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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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.

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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Diversity in Regeneration (Spoilers!)

As each Doctor’s time comes to an end,  that is when the new generation is about to happen. Each Doctor deals with their regeneration slightly different. The process of regeneration biologically is mostly the same, a shimmering light of time-vortex surrounds the doctor and shoots out of his face and hands. However, the lead-up and post regeneration are completely different. Let us also not forget that evolving technology has been a factor in the showing of regeneration.

Let’s start with the first Doctor’s regeneration. When the first Doctor regenerates it simply shows a light that nearly goes completely white across the screen, and then there lay the second Doctor. Not very eventful, but they did what they could for the time period.

From now on, I’ll be describing the New Who Doctors or this could turn into a very long post. Christopher Eccelston’s 9th Doctor regeneration was one of the more unfortunate one’s because he was nearly forced into it. After Rose absorbs the time vortex he understands he can no longer let her hold onto that kind of power. He absorbs the power from her and in doing that, it over loads his system and only has moments to regenerate while Rose watches. It takes about ten seconds for the change to occur, before the Tenth Doctor appears and asks “Where were we? Oh yes! Barcelona”.

The Tenth Doctor’s regeneration was also a sad one because it was a huge sacrifice. However, this David Tennant’s regeneration is drug out over about 10 minutes or so. After he absorbs radiation instead of Donna’s dad, he remains the same and says a final goodbye to all of the companions he has worked with, including Donna and her family, Mickey and Martha, Jack Harkness, the granddaughter of the woman he met as “John Smith”, and lastly Rose just before she met the 9th Doctor so he did not have to jump universes. Then, he finally returns to his TARDIS to complete his transformation but nearly destroys the time ship in the process. His regeneration takes approximately 8 or so seconds

Spoilers for the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors ahead, read at your own risk!!!

The 11th Doctor’s regeneration was confusing. Because he is with Clara, imagining Amelia Pond being there, and then leans down and instantly is changed to Peter Capaldi. It was abrupt and I don’t think many Matt Smith fans got true closure.

Lastly, the 12th Doctor’s regeneration was similar to the 10th to 11th’s in physics of the TARDIS out of control and the door flying open. However, it is diverse from all the rest because after his transformation we learn the Doctor now has the capacity to be a woman.

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Meme Mania

As I was searching through a facebook group chat that has been made exclusively for memes, someone posted a meme about Doctor Who. I believe that memes are now an important part of people expressing their ideas and thoughts on a topic. Almost a subset or meta form of social media that can be turned into a picture and shared on other social media sites. As I thought about this, I googled “Doctor Who Memes” and scrolled through some of the memes. I will be going through different types of memes and how they relate to other topics.

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This is the first meme I found in the group chat. This one is singularly related to Doctor Who and looks at the excitement of a fandom when they are referenced and cited somewhere else. This meme generally occurs in a comments section on social media and is the basic, silly, fun form of a meme. This meme is shown as a reference for how general memes can be and that they can be on the non-confrontational side of social media.

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Opposite of that, this meme is the equivalent to the other meme but on the opposite, confrontational, side of some types of memes. People can use memes to express their political views through the filter of a show or topic. This can make people feel more comfortable or allow them to express themselves in a direct way without having to be verbally/textually direct such as typing their own Facebook post. These types of memes increase in popularity and frequency whenever there is a topic that is highly publicized. As an example, with the recent shooting in Florida, there are a lot of memes going around expressing opinions based on gun control. These type of memes allow for discussion of a topic that may be particularly harsh or hard to talk about and give it a softer filter for people to speak through or a harder filter to see so that writer can show the reader how they really feel.

 

 

Aside from general memes or political memes, there are memes that are pieced together to relate across fandoms and join them together to bond across fandoms. The first meme is related to Dungeons and Dragons and brings together those who are both in the Doctor Who fandom and the Dungeons and Dragons fandom, and then maybe bring some of those who are in one fandom but not the other to explore the other side.

The other meme is one that crosses fandoms based on the actor. David Tennant who was the tenth Doctor, and who appeared in the Harry Potter series. This also brings fans from both fandoms across to another fandom and exposes them to more information.

 

Overall memes are a form of social media that allow people to explore other fandoms, have difficult or open discussions, and allow the creator to share their own ideas in a way that is different than a post on Twitter or Facebook.

Donna Noble Appreciation Post

I was looking at the tags on this blog and noticed that only three posts were tagged with “Donna,” and the one that was the most about Donna was talking about why she’s someone’s least favorite companion. To provide a bit of diversity in opinion, I’d like to tell you why Donna Noble might be my favorite companion on Doctor Who.

Donna’s entrance in Doctor Who is interesting because she appears in one episode before Martha’s run with the doctor, and then she finds him again afterwards. When she first meets the doctor, she’s pretty sure that she has no interest in traveling with the Doctor because she doesn’t think she could handle it. By the time they meet again, she’s decided that she can’t pass up the opportunity for adventure.

There are a few things that contrast Donna from the other two companions we’ve seen so far in New Who. One is that she makes it very clear from the beginning that she is not interested in the Doctor romantically. Rose’s romantic relationship with the Doctor developed pretty naturally, starting out with simple admiration for him. Martha was interested in him almost immediately, and she let her unrequited love for him bother her to the point that she no longer wanted to travel with him. Donna’s admiration of the doctor is strictly platonic, and I like the friendship that she has with him.

I would also argue that Donna is the most emotionally driven out of the three companions so far. I think Rose was emotional sometimes, but her emotions were mostly tied to the doctor and she let him take the lead and make the decisions. Martha was primarily logical, which while it was nice to see a female companion be so intelligent, it made her way of thinking arguably too similar to the Doctor’s. There wasn’t enough contrast between the two of them. Donna is the most likely out of the three to question the Doctor. She lets her emotions drive her in that she is always thinking about the people that are in danger or that die, and she wants to help them in any way that she can. For example, in The Fires of Pompeii, she refused to leave Pompeii without saving at least someone. I like that she makes the Doctor think about things in a different way sometimes.

I also think that David Tennant and Catherine Tate have a lot of chemistry. They are good friends outside of the show and they have similar senses of humor which translates on screen. People like to write off Donna as the “sassy companion” and say that she’s annoying, but I think there’s so much more to her than that. I’ll admit that I like sassy characters, but I also like characters with depth and a lot of emotional drive, which I think Donna has even though it’s often overlooked by fans. Those are the reasons that I love Donna Noble as a companion.

David Tennant, Wow What a Character You Are!

I remember watching the last episode of season one come to a close with the 9th Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) regenerating into his new body. It was an interesting thing to watch as I saw The Doctor look as if he was on fire, bending his back looking as if he was in pain during the process. For the first time seeing this I thought to myself this is not what I imagined at all. When I thought about how a regeneration process was going to take place I had in my head that The Doctor would die and then all on the next season they would start to show a new actor as him. Clearly this was not the case. The Doctor’s new body started to grow thick brown hair on his head as well as a long thin face. This was the new Doctor, the 10th Doctor, David Tennant.

Quickly I started the next season to see what happens next. Episode 1: The Christmas Invasion began with The Doctor unconscious while aliens were invading the city of London. For most of this episode The Doctor is this way until finally after he is fully regenerated he comes out of the TARDIS a new man. Tennant opens up the doors and with a smirk on his face he rhetorically asks, “Did you miss me?” At that moment I knew that David Tennant was going to be a completely different character for The Doctor than Christopher Eccleston was.

I very much enjoyed the part when The Doctor walked up to the Sycorax Leader snapped his weapon in half with his leg and points to him saying, “Now you just wait, I’m busy.” Hearing Tennant say this I could tell that he was going to use more humor in his character. As I kept watching Tennant did just that. With his sarcastic attitude he walks over to the big threatening button and presses it acting like a child, adding humor to the show.

David Tennant ended this particular episode with picking out his outfit. He was no longer going to wear the thick black leather jacket anymore. Instead he chooses a much more Sherlock Holmes type of outfit. Going with a brown pinstripe suit with a pair of converses for his shoes and a long light brown trench coat falling to the floor. As I have watched this show for a while now I know realize that each separate actor puts their own spin on The Doctor’s character. I greatly appreciate this though because it keeps the show interesting. David Tennant known as the 10th Doctor for some and the Doctor who wears the pinstripe suit, but for me I know David Tennant as the actor who added humor to The Doctor’s character in the show Doctor Who.