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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Re-connecting with The Doctor

I started watching Doctor Who when I was in the ninth grade. I think I had seen a video on youtube or something and wondered if I would like it. So, I gave it a chance. I was hooked. I watched all 6 seasons that were on Netflix at the time in I think 3 weeks or a month.

In the first season, I got through the first episode, which, in my opinion, is not a great episode to start people out on. I then proceeded to watch episode two, skip episode three, and finish the first season. I liked the ninth doctor, but I wasn’t extremely amazed by him. On to season two. Loved the tenth doctor from the first episode and that fondness grew more throughout the seasons. I can not say enough good things about David Tennant as the doctor. Anyway, season five comes along with a new doctor. Once you have a doctor you are so fond of it is hard to accept such a big change right away. I liked the eleventh doctor but I didn’t love him yet. Season five was fine. It brought back some favorite characters of mine such like River Song. Season 6 bumped eleven up a bit more on my doctor greatness scale.

This is when I had to make a big decision in my life. Would I start to pay for each episode of Doctor Who? I didn’t have BBC America so I would have to pay each week on iTunes or Amazon if I wanted to keep up on my favorite show at the time. I bit the bullet and decided that I was indeed going to start buying each episode in order to watch Doctor Who. Season seven was amazing. This is when Matt Smith took his metaphorical seat next to David Tennant. They were equal in my eyes, both playing The Doctor fantastically, but fantastically in different ways. Then Tennant came back with the 50th-anniversary episode. That was awesome. Unfortunately, after the 2013 Christmas special, Doctor Who an I started to have issues.

Season eight came out with the 12th doctor played by Peter Capaldi. I do not know what it was, but I could not watch him. I gave him a chance, two seasons in fact. Nothing grew on me. I didn’t like his roughness. I didn’t like his attitude. I didn’t like him. There were moments when Twelve was awesome but they drifted away as fast as they came. I stopped watching after season 8 and have not really looked back until this class.

Let me tell you, I am loving revisiting this great show. I thought I knew the ins about outs of all of these episodes. I didn’t. I forgot a lot of what I watched. I am excited to see how the rest of the show looks as I go through it a second time.

The Doctor: Villain?

The first full season of Matt Smith as the Doctor finishes with a sequence of episodes called “The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang.”  The Doctor, Amy, Rory, and River Song are in Europe during the peak of the Roman Empire; an extraterrestrial prison, also known as the Pandorica, has manifested through the manipulation of Amy’s childhood.  The Pandorica intended to house the most dangerous being in the universe.  The twist of the episode is that the prison is for the Doctor.  This is the first time the Doctor is portrayed as the likeable villain.

The Doctors greatest enemies from throughout all of time have teamed up in order to stop the Doctor for the last time.  The audience gets to see how dangerous the Doctor appears to his enemies; his enemies go to great lengths to stop him.  I personally love the idea of the Doctor being an “anti-hero.”  It adds a different dimension to the Time Lord; he now is seen as a villain in a sense.  It also adds a new layer to the motives of his enemies.  For example, in this episode the Daleks are much more interested in stopping the Doctor than they are in eliminating humanity and taking over the entire universe.

Another instance in which we see the way people fear the Doctor is in the episodes, “A Good Man Goes to War,” and “Let’s Kill Hitler.” A group of people steal Amy and Rory’s baby because there were traces of Time Lord in its DNA.  They condition the baby to be a weapon, and everything comes to fruition in “Let’s Kill Hitler” when River Song, who is Rory and Amy’s baby, attempts to kill the Doctor, saying it’s her mission in life.  Over the course of Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor, the fear in which the Doctor instills in people manifests in brutal attempts to stop him.  The Doctor may not be a stereotypical anti-hero, but in the eyes of his enemies, he’s their most dangerous villain in all the universe.

The Eleventh Doctor

Before I had watched an episode with the eleventh doctor, I had already decided that I was not going to like him because I was just starting to get used to the tenth doctor. It took me quite a while to get used to David Tennant as the Doctor, so I assumed it would also take me a while to like Matt Smith as the Doctor. However, I really enjoyed the Matt Smith as the Doctor from the first episode I watched with him in it. I found the bit with him trying to find food that he liked to be very funny and I liked the way he interacted with Amelia. From all the mixed opinions I had heard about Smith, I was happily surprised with his performance.

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The main reason I think I like Smith from the very beginning was because I enjoyed the plot of the episode and how episodes after that continued to connect with the first episode of the season. The episode was interesting and kept me invested through the entirety of it. I liked the new characters, and I liked the new Doctor’s quirkiness.

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I think a large reason why I did not like Tennant right away, like I did Smith, was because I did not at all like the first episode that Tennant was in. I found the plot to be somewhat silly and boring and I did not like how different his personality seemed to be from Eccleston’s, because I really enjoyed him as the Doctor.

If I had to choose, I would say that Smith is my favorite Doctor so far and a lot of this has to do with his supporting cast. Amy is a good companion and I really like that Rory comes along to travel with her and the Doctor. Rory is a great character and, in my opinion, is the perfect combination of silly, oblivious, and somewhat intelligent.

Vincent and the Doctor

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I will be the first to admit that I was not happy when the 10th Doctor regenerated into the 11th Doctor. I loved David Tennant and thought he did an excellent job at portraying his emotions. I think what also did not help is that no companion carried over, and they also rebooted the TARDIS. It felt like a completely new show. However, as it goes on, I start to like it more.

I think the episode Vincent and the Doctor was the episode that really convinced me that I really like the new Doctor. I think everyone knows Van Gough or has at least heard of him since his artwork is very popular today. I think because I am somewhat knowledgeable of it, it is why I really liked this episode as well. I thought it was also very unique that they went back in time to specifically help someone. I, as well really liked how they brought Vincent to the present day time to show him how important he will soon be. When the curator tells the Doctor that Van Gough “was the greatest painter of them all” and was “one of the greatest men who ever lived” like come on, after seeing Van Gough’s reaction to that, has to tear at your emotions a little. I also thought this was very unique since we have not seen this type of situation happen before. I felt more of an emotional tie to this episode that I have not experienced yet.

This was a lovely episode, and I totally cried: Doctor Who season 5 episode 4: Vincent and the Doctor:

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.