Diversity in Doctor Openings

For my fourth blog post entry, I want to focus on diversity in the openings of the New-Who Doctors.

Christopher Eccelston brought needed update with his openings, right along with the show. The song playing during his is almost identical to the very first opening of William Hartnell. As you can see below the colors are appealing to look at. Eccelston’s opening begins with a spinning TARDIS going down some sort of vortex, presumably a time vortex tunnel. After a few seconds it stops, the camera does a slow motion pan around the TARDIS, and then the TARDIS zooms down a different colored time vortex. Lastly, there is a football shape cut out with the words Doctor Who on it, with shines on it. To fade out the opening theme it would then show the title of the episode with the writer at the time (mostly Davies.) It truly is my favorite opening of any New-Who Doctor.

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Next, are David Tennant’s openings. I do mean openings because after two seasons he got a slightly modified one to end his tenure as the Doctor. Tennant’s first opening was essentially the same as Eccelston’s. Really the only difference was the name that appeared first for the cast list. David’s second opening had a darker blue feel, and the music turned more hard rock ish, but still the same overall melody. The TARDIS still was spinning and jumped vortex tunnels around the middle point of the theme.

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After David Tennant, we have Matt Smith’s openings. Again, he has two distinct openings we can look at. First, his opening uses similar music to the second one of David Tennant’s. However, now the time vortex doesn’t look as vortex-y as a time vortex should be. I still like the first one though, because it appears to be a storm cloud and lightning bolts zapping out occasionally. If one pays close enough attention they can see a lightning bolt hit the TARDIS and momentarily paralyze it from moving. Smith’s second opening is where I start to lose interest in the openings. The music stays mostly the same, however now there is a huge cluster of colors and no real vortex that the TARDIS travels down. The Doctor Who logo is now just words over no cut out as the previous two Doctor’s had.

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Lastly, is Peter Capaldi’s opening sequence. While there is an Easter egg thrown into it, it still is my least favorite. One reason it is my least favorite is the slow pace of the motions of what it does show. This sequence shows clock gears whirring, roman numerals I-XII spiraling around, and then a weird liquid-y vortex of some sort. It just is not very fast paced or as visually pleasing as I liked the previous ones.

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Oh Captain, My Captain

I have been a fan of Doctor Who for several years, but haven’t actually seen that many seasons, so being forced to sit down and watch the first season of the rebooted series was really nice, and stirred up a lot of emotions. I’ve never really been a hard-core fan, it was more of a family activity to watch Doctor Who. But I got into it late, during Matt Smith’s run, and have only watched a select few episodes of the seasons before him. I had only seen maybe half of an episode of season 1, so the 9th doctor was fairly new for me. As I went through the season I felt more and more attached to him, and was really sad when he regenerated, though I was also excited to see Tennant as the doctor, because I have often heard that he’s the best.

The character I love the most in the first season is Captain Jack Harkness. Bisexual and pansexual characters are hard to come by in the media even today, and bi/pan men are represented even less. So I was excited about Jack’s character right off the bat. It’s fun to see how smooth he is with everyone he meets, and he is this confident, fun character most of the time. But I also love that he cares so much about people and especially about Rose and later the doctor. He may be a rogue, but he put his life on the line multiple times to right a wrong or to save others.

 

You also get to see just how much he cares in episode 12, “Bad Wolf,” when the doctor and Jack believe that Rose was disintegrated. This was probably the most heart-wrenching scene in the entire season for me. I knew that she wasn’t really dead, because I knew that she was still a companion in the next season, but watching the Doctor shut down because he thinks she’s dead and it’s his fault, and similarly watching Jack scream at the programmers that they killed her and breaking down after several episodes of only really seeing his confident devil-may-care persona, it was just such a moment. I had to pause the episode to take that in while I was watching it.

I’m actually pretty sad and mad that the doctor and Rose left Jack in the last episode of the season, and it’s not addressed after that, as if we’re just supposed to be okay with it. To be fair, I don’t think Rose remembers that she brought him back to life, and the doctor has no idea. So I’m not mad at them. I guess I’m mad at the writers. But I suppose they were setting up for Torchwood, which I’m definitely going to watch. I just wish Jack was in the second season traveling with Rose and the new doctor. I read that he doesn’t return to doctor who until season three, when Martha is the companion. I’m not ready to see the look on his face when he realizes that he won’t see Rose again.

Revisiting, and the End of an Old Hero

I would like to start by saying this is not the first time I have watched Doctor Who. I may not have gotten into the show as my brother did when he binge-watched what all was on Netflix before they took it off the U.S. servers. I did watch a few episodes of each doctor from 9th through 12th, but never an entire season. As Dr. Lindgren said in class, the first doctor you watch is usually your favorite, and that is very true for myself. Christopher Eccelston was a fantastic introduction to the Doctor’s universe. Since it was the reboot, they had to explain a lot of things over again because of the new audience, which really helped my understanding.

Next, I want to review the 9th Doctor’s final episode, as he was my absolute favorite Doctor. It was a brilliant send off for the doctor that essentially “regenerated” the series. I really like how the Doctor was faced with such moral dilemmas, before, during, and after Rose’s decision. The Doctor was being faced with creating an explosion to kill all the new-gen Daleks and their original generation emperor that somehow survived the Time-War. But at the exact same time, Rose was taking matters into her own hands as she, Jackie, and Mickey rip off a part of the TARDIS so Rose can look in to the heart of it. That in my opinion is the biggest plot hole thus far of the “New-Who”, however it does not make it a garbage episode.

The Doctor sends Rose with the TARDIS, facing certain regeneration either by previously mentioned way of him setting off an explosion, or simply getting killed by a Dalek. When Rose looks in to the heart of the TARDIS it is the stupidest thing to do. It did not need to happen. Being that she had the TARDIS, the Doctor would have found his way back to it after regeneration, thus still creating the reunion and start of season 2 in the same shape. She did not need to put her own life at risk by absorbing that power, and singlehandedly be the reason for the 9th Doctor to regenerate. Rose would have been better off waiting, not putting herself in harm’s way, and getting the Tenth Doctor after he regenerated from the other two outcomes. Overall, it was a good episode and introduction to David Tennant. I am very excited to continue watching future Doctors in our class!

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My First Doctor

“Who is your favorite doctor?” A student asks my professor on the first day of class. I watched as she smirked as if she gets asked this question all the time. Turns out it’s a common question to ask to fellow Whovian’s. She quickly answered with her favorite being the fourth doctor, Tom Baker, known as the one with the really long scarf. Her reasoning behind Tom Baker being her favorite was because he was the first one she started watching the show at. She then went around the room to whoever have seen the show and again asked them the same question. Many of their answers being a certain doctor because it was their first.

I am now finished with my first season of the new Doctor Who episodes. I say that my first doctor is the ninth doctor, Christopher Eccleston, known as the one with the black leather jacket. Throughout the show I grew to like his character more and more. As someone who has never seen an episode at all I was very wary about watching a show about an “alien doctor” At first, I would think to myself, “Who is the Doctor, why is he called the doctor and most importantly, where is he from.” Gradually this particular character started to grow on me. One of the main reasons I enjoyed watching the doctor’s character so much was because of how his feelings towards Rose grew stronger and stronger during each episode. Only were subtle hints were made throughout the season to show their relationship getting clearer in each episode. It wasn’t until almost the end of the season that I started noticing it. In episode 12 “Bad Wolf” the Doctor states to the Daleks that no matter what happens he will find Rose even if he has nothing to protect himself from them. After hearing him say this it came obvious to me how The Doctor truly felt about Rose. He would even risk his life to save hers and he did just that. In the final episode of the season The Doctor realizes that things were not going to end well with him so he made the courageous decision to send Rose back to her home in the past so she would be safe from all the war that was going to take place. Seeing all the love he had for Rose made it apparent to me at how well Christopher Eccleston played his role as the Doctor. So, Eccelston being my first doctor does that mean he will be my favorite? Only time will tell and by that, I mean many more episodes and Doctors from now.

I’m not crying… I just have something in my eye

Spoiler alert: the Doctor dies. Another spoiler alert: he comes back as David Tennant. (oh la la!)

Now this is the first time that I’ve seen Doctor Who. Watching the old who episodes I didn’t think that I was going to get so into the show. And going into the first season of new who I also wasn’t quite sure what I should expect. Would I like it more than the old who? Well one thing I especially didn’t expect was that I would get so close to the Doctor and feel so torn when the ninth doctor died.

I would say this especially surprised me when some of the episodes with the ninth doctor didn’t even take my attention that well. They would start off well and grab my attention, but as the episode went on I just lost interest. I would watch them for class, but honestly, I don’t think I would ever watch some of those again. It was hard to keep my attention to write down what was going on. Yet here I am at the last episode with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and my eyes start to tear up. I look over at my roommate (who is a huge fan of Doctor Who) and wonder how she has gone through this with how many doctors she has watched.

Doctor Who is a totally new experience for me. Yes, I’ve watched the occasional show about aliens, but nothing about aliens and time travel. It’s certainly different than things that I have watched before. I have gotten pretty sucked in. And boy oh boy will I still be sucked in with David Tennant. Especially since my tears got sucked RIGHT back into my eyes when I saw David Tennant. I always knew that the doctor regenerated, but it doesn’t seem true until you see it actually happen. Watching the episode in class with David Tennant as the Doctor got me pretty excited. It brought back in my excitement for Doctor Who. It drew me in and made me super excited for the tenth Doctor. Maybe this time I will be more prepared for when he regenerates, but probably not…

Regeneration Continuity

In one of David Tennant’s final adventures, a team of his most famed companions/allies is formed.  The team consisting of Harriet Jones, Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, and Martha Jones come together to aid the Doctor in stopping the end of the world.  This gallery of characters were iconic during the adventures of previous incarnations of the Doctor and Tennant’s edition of the Time Lord.  Their presence in “The Stolen Earth/ Journey’s End” helps provide a storybook ending to Tennant’s run as the Doctor, but is it’s unfair to the characters that the viewers grew to love during the tenth Doctor’s adventures.

Rose Tyler traveled with both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s version of the Doctor.  She added continuity to a somewhat abrupt change to the iconic role.  She anchored Tennant in the first few episodes of season two, and she also gave the viewer some continuity within the show.  At the end of Tennant’s run, we are given closing points for Rose, Jack, Sarah Jane, Martha, and Donna.  This bookend for the series was beneficial in that it gave the show a “mini-reboot,” but it hurt the show in that the eleventh Doctor didn’t have a continuity point from the tenth Doctor, and seemed very lost in his first adventure.

Rose was a dynamic character that the viewers already knew, and this made assimilating the new Doctor much simpler.  In Matt Smith’s first episode, he acknowledges his former versions of himself, but not his former companions.  This feels out of character for the Doctor, and it hurts the chance for these former companions to appear alongside the eleventh regeneration of the Doctor.  Without watching ahead, I think this is a disservice to the characters that travelled with Ten, and it also hurts the mythology of the famous television show.

Bye Bye Number Nine

Christopher Eccleston, the ninth Doctor, has never been my favorite Doctor. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t mind skipping the first season of the rebooted Doctor Who and head straight into watching David Tennant, who is definitely one of my favorites. However I’ve started to question why Christopher Eccleston was only the Doctor for a single season. I’ve heard many rumors, but decided to do some research myself on the topic.

I found an article written by Stephen Kelly, a writer of The Guardian, which focuses on the mystery of why Eccleston left after only one season. According to Kelly, Eccleston resigned from Doctor Who after not being able to see “eye to eye” with the cast and crew. Later on in the article, Stephen Kelly mentioned that Eccleston left hints that there might be more to why he left Doctor Who than what he said in his interview.

For the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, multiple Doctors appeared in the episode, including Matt Smith and David Tennant. However, Christopher Eccleston decided to not return for the 50th anniversary. Was stepping on the set of Doctor Who truly bad enough that Eccleston didn’t want to risk a single episode there again?

After looking at a few more sources, I can say that all of the articles I looked at on this topic have come the same conclusion and are referencing the same interview. Perhaps if Christopher Eccleston stayed another season I might have grown fond of him. Either way, I’m happy with the research I’ve found and I’m thrilled with the outcome of David Tennant.

<Click Here for Stephen Kelly’s Article>