Return to Who

Note: This post was originally written in late January.

Since my early high school days, I have been a big Doctor Who fan. I have fond memories of bonding with my brother and sister as we worked our way through the New Who, doctor to doctor. I spent a lot of time reading and watching theories about the show, along with collecting memorabilia. When I graduated high school and left for college, I stopped keeping up with Doctor Who. This was around the time that the 12th Doctor was cast. So, after three years of college and not watching the show, I was excited for the opportunity to take an entire class centered around it.

As I have begun to rewatch the show, I have experienced a number of surprises. First, I was surprised at what I did and did not remember from the show. There were a number of key plot points that I completely forgot about, while at the same time, there were small details that I remembered with great clarity. It’s been nice to gain a sort of refresher as I go through these episodes.

An additional surprise has been how I am experiencing the show this time around. I am now looking at it through a new lense. The show was obviously not structured to teach a course about diversity, but it is an interesting perspective to use while watching the show. I have begun to notice things that I didn’t before. For example, in the earlier episodes, there is stunning lack of racial diversity. As a high schooler, I was not tuned into this type of focus, resulting in a new way of watching.

Having viewed these episodes already once before, I am able to focus more on the aspects of diversity rather than focusing on plot points. I believe that this familiarity will aid me in this class and how I should view the show.

I am very interested in how my view of the show will or will not change as I progress through the seasons. I am looking forward to how the show itself treats diversity as its seasons progress.


Favorite Doctor

Before I took this class, I would have said that Matt Smith was my favorite doctor, because I had seen the most episodes with him and because he was the doctor I started with. Now that I’ve seen all of Eccelston and Tennant, I’m not sure who my favorite doctor is. I really like Nine because he can be snarky and fun, but he also has several moments where you can see a lot of fear, anger, and sadness in him. I think that’s true for all of the New Who doctors, but I do think there’s something special about Eccelston. Ten is a bit more fun and zany than Nine. He makes a lot of insane statements and does crazy things that really fits the “Mad man in a box” description. Eleven goes even further in that direction, and then Twelve goes back to the “Grumpy old man” description. I wish I was better at describing what makes each of them special, but they are, and I’m grateful for all of them.

I don’t understand how people choose a favorite when they’ve seen all of the episodes. It’s like choosing a favorite child. I love them all. I especially don’t understand why some people say to skip Nine and start with Ten. Not only is Nine fantastic, but a lot happens in the first season that is frequently referenced or characters that were introduced in the first season are brought back several times in future seasons. It’s like skipping the first few chapters in a book. There’s bound to be important information in those first few chapters.

Anyway, I think I’m just bad at choosing in general. Although it is easy for me to say that my favorite companion is Donna. I’m not sure why, I just connect with her the most. Maybe it’s just hard to choose a favorite doctor because, in the end, they’re all the same character. Yes, each regeneration has a unique spin to the character, but in the end they’re all the same person. I see every doctor as an extension of the previous ones, so there’s not really a need to choose a favorite. They’re all the doctor and that makes them special.

Set Your Imagination Free

A few weeks ago, I attended an event called the Big Dream Gathering. I was a little skeptical at first, but once I immersed myself in this new opportunity, I began to realize why it was so important and why so many people had attended.

The leader of this event, Mitch Matthews, began to explain how the event had come to be from a simple discussion with friends in his home about the dreams they wanted to achieve. He then began to think that so many more could benefit from talking with a group and writing down their dreams together, letting other people read them, and writing on other people’s dream sheets to offer them help by leaving contact information, to encourage them, and to inspire them to follow their dreams. I was really happy to see the variety of different people who attended this event. Many were Wartburg students, but there were also several adults, and some adults with their children. I think it was significant that parents took their children with them to an event like this because I observed a connection between parent and child, and it was a good way to get families to dream together as a team.

When Mitch was giving his introduction, there was one particular thing that stuck out to me. He said that we should give ourselves the permission to dream. He told us to write down every dream that we could think of. There was no dream too small or too big that we couldn’t write down. He told us of a young boy that attended a Big Dream Gathering event once who wrote thirty-two dreams in total. He just wanted us to be creative and think of all the possibilities that we could potentially put into action.

We taped our dreams up on the wall organized into different categories. It was wonderful to see how many people were able to help others with their dreams. No matter how young or old, people were able to make a difference in the lives of others. That kind of diversity in backgrounds and capabilities was fascinating to me, especially that we could all use them to help one another out with making our dreams a reality.

Then I got to thinking, The Doctor is a dreamer too. He believes in protecting the Earth and the ones he cares for. He doesn’t run away from tough situations, even when he might be a little scared or unsure of how things will turn out. He inspires others to stand up for what is right and shows several humans a better way of living their lives by caring about the lives of others deeply and widely, despite their differences. The fact that he continues to live on and on is a great indicator that he knows more about life, happiness, and tragedy than any human on the show is capable of understanding in their much shorter lifetimes.

This show has a lot to offer when it comes to imagination, dreaming, and creativity, which is sometimes what we have to do when we are dreaming about things we want to do in our real lives. This show takes our mind to a place where crazy things are possible, which perhaps is capable of inspiring us to do things that we think may be impossible at first in our school lives, work lives, and beyond. In a way, watching the show is giving myself permission to have an imagination that surpasses what is possible in the real world.

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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Just Say NO…to Clara Oswald.


Today, I want to talk to about my thoughts on Clara Oswald, the 11th into 12th Doctor’s companion. The main things that I have decided about her are that she idolized the 11th Doctor and the way that he looked, was very much a damsel, and didn’t fully develop into a good companion until we see the last of her, in this class, in the episode “Hell Bent”.

The reason that I claim Clara idolizes Matt Smith’s version of the Doctor is the way that she grieves the loss of him by being rude to Capaldi’s Doctor in “Deep Breath”. This is seen as Clara is in disbelief that Capaldi could actually be her young and dashing Doctor, whom she grew to love. She states, “Where did he get that face? Why’s it got lines on it? It’s brand new. How can his hair be all grey? He only just got it!” This proves, to me, that Clara is struggling to realize that the Doctor changes and that she truly does not understand that he has no control over the changes that he undergoes. This disbelief and grief is seen again when she is speaking with Madame Vastra. Vastra looks at Clara with pity and says, “But he is The Doctor. He has walked the universe for centuries untold. He has seen stars fall to dust. You might as well flirt with a mountain range.” I enjoyed this part of the episode as it was filled with Jenny and Madame Vastra trying to make Clara understand that she needs to move on and let it go. And Clara does move on, eventually, but for a few episodes, at least the ones we watched, she is just angry at the Doctor for his change.

My second opinion about her is her being a damsel. This is seen time and time again as the Doctor has to save her from most of the “bad guys” that they encounter. I thought Rose was bad and I thought Martha was worse, and even Amy, or Rory, but Clara definitely takes the cake for the companion that gets caught. Thankfully, the Doctor is there to save her, or at least comes up with a plan to save her. However, I will give credit as toward the end of season 9 Clara finally became an independent character that saved the Doctor’s life and helped him to get away from the planet Gallifrey. One must also remember that Clara was in charge of helping the Doctor throughout all 12 of his lives, from escaping from Gallifrey the first time, and then again in the final episode of season 9, “Hell Bent”.

Diversity in Mulan

I know this movie came out twenty years ago, but it is a classic, so I have to mention it. The movie “Mulan” is full of gender diversity, specifically gender roles. The Chinese culture in the movie depicts women as being inferior to men as well as having women live in the private sphere (staying within the household). There are many scenes in the movie where this is seen, so I will only talk about a few.

At the beginning of the movie Mulan is being dressed and made up to meet the Matchmaker. The Matchmaker will find her a husband if she is worthy, which she doesn’t end up being to the Matchmaker. She brought great dishonor to her family, even though it wasn’t her fault that the meeting with the Matchmaker went wrong. It was the worst possible thing that could happen because her purpose in the Chinese culture was to marry a man, have children, and take care of the home.

Later on, Mulan’s father gets drafted into the army for a second time and she speaks out against it. First, it was in public where she was told to “hold her tongue” by the man who gave the orders. The next time she speaks out is when she is having dinner with her family. She doesn’t want her father to go, especially since he is hurt. As she argues with him he states, “I know my place, it is time you learned yours.” Soon after this Mulan takes her fathers suit of armor and goes to take his place in the army. When her parents find out they run outside to try to stop her, but she is already gone. Her mother tells her father, “You have to go after her. She could be killed!” Her father responds, “If I reveal her, she will be.” Women weren’t supposed to leave home at all, much less impersonate a man and join the army.

At the end of the movie, Mulan tries telling men in the city that the Huns are there and are going to take the Emperor. They ignore her and wave her off. Even Shang doesn’t listen to her when she stops him. Mulan is a woman and the men in the movie don’t feel the need to listen to the women because they are superior.

As you can see, “Mulan” has many scenes where gender roles depict women as being inferior and living in the private sphere. Although, Mulan starts to change things at the end when the Emperor gives her his crest and Shan- Yu’s sword in gratitude. He even offers her a position on his counsel. If you can get past the gender roles, this is actually a really great movie.


The Thirteenth Doctor

Who is the new Doctor? Jodie Whittaker plays the Thirteenth Doctor and she is the first female Doctor of the series. I think that having a female Doctor is extremely groundbreaking. Since the beginning of Doctor Who, all of the Doctors have been male, but the idea of a female Doctor had been explored. However, it didn’t come into being until the Thirteenth Doctor of the 2005 Doctor Who reboot.


To have a female Doctor is very exciting because there is now an opportunity for children to have a new hero. Times are changing and the world is becoming less of a male dominated place. Women are being put in job positions that were previously seen as impossible for women and they are fighting for equality in all aspects. One example that I can think of is the new Wonder Woman movie that came out. I remember working at my church’s Vacation Bible School and hearing all of the younger children talking about how cool Wonder Woman was and how they wanted to be like her or that she was their new favorite hero. I would think that a young girl would be extremely excited to watch a tv show where the main character was a female instead of a male. Even though women are gaining more opportunities in today’s society, there aren’t as many shows with a female lead as there are with male leads.

There have been mixed feelings about Jodie as the new Doctor. Some, such as David Tennant and some of the previous Doctors, have shown great support and happiness at the news of Jodie being the new Doctor. Others, do not support the idea of a female Doctor and have lashed out at Doctor Who. These people are so upset at the idea of a female Doctor that they say that they will stop watching it because the producers have ruined the show and they should cancel it. Looking at some of the comments from the people who are against a female Doctor is very frustrating because they seem petty and rude. They don’t want to even try to see how Jodie portrays the Thirteenth Doctor before they decide that they don’t want to watch it. These reactions seem similar to every time there is a new regeneration, because everyone has their own favorite Doctor and become upset when someone replaces them. For me, I am very excited for the Thirteenth Doctor and to see Jodie’s portrayal of the Doctor.