More ramblings

A bit of stream-of-consciousness rambling today.

My husband and I bought some “The Day of the Doctor”  t-shirts off of one of those “a shirt a day” sites. Not sure which one, and I can’t find the design anymore, so I can’t link it. Basically, the shirt shows thirteen TARDISes flying around Gallifrey, and then at the bottom, the silhouettes of Sandshoes, Granddad, and Chinny. (That’s a lot easier to type than the Tenth Doctor, etc.) We each got one copy of the shirt, and my husband insisted that we wear them to work today (we both work at the same company). They’re awesome shirts, but I feel like those tourist couples in Hawaii that wear matching aloha shirts. Tacky.

I read a blog post a couple of days ago that had the premise of “how boring and horrible the world would be if we didn’t have Doctor Who.” It went along the lines of, if the show had been cancelled back in 1963, we wouldn’t know the Doctor and everything would be so much more boring, etc.  And I thought, “Hm, the Doctor Who universe is a world without Doctor Who.” I mean really, if that universe had a TV show which showed, word-for-word, the adventures of the Doctor, I’m sure the Doctor would know about it. So there’s a world without Doctor Who that is far from boring. (That was a pretty silly paragraph.)

On the other hand, maybe it does have Doctor Who. There’s one Seventh Doctor episode in which Ace walks through a house in 1963 England. As she’s passing through the living room, a clock shows it’s 5:16, and the TV starts showing a “new BBC drama.” The scene switches before the opening sequence of the show displays its name, but it looks like Doctor Who.

We are re-watching the Ninth Doctor at the moment, and Christopher Eccleston’s performance is a breath of fresh air. He is suitably alien without being goofy, and since his story is about his anger from the Time War and his redemption through Rose, he got the opportunity to play all of the extremes of the character. Every time I watch his shows, it makes me very sad that he didn’t do more.

We seem to have temporarily abandoned our progress through the classic series; the “Genesis of the Daleks” disc has sat alone for two weeks now. I think one of the problems is that this is the first of a two-disc set from Netflix and we’re reluctant to start the series only to have to wait for the second disk to arrive. Hopefully we’ll get it watched on New Year’s Day and mail the disc back soon.

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This and that

I was planning to write another post about “The Time of the Doctor” today, but I’m just not feeling inspired. Maybe it’s because I’m more in a music mood than a word mood today. Maybe it’s because I’m at work and about 75% of the office is on vacation and the rest of us are all kind of sitting around wishing we weren’t here. My boss and I spent the first hour of the morning just chatting about stuff. It’s that kind of a day.

My husband and I were watching “Utopia” last night. Now he wants a Hermits United t-shirt that says, “Meeting up every ten years to trade stories about caves.” The ones we found on the web are not adequate. I wish I had any artistic talent so that I could make it myself.

Sent a Doctor Who thing to the printer today, and it reminded me of a co-worker’s Facebook status earlier this year, when I was printing out reference pics for my Fourth and Fifth Doctor costumes:

Sadly, I didn’t have a pic of the Sixth Doctor ready to send to the printer.

It’s interesting what things will stick in your mind. We’ve watched “The Day of the Doctor” at least ten times now, and of course, being fans, we pick up on the classic lines and use them in casual conversations, or just blurt them out randomly. (“They’re not sandshoes!” “Yes, they are!”) That’s pretty much natural for people with brains as sticky as ours. For some reason, the one that’s taken over my mind the most is, “Is something funny? Did I miss a funny thing?” I get at least two opportunities to say it every day, and it never fails to make me giggle. And I’m not even sure why.

Ok, that’s enough stream-of-consciousness for now. Back to pretending to work.

 

Merry Christmas!

Hey there! Just a quick post to say Happy Holidays to everyone! Have a wonderful and safe Christmas!

A couple of other quick things

  • If you’re playing Doctor Who: Legacy, they just released a promo code that gives you all of the Advent calendar content: 42M7-59EG-MV77-VRUW
  • I realized that I’m missing two Christmas specials from our holiday line up that we’ll need to watch: “The Snowmen” and The End of Time (which means I’ll spend the evening crying my eyes out again).

Holiday traditions

I’ve just instituted a new holiday tradition here in our house: each day before Christmas, we’re going to watch one of the existent Doctor Who Christmas special. Order doesn’t matter, just that we do so. We watched “A Christmas Carol” yesterday, and we watched “The Runaway Bride” today. Tomorrow will be “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,” and Tuesday will probably be “The Next Doctor.” Unfortunately, I started this too late to get to “The Christmas Invasion,” so either we’ll skip it or double up today. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who do this, but boy do we feel inventive! (roll eyes)

Actually, this started yesterday with me wanted to refresh my memory of “A Christmas Carol” for other reasons and my husband complaining that I was watching Doctor Who without him. It then occurred to me that it was a Christmas special (sometimes I’m really slow) and that it would be cool to watch all of them during the holidays. The day then devolved into watching all kinds of Doctor Who stuff. We hadn’t watched the special extra disc that came with the huge blu-ray gift set, so I did that. A lot of that wasn’t worth the first viewing (it’s amazing how many people they’ll get to talk on these retrospective shows that don’t have a thing worth saying), but the 2010 Proms was worth it. Of course, I love orchestral music, so I’m biased, but I made it clear that the next time there’s a Doctor Who Proms, I’m going to it.

The Doctor, Donna, and Agatha Christie

The Doctor, Donna, and Agatha Christie

We then spent the evening watching series 4 episodes, which reinforced our love of Donna Noble, who’s in my opinion the best companion in the reboot show (possibly in the entire show; jury’s out on that until I’ve seen all of it). It’s really sad that she only got one season’s worth of shows, because she really shone. Series 4 especially was all about the Doctor needing someone to keep him grounded, and Donna was the best at it.  She was loyal and devoted, but she didn’t take crap from him and always made sure to point out the other side of the situation when he wasn’t seeing it. She was also clever, contributing from a pragmatic view of the world (for example, spotting that the ATMOS factory had no sick days in its workforce), something that none of the modern companions have ever been able to do. In my opinion, the Doctor may have lost his lover in Rose, but he lost his family in Donna.

Today, I believe we’re watching “Turn Left,” and then jumping over to the Eleventh Doctor to get back into the whole Impossible Astronaut storyline. I still don’t understand that whole thing too well, and it’s time I fixed that.

Doing it right

With the Christmas special only twelve days away, the hype is building for the regeneration of Matt Smith into Peter Capaldi. While regeneration episodes always make me giddy, I can’t claim that I’m really excited for “The Time of the Doctor.” The greatest part of that is because of the 50th anniversary events: I was so excited for the story of the War Doctor and the appearance of both Mr. Smith and David Tennant in the same episode – and the event was as good as I’d hoped – that I’m still on the fadeaway from it.

Part of it also comes from the fact that I didn’t watch the show until very recently (has it only been 4 months since I first saw “Rose?”) and regret not having seen the handoff between Mr. Tennant and Mr. Smith. I still cry every time I watch The End of Time. Can you imagine how heartbreaking it would have been if I had seen it with the rest of the world? And I still maintain my stance on publicizing regenerationsThe End of Time would have been far more dramatic (and traumatic!) if we didn’t know that Mr. Tennant was leaving and therefore the Tenth Doctor was regenerating at the end of the episode.

I do, though, have the advantage of viewing the events in the light of hindsight, after all the dust has settled and we can see how events panned out, and something struck me recently about the Ten to Eleven handover. The last four episodes of the Tenth Doctor were shown in 2010, as specials, rather than part of a season of 13 (or 14) episodes. The reason for this was that Russell T. Davies was stepping down as executive producer, and Steven Moffat was given a year to adjust to taking over.

Think about this. The BBC let Doctor Who basically take a year’s sabbatical to let the show adjust itself to a new leader and a new cast. That’s a year without (or at least with lessened) revenue from one of its biggest hits. Is this a British thing or a BBC? Because I cannot imagine an American company allowing a hit TV show a year off. They’d be too concerned about losing momentum, advertisers, and merchandising opportunities, not to mention the logistics of storing the sets and making sure that the actors and staff will be coming back after a year. To me, though, the BBC, at least with respect to Doctor Who, is more concerned about doing it right, rather than following the bottom line.

There’s been a couple of other instances of this kind of thing. As you know, I’ve been playing the iOS/Android game Doctor Who: Legacy. Yesterday, they posted on their Facebook page,

“As you may know if you follow us on Twitter / FB — we made this game for you the fans and really care what you think. Last week, someone in the community had a really cool idea for a special Xmas level we could release—so we worked quickly with the BBC and we’re pushing to have this in by Christmas Day! This is in addition to all of the content already planned between now and then. Thanks and please keep the ideas coming.”

This might not seem momentous, but it is. Look at what they’re saying: The makers of DW:L, Tiny Rebel Games, are not part of the BBC. They are an independent company, and their request to put in a fan-suggested level, which requires licensing approval at the very least (and probably a lot more), was responded to by the BBC quickly enough that they’re able to promise the content to the fans within a week of the idea being proposed. This is absolutely amazing. I work in gaming industry, and when working with licensed properties, you’d be lucky to get a turnaround time of a month, even when the game team and the property are part of the same company. The BBC must be doing something right: either their management is very efficient, or they are taking the time to be very responsive to their partners.

One last very small instance. I had a technical problem with DW:L on my iPad yesterday, and, not finding a main website for the game (I didn’t look too hard), I sent a note off to their Facebook page asking for help, and I received a reply within ten minutes. This means that their social media team is alive and paying attention. They don’t just consider their Facebook page as a place to put up images to get people to play their game: they use it to engage with their players. Being an avid gamer (at least, before Doctor Who took over my life), I’ve been on many, many forums and support sites, and only the very best get back to you quickly and talk to you as a person. The vast majority say that they’ll get back to you within 48 hours and send you form letter responses of “have you uninstalled and reinstalled” to the most detailed error descriptions you give them. Which do you think makes me want to continue playing the game?

This is why it’s important to do it right. Maybe spending less time and money on infrastructure and support may increase your bottom line right now, but it’s worth the time if you want to build a community of consumers and fans that will endure.

Somewhere else, the tea is getting cold

The trailer for “The Time of the Doctor” has just been released. It’s very short and doesn’t tell you anything, but whets your appetite for the upcoming Christmas special – which is exactly what trailers should do. I actually avoid most movie trailers because they tend to show you all the best parts of the movie and often show you the entire plot. What’s the point of seeing the movie if you already know what’s going to happen? On the other hand, I’ll watch the trailer for any Avengers universe movie. Yes, there are a few things other than Doctor Who which will command my attention.

I’m a little disappointed with the poem in the voiceover, done by Jenna-Louise Coleman. The words are

“And now it’s time for one last bow,

like all your other selves.

Eleven’s hour is over now.

The clock is striking twelve’s.”

The numbers in the poem are clearly meant to refer to Matt Smiths’ incarnation and Peter Capaldi’s incarnations, but with Clara doing the narration, she’s referring to them by their numbers, which is never done in the show – the Doctor doesn’t think of himself as “Eleven,” even though we in the fan base call him that because it’s the easiest way to refer to a specific incarnation. The Doctor of course knows which number incarnation he’s in, but he doesn’t think of himself as that number (I suppose much like the last member of a triplet doesn’t think of himself as “Three”). I’d prefer they keep the universe and the fanverse separate, but that’s probably the extremely pedantic me talking.

I received the 50th anniversary blu-ray in the mail on the 9th, one day before the actual release date. Gotta love Amazon pre-orders! The edition itself is unimpressive: it has the episode, “The Last Day” and “The Night of the Doctor” mini-sodes, the trailers, and a couple of behind-the-scenes special features. It does not have any of the “The Doctors Revisited” episodes that are included in the 50th anniversary package that’s available for streaming on Amazon. And the most disappointing part is that it doesn’t have “The Five(-ish) Doctors Reboot,” which, if you’ve read older posts, you know that I absolutely love and want a hard copy of. I am hoping that sometime in the future there will be a more extensive release of the 50th anniversary content, and if it’s substantial, I will buy it.

The disc also came with a pack of 50th anniversary trading cards, which I haven’t opened because the pack is so pretty. I’m a sucker for collecting trading cards. I used to collect cards for shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation way back when, and I refuse to look at trading cards in stores because I know I will want to start collecting again. I really would love to collect these cards, but I can’t find them online; I think they haven’t been released yet. Dodged that bullet, at least for now.

Anyway, so I watched “The Day of the Doctor” again last night. We spent a lot of it searching for clues as to when the Eleventh Doctor forgets about what happened to the War Doctor. The sees the time fissure appear in the museum and says, “I remember this. Almost remember,” and that’s what we tried to figure out: at what point in the narrative did he no longer remember. He remembers the fissure and seems to remember the fez, but does not remember meeting the Eleventh Doctor when he was the Tenth Doctor. (Oh, I love how confusing discussing the Doctor’s self-meetings can become.) We came to the conclusion that it isn’t possible to sort it all out, and it’s better just to enjoy the show.

After all these viewings, tears still came to my eyes when the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors put their hands on the War Doctor’s to help him with firing the Moment. And the convergence of the thirteen Doctors on Gallifrey still makes my heart soar. And my husband still thinks my alternate timestream theory is bollocks. Life is good.

And now for something completely different. My friend and I are planning a trip to Great Britain next year. Neither of us has ever traveled abroad, and we chose the UK because we are both anglophiles. We’re planning to spend most of the time in London and a bit up in Scotland, but I’ve decided to insist on a trip to Wales to see, among other things, the Doctor Who Experience: after seeing what’s in that museum in “The Five(-ish) Doctors Reboot,” especially the TARDIS console displays, I have to see it. I’ve also started to try drinking tea, so that I can really get the whole British experience while traveling. It’s something I’ve hated ever since I was a child, but, I had a cup of plain Earl Grey tea this morning, and it was pretty good. I think maybe my tastes have matured a little.

You know you’ve been watching too much Doctor Who when…

Is there really such a thing as too much Doctor Who? Not as far as I’m concerned. But, like most obsessions, it can really creep into your daily life. These are not just things that I’ve thought of to be funny. These are things I’ve actually done without premeditation. (One thing I’ve done with premeditation is pull out my sonic screwdriver toy and fire it at the car’s trunk at the moment my husband hit the remote control button to open it.)

You know you’ve been watching too much Doctor Who when…

  1. …while watching Thor: The Dark World and they start fighting in Greenwich, your first, serious thought is “Aw man, London is getting destroyed AGAIN!”
  2. …apologizing to someone, you say, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
  3. …someone taps on the table “tap tap tap tap…tap tap tap tap…tap tap tap tap” and you jump and look around for the Master.
  4. …to turn 90 degrees to the right, you spin dramatically on your heels.
  5. …you smile that wide, toothy, impish David Tennant grin. (It does not look good on me and I’ve consciously stopped myself from trying to do that anymore.)
  6. …you notice that your new shoes, which are dark brown with blue stitching and have laces that are dark brown with thin blue stripes, look like the Tenth Doctor’s suit. (They are now my favorite shoes!)
  7. …you turn the key in the car ignition while saying, “And now we fire up the helmic regulator!” In a British accent, of course.
  8. …you constantly sing “Song for Ten.” Everywhere – at home, in the shower, at work, driving to work, walking through a parking lot…