used his TARDIS to travel to Gallifrey on his own. This series of episodes show me that the Doctor is a master manipulator who knows how to always get what he wants in the end no matter the lengths he has to go to complete his task.

Brief Review of Doctor Who

I figure I should give my thought on the show itself, my brief 400 word review of the show. As most of the show has focused on NuWho, I will limit my review to this section of the show as well, it would be unfair of me to judge a show based on the section that I have not really seen.

The concept of Doctor Who interests me a lot, there are infinite combinations that can be done with the idea that you can go anywhere and any when leaves the possibilities limitless. When you throw in a character that can’t die of old age, but can change the way that they look pretty much allows you to do any idea that you could come up with. I love this and hate this, you can see any concept, enemies that you could only dream of, yet the complexity of the enemies seems almost simple. That is for later in the review however.

The main character is very interesting and fresh. It would be hard not to be when the actor representing the Doctor is constantly changing. Each actor has their own representation, each one is unique and fits extraordinarily well regeneration changing the Doctor ever so slightly every time.  The companions start off a little slow but once I got to Amy and Rory, I felt that the show really hit the stride. I actually cared about these characters more than brief periods of time.

The enemies are sort of a different story unfortunately. These enemies tend to either be one off enemies or clones of each other that can be killed en masse. Daleks want to exterminate, Cyber men are just looking for the next upgrade, Angels teleport you when they touch you. Then there is the Master. I love this villain, he does plots that I feel actually matter. I honestly wonder how the characters are going to beat him most of the time when he comes through with his now her plots.

Overall, I would watch this show again, if there was a good way of watching it that didn’t involve me going out of my way to see it. BBC has made it all but impossible to see this show by removing it from Netflix and not having it on Hulu. If you can keep up with this show, I would suggest it. I need to catch up myself and hope to do so soon.

Diversity and the Doctor Reflection

As IS 201 Diversity and the Doctor comes to a close, I have found myself reflecting on the experience… At the start of class, I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into but I had heard of Doctor Who from various members of my family but never actually watched it. Joining the class there was the uncertainty of what the exact requirements and what I will learn in this class, but it fit my schedule so here I am. I would not describe my interest level increased while watching Doctor Who but my understanding of the fan culture in many television shows expanded. For me, I am a big fan of the Marvel Universe but never looked for a fandom and other created fan works. I always just followed the movies in order and re-watch them until others are released. Starting with the class I was like where did she get all these books. I was amazed at the sheer amount of material that could be found on diversity within Doctor Who. After watching the television show I was more amazed at the sheer analysis of the diversity within Doctor Who due to the nature of the show. The class because of this expanded my look among diversity from just sex, race, and other typical terms that come to mind during a regular discussion of diversity. The show gave a different futuristic look at diversity among aliens and other creatures that can represent real day problems in a futuristic setting. Although Doctor Who is not my cup of tea, I can see the ideas and the infatuation with the series by others. The show is well represented and well made without an average die off period of other televisions show have. The way the doctor has been set up from the beginning into the reboot, it has been well planned and executed to keep the fresh cast and fresh ideas to maintain an interesting storyline. The discussion in class from the doc who lovers and the uninterested created an appreciation but not a love for the series. All in all, the class has been an interesting take on diversity and expanded m knowledge of the doctor. The series has been a cultural experience in both fandoms and British culture that I have not been submerged to in this capacity in my life and all have been a good experience to have to look at things in my life with an open mind.

Human Relations-May Term Edition

My May Term class last year involved me traveling to New York City. This was a fantastic experience that widened my view considerably. Being born in a small town and never moving resulted n me having a very narrow perspective. That is why I was so excited for the “big city”. All of the differences were astounding, all the different people, the different environment, and different lifestyles were amazing. There were plenty of things to enjoy and the locals were very helpful with finding fun things to do.

One of the biggest changes to me was the city itself. I enjoyed plenty of it. There was a candy story that was filled from floor to ceiling, back to front with different kinds of candy, upon talking to the employees, we learned that this was the owners dream, to own a candy store. There was a bookstore that my roommate and I visited that was packed from floor to ceiling with classic books like “Moby Dick”, “Sherlock Holmes” and more, I hate to say that in New York my favorite part was the book store but that was the case. Other changes in the city was the plant growth, there were no trees, grass or anything in the center of the city, only Central Park.

Now, the whole point of the trip was for me and my class to teach in a classroom for a week. This was an amazing experience that really educated me. When I was first introduced to the class I was teaching on the first day, I was nervous because of how different I was from them. After about 5 minutes, my fears had disappeared. It is so easy to not notice traits like race while teaching. Kids are kids, and this is apparent from the drawings that we were given, the wide eyed looks when we told them about where we lived were fantastic.

When we got into each classroom, a different classroom each day, we would start by introducing ourselves to the class and seeing if they knew anything about Iowa. The common response was “no.” This didn’t’ surprise us but there were a lot of questions like “Do you have Wi-Fi?” or “Are all your roads dirt?” These questions were fantastic and interesting to hear what the students thought we had. It was a two way street though, there were plenty of names we couldn’t pronounce and they loved to correct us on it. Overall I would definitely suggest taking that course as a May term course. The experience is wonderful.

Favorite Companion List

The Doctor has had many companions throughout the series, and everyone has preferences. I thought that I might as well go through my favorite companions in the new series. Just to clarify the only companions that I am considering are the main companions of the show, I will most likely include River and Jack however as they are the most prominent reoccurring characters. Going from least favorite to favorite, here we go.

7. Rory-Rory is most likely my least favorite companion, it’s not that I dislike him, its just I feel no desire to see him on the show. I don’t really care about his character, but I really enjoy his relationship with Amy. Despite how much I didn’t care about his character, I was really happy with how Amy and Rory went out. I felt that even though Amy isn’t my favorite and Rory is my least favorite, their relationship made them my favorite era of the show when combined with Matt Smith.

6. Donna-The main trait that I liked about Donna is that she was not really a romantic companion. This might have been needed after the Doctor parted with Rose, maybe him and the viewers need some time to cope with the loss of Rose. I should emphasize, it is not that I dislike Donna,

5. Martha-The reason that I see Martha this low on the list is because I honestly didn’t see to much of a difference between her and Rose. I felt that they acted the same way, and this might make sense. The Doctor almost has a set of qualities that he looks for in a person. However, there were a few different qualities that we saw, for example Martha being a doctor came into play a few different times. Unlike previous companions, we did not see too much into Martha’s past. This led to little definition on her part.

4. Rose-The problem with this list is that it forces me to choose between a bunch of favorite characters. I liked Rose, it was nice seeing some kind of relationship start to form between her and the Doctor. On top of that we got some view of her home life to give her a little more depth. Her leaving the show was a really sad moment for me, but moving on to other companions is what we as viewers need to do.

3. River-To be honest getting into the top three companions was difficult and on any given day I might change my mind. I love that River and the Doctors relationship is almost backwards. Seeing the death of River and ending with her introduction was an interesting twist. You almost mourn the character as you get to know her, sad because you know what is coming, and to some extent, so do they.

2. Amy-I loved Amy on the show, I enjoyed seeing her childhood, I loved that constant little hints that the show gave us about the crack on the wall and the mysterious woman. Her relationship with Rory was great and sad. Her last episode with Rory was really well done. There is nothing else to say other then I really enjoyed her.

1. Clara-I honestly don’t know why Clara ended up being my favorite. There was just so much that I liked. I enjoyed her relationship with the Doctor, I loved when Danny died how she reacted. Capaldi might have been my second favorite doctor, and when combining that with her makes for a great few seasons. I really also like the conflict that she felt along with the fans about going from Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi. The Doctor might not have been the same but that’s what makes the show fun. It really seems like they are trying to go more in depth into the companions now and I really enjoy it.

The Doctor and the Master Relationship

One of my favorite parts of the Doctor Who series is the Master’s and the Doctor’s dynamic. The reason that I like this so much is that it seems more than one dimensional. The Master does not just want to destroy the Doctor, to him, the Doctor is not just some enemy to be vanquished. The Doctor sees the Master as the same way. To the Master, the doctor seems like someone that he wants to impress, all while doing some dastardly scheme to get his attention.

So far, the Master has only really done anything because of the Doctor, there has been no time when the Doctor has stumbled on the Master causing trouble in an area that might escape the Doctor’s sight. Every scheme he caused affected humans, in season 8 Missy turned many humans into Cyber men, while in this scenario the Doctor stumbled onto what the Master was doing, the Master was going to present the Human Cyber men to the Doctor. Previously we saw the Master use flying death spheres that eventually turned out to be humans from the future.

In one of the more recent plots that I have seen, that is the human Cyber men army, I was impressed though mildly disappointed. I loved the concept behind that idea, the fact that the Master wanted to show the Doctor that good men commit atrocities all the time, just for the Master to see that the Doctor is not a good man, he isn’t a bad man either. The reason I was disappointed with this plot is that while the idea behind it was brilliant to me, I felt that the danger felt minimal, so the Doctor has an army, what is so wrong with that. The characters did not feel cornered nor did there seem to be eminent danger.

In the past, the Master felt dangerous, with the change to Missy, the master seems different, I suppose that it is just like the Doctor however. Each regeneration has a different feel to it, with different type of emotions, and different ways of expressing them. All this can be confusing to the fans however as it is difficult to keep the motivations of the characters straight despite constantly being in flux.