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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Why Rory is the BEST Character in the Show

Over the course of exploring this show, Doctor Who’s audiences have been exposed to hundreds of unique and interesting characters that offer unique perspectives to the show. Among these characters, there are countless fan favorites, many of which Doctor Who fans will adamantly argue that theirs is the best character and any dissenting opinion is incorrect. At first, I held a certain disdain for this kind of fanaticism for a character. Then the Doctor met Rory. Ever since the beginning of Matt Smith’s run as the eleventh Doctor, Rory has been my favorite character on the show for a plethora of reasons, namely his loyalty, his realistic viewpoint when addressing the Doctor, and his devotion to Amy.

Rory is introduced in the very first episode of Matt Smith’s run, and I must admit that I wasn’t extremely impressed with him from his kind of craven attitude to juxtapose Amy’s bravery. However, as he developed in his travels with Amy and the Doctor, I saw Rory grow and improve. In the episode “Vampires in Venice”, Rory showed he could be heroic for the first time in their travels. He stepped up several times throughout the episode to do dangerous things selflessly, such as infiltrating the vampire lair with Amy and stepping between the younger vampire fella that was attacking Amy. I also appreciated Rory’s ability to understand and stand up to what the Doctor suggests, often having valid points against the Doctor throughout the episode. He doesn’t necessarily trust the Doctor 100% of the time, which behooves him in that the Doctor is often deceitful or misleading with what he tells his companions!

Finally, probably the best aspect of Rory’s character is his loyalty to Amy. I think literally any guy would ditch her after all the foolhardy and headstrong things that she did in the show, and whether from attachment or just plain stupid love, Rory sticks with Amy even when it actually gets him killed. I actually cried when Rory waited for Amy two thousand years as her protector while she was inside the Pandorica. Rory was loyal to her and his friends no matter the personal cost to him. Rory is my favorite character for this reason, he is selfless and does what’s best for not just him, but for him and those he loves even under great personal stress and pain.

PLUS THAT PONYTAIL, THOUGH!!! 🙂

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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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.