Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: Falling Out Of Love With The Doctor

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Back in 2013, I posted about my love for Doctor Who. Since then, the series has gone through many changes, most notably a new Doctor. The Doctor is now in his twelfth regeneration, ignoring the War Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi.

And since this change, I’ve come to realise I’m really not enjoying the show as much as I used to.

Gone are the days when I would eagerly await Saturday evenings, a brand new episode full of adventure. For this series and the last, I’ve not watched a single episode as it aired. I’ve caught up online, sometimes weeks after airing.

The series just does not feel like Doctor Who any more. An over-arching plot has replaced the new monster every week element that it used to have. To me, the series has almost lost its sense of fun. The episodes don’t feel like adventures. The opening two-parter of the current series was one of the dullest episodes of the show that I have ever watched. And I am so, so bored of the Daleks. They are not scary, and they never will be. But they keep going back to them.

Me too Clara, me too.

Me too Clara, me too.

There are moments where Peter Capaldi feels like the Doctor: that childishness, his inquisitiveness, his social awkwardness. But ultimately, I don’t really like the Twelfth Doctor. He pities himself, and is halfway to giving up on everyone and everything. This is not me criticising Capaldi’s acting in any way, but the producers/writers etc and how they have chosen to represent the Doctor.

However, I absolutely love the Mistress – Michelle Gomez is just fabulous. She pretty much captured my heart as the crazy staff liaison Sue White in Green Wing, and it was clear she would do a fantastic job on Doctor Who. If we can’t have River Song, at least we’ve got Missy.

I’m not giving up on the series, not just yet. It has meant so much to me that I still want to cling to it, hoping that it returns to the good ol’ Doctor Who I remember and love.

Do you watch Doctor Who? Are you enjoying the current series as much as the past ones?

Review

Review: Doctor Who – Engines of War by George Mann

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3 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I may not have been a Doctor Who fan as long as some, entering the fandom sometime in 2010, but I feel I’ve attempted to make up for lost time in many ways – one of them being to read as many Doctor Who books as I can get my hand on. So far, none of them have quite hit the heights of the television show, none of them have shown the Doctor in quite the right way.

But that’s the good thing about this book – it features a Doctor we barely know, the ‘War Doctor’ who was first introduced in the show’s 50th anniversary special. This Doctor is nothing like the others, and this is the point in his life where he earned the nickname ‘Predator’ from the Daleks. This means that George Mann had an opportunity to create his ‘own’ Doctor, in a way, or at least not have to rely on the mannerisms and characteristics of the Doctors we know from the screen. The War Doctor is how he sounds – more ruthless, perhaps a little cold, but every bit as determined to save people.

And because this is the War Doctor, Gallifrey still exists, as do the Time Lords. It was wonderful being able to glimpse their society, and also shocking to see that the majority are not as compassionate towards the human race as the Doctor. This definitely felt like a more adult book, compared to other Doctor Who novels I have read, but then again Doctor Who has always had a reputation for being unexpectedly scary in places!

This was a fun adventure that allowed me a glimpse into the Doctor’s past, and fleshed out a version of the beloved Time Lord that we have only briefly seen. If you’re looking for something to tide you over until the next series, this could be it.

Recap

A Trip Through Time And Space

Doctor Who Experience

Warning: this post will be image heavy!

On Saturday 21st June 2014, me and my friend Kerry went on an adventure through time and space… we took our space transport/Kerry’s car across the galaxy/Severn Bridge, passing many obstacles/the £6.40 toll on the way – until we finally reached the strange land known as… Cardiff. After a long and arduous journey through the cosmos/down the M4, we came upon this terrifying sight:

Daleks Ahead!
DALEKS AHEAD!

Following the signs warning us of Daleks (perhaps a foolish choice?) we eventually reached our destination: the Doctor Who Experience in Porth Teigr, Cardiff. Words cannot describe how happy it made me to see more and more people sporting their Doctor Who t-shirts and costumes as we got closer and closer. As we got there quite early, we decided to have a browse in the shop first. It was actually a LOT smaller than we expected, and much more reasonably priced than the Harry Potter Studio Tour shop, although some items were still a bit pricey. Anyway, when we finally queued up, we were told that there was no photography in the first bit of the tour, which has an interactive element to it.

Eeek!
Amazing artwork in the lobby. That you’ll probably forget about.

I don’t want to tell you much about the interactive part of the tour because I want it to be a surprise for anyone who is planning on going. However, if you don’t mind spoilers, then click under the cut to read about my favourite part. [spoiler]One room was pitch black as we entered – then suddenly some of the lights came on really quickly, and there were a couple of Weeping Angels littered around us. Then the lights flickered and the Angels had ‘moved’! AHHH I WAS ACTUALLY TERRIFIED. It was so well done![/spoiler] Overall, the exhibition was actually quite a bit smaller than we’d expected, but it still had a decent amount of props and costumes. Now to share some photos!

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Some of the amazing costumes on display – a mix of original and replica.

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The first and fourth TARDIS consoles.

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That oh so familiar sign, and the infamous scarf!

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Creepy Peg Dolls, and the Face of Boe.

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OOD! and the Silence – wait, what? What was I talking about?

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I made a new friend, he didn’t like my offer of a Jammie Dodger though; got my eye on you…

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I was strangely disappointed by this Weeping Angel… there was only one.

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Genuinely sad that I couldn’t go inside.

The whole tour and experience didn’t actually last too long: we were in there for about an hour and a half (basically as long as it takes to drive there), but I suppose you can spend as long as you like in the main exhibition bit. So after leaving the experience, we decided to do some sightseeing around Cardiff. Spoilers for Torchwood below.

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The fan-made shrine to Ianto Jones in Mermaid Quay (by the ‘official’ Torchwood entrance), with the plaque the BBC put up afterwards.

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The secret Torchwood entrance by the Millennium Centre!

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It was a gorgeous day, so we finished off with some sight-seeing of the city, including the Millennium Centre, Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay and an open top guided tour bus!

Have you visited the Doctor Who Experience?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: A Guide to Doctor Who

 

A lot of the Sci-Fi Month participants are big fans of Doctor Who. But what about those of you that aren’t? As today is the fiftieth anniversary of the show I’ve put together a guide to the show (as best as I can…) for people who don’t know much about it and would like to know more, or any new fans!  Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

 

What is Doctor Who? It’s a British TV series that started in 1963, about a Timelord known as ‘the Doctor’ who travels through space and time in his TARDIS. Aided by a variety of trusty companions, he saves people, civilisations, worlds – even the universe.

Or, if you’d like the more long-winded Wikipedia synopsis:

Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord—a time-travelling humanoid alien known as the Doctor. He explores the universe in his TARDIS (acronym: Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a sentient time-travelling space ship. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. Along with a succession of companions, the Doctor faces a variety of foes while working to save civilisations, help ordinary people, and right wrongs.

Timelord? TARDIS?? Timelords are time-travelling humanoid aliens from the planet Gallifrey. They are able to see all of time, as it was, as it is and as it will be – hence their name. They prevent time from being altered or re-written. Timelords also have two hearts and are capable of regenerating, meaning they change their appearance and essentially are reborn, instead of dying (each different appearance is known as a ‘regeneration’). A Timelord can be killed though, if they use up all their regenerations or are killed whilst regenerating. The number of maximum regenerations was stated as thirteen, but the shows producers and writers have recently hinted that more regenerations are available.

And as for the TARDIS… well you must have seen this at least once before:

Vrrrrroom… vrrrrrooom!

The TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) is the preferred method of transport for a Timelord. It is a spaceship, and the Doctor’s takes the appearance of a police telephone box. Doesn’t look very roomy does it? Well… it’s bigger on the inside.

 
The TARDIS interior often changes with each regeneration, and this particular TARDIS interior belongs to the Eleventh Doctor. We’re often told (but don’t get to see) about the various rooms in the TARDIS, including a swimming pool and a library (or occasionally a swimming pool in the library).
 
Regenerations? Do explain… Time for a handy infographic!
 

 
These are the many faces of the Doctor. He has currently changed his face eleven times, and as Matt Smith is leaving this year, will regenerate for a twelfth time soon. Each regeneration is like a different person, with his own personality and traits. For example, Eleven is rather childish, and has an obsession with bow ties. In comparison, Nine was much more serious (and Northern). Four was unpredictable, with a quirky sense of humour but could also be rather somber. However the Doctor retains all memories from previous regenerations.
 
You mentioned the Doctor has ‘companions’? Yep, throughout the show the Doctor has always had at least one other person travelling with him (apart from the occasional special episode). It would take a long time to talk about all the previous companions, so I’m going to introduce you to the companions from New Who (the rebooted version of the show from 2005). You can read about the others here though (may contain spoilers). 
 



What about all the evil that the Doctor fights? The Doctor never really fights, a lot of his battles involve outwitting the enemy. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the villains of Doctor Who, as part of the fun is seeing what they can actually do, so instead I’ve put together a collage of various monsters and villains! If you want to read more about the creatures that the Doctor and his companions encounter, the BBC website has some great monster profiles.
 
 
1. Weeping Angels  2. Cybermen  3. Vashda Nerada  4. Daleks  5. Judoon  6. Vampires/Sisters of the Water  7. Sontarans  8. Silurians/Homo Reptilia  9. Smilers  10. The Silence  11. Peg Dolls  12. Gangers   13. The Ood
 
So… where does the Doctor actually go? To the past AND the future! He’s been back in time to Pompeii at the time of the eruption of Vesuvius, visited good ol’ Will Shakespeare, met Queen Victoria (and protected her from werewolves)… and as for the future, there’s just so much that he and his companions have seen – you should watch it for yourself.
 

I hope this has encouraged you to give the series a shot, or been a fun read if you’re already a fan!