The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who: A Few Thoughts

I just got back from watching the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. Twice. I would love to post a very fangirly, spoilery ramble about my thoughts, but I may save that for tomorrow. Today, I would just like to take a moment to commemorate what the 50th anniversary really means, and how much this show means to me.

50 years. This show has been running for 50 entire years. That’s more than triple how long I’ve been alive. It is so fascinating to see how times have changed since then. Wars have been lost, and won. There have been moments of bleak despair, and moments of untarnishable hope. Perhaps recently there has been a bit more despair than hope, but I know that it was the same way when Doctor Who first aired. Inventions have been created that were unimaginable since then, new technologies and innovations and medical discoveries that have shaped the world we know around us. Yet through all of the changes the core of the show has remained the same: a loveably mad Time Lord with a blue box, off to see the Universe, to save the day, to have adventures. And no matter how much the show changes in the next (hopefully) 50 years, that core will remain the same.

I wanted to do something really special for the 50th. It’s not every day a brilliant TV show celebrates its anniversary of being around for an entire fifty years. I wanted to watch all the Classic Doctors, or cosplay a different character every week, or bake another TARDIS cake, or write an epic fanfic, or do drawings, or write long, in-depth, character analysises. But, even though I have had an apallingly large amount of free time recently, I still have other important matters to attend to, like homework and NaNoWriMo and my ongoing mission to seek out new life, new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before (or maybe just traverse to the fridge to grab some ice cream to eat on my procrastination endeavors). I think that represents another theme of Doctor Who: the importance, in spite of staggering events, of the little things, the ordinary things we take for granted. So you could say that my tribute to the 50th anniversary is that I just kept on doing what I normally do, if in a rather more excited fashion than usual.

The drawings, of course, and the long character analysises and the cakes and the cosplays and the fanfics and the speculations and the Trock band I’ve decided to call Cardboard Dalek, will come later. Just because this is a celebration of the past 50 years doesn’t mean this is the end. Perhaps there’s another 50 years in store for us.

Sometimes I don’t feel like a real Whovian. I only started watching the show in June, and even though I’ve seen all of New Who I haven’t seen a single episode of Classic Who, yet. Still, even in that short time this show has done so much to better my life, cheesy as that may sound. I’ve always been an optimist. It’s one of the qualities I despise in myself, actually, though I have no control over it. I’ve been restless lately. Nowhere to go but school and home for the past six or so months, and that wears on me more than being busy does. It’s getting me down. But Doctor Who has helped restore in me something I never thought I’d loose: hope. For every moment that rips my heart out and leaves me sobbing there’s another that fills me up with the wonders of the Universe. There is such a strong sense of wonder, of hope, in the creation of Doctor Who, that it can’t not rub off on me.

One of the things I love about Doctor Who is the number of things it can be at once. Funny, terrifying, suspensful, adventerous, deep, profound, entertaining, heartbreaking, inspiring–all can happen within the space of of just a few minutes. And I love it. I love that this is a show that can make me kaugh and cry at the same time. That whatever mood I’m in there’s generally some quote from the show that describes it perfectly. It makes me think, it makes me sad, it brightens my day, and it consumes me with its dimensions. Maybe I am obbsessed, but why not? There are so many wonderful, wonderful things about this show that it’d be a shame for me not to be.

And of course, there’s the music. The music is absolutely fantastic, brilliant, molto bene. It’s become my favorite thing to listen to. So much so that I’m dancing to a song composed by Murray Gold for a choreography assigment in dance class.

When the Doctor lands in a new world, the earth shakes. His presence has such a huge effect on the lives of those around him, whether for good or bad, and it changes them. After meeting the Doctor briefly only once, Lorna Bucket decides to join the cleric military just to have a chance to see him again. He has that much influence. The Doctor has shaken up my world as well. Provided a new and interesting thing to spend my fangirly time on, to ponder and to question and to be inspired by. And I am grateful.

I wanted to weave a bunch of quotes through this post, since there are so, so many I like. I wanted to choose the absolute perfect quote to end on. Well, as I’ve said, there’s a lot of things’s I’ve wanted in relation to the 50th anniversary special, so I’ll take my leave in the words of the Ninth Doctor, a message to the show I have come to love:

“Before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”

The Night of the Doctor: An Analysis

If you are a Whovian (translation: Doctor Who fan) like I am, you’ll know that the minisode The Night of the Doctor aired a few days ago (it can be watched here, and I reccomend you do so to be able to understand this post). It features the Eighth Doctor, and as someone who has not yet seen his only other onsceen appearance, his movie, it may be a bit presumtuous of me to post an analysis without more of his character to go on, but I have really been wanting to write this. I have not yet seen Eight’s movie for lack of trying. I would like to take a short moment to glare at whoever decided to damaged the library’s only copy.

I wasn’t sure whether to just dive right in wih my feelings or go frame by frame, so I think I’ll do some of both. And again, as I have not seen Eight, some of my interpretations could be totally inncorrect, but bear with me.

I’ve been hearing quite a lot over the past few months about Eight fans’ worries about Moffat entirely messing up Eight and getting his character wrong, so I was relieved to hear that many of them were satisfied with the minisode, because I am too. I thought it was very well done and I was very happy that Eight finally got a regeneration. But more on that later.

0:09 Is it just me or does the computer sound rather smug here? Just a thought. Computers can have a way of sounding exraordinarily smug.

0:18 EIGHT!!! When I watched this minisode for the first time, that was also the first time I’d seen/heard the Eighth Doctor, and I immediately loved him. Maybe I’m biased because I know so many wonderful Eight fans, but I really like his opening lines in this, and the way he says them. “I’m a Doctor. Though probably not the one you were expecting.”

During the theme, more fangirling over Eight ensues. I sorely hope the movie will be ready at the library soon because I want to see it now more than ever.

0:38 As a side note, I like the way Eight walks here. That sounds strange, but it puts me in mind of brave adventurers and Shakespearean swordfights. Perhaps that’s the costume. I love Eight partially because of the costume. (Which I am not entirely sure is the same as his in the movie, so if you know, comment?)

0:46 When the Doctor says “Welcome aboard” and Cass says “Aboard what?” with so much longing in her voice, the way she smiles hopefully after she says it because she sees an escape, it’s heartbreaking. Especially considering what happens shortly afterward. I find the Doctor’s ability to instill hope in people so wonderful, it’s part of what makes the show so powerful, and that as well makes this moment particularly sad.

I love the music that plays while they’re running back to the TARDIS. Very dramatic and adventerous.

1:04 “I wanted to see the Universe.” The words spoken by so many throughout time and space by many a wanderer. Often in scenarios that sooner or later result in death, injury, destruction, or heartbreak. Every time I hear this line I like to think about how huge the Universe is, how dangerous, and how beautiful. And how we can none of us fully comprehend any of it.

1:06 “Is it always like this?” “If you’re lucky.” I love that brief little exchange. It’s so Doctor-y, and for me a touch nostalgic too. It makes me think fond, happy thoughts of a certain Time Lord and all his regenerations.

1:13 We’re starting to build up to it…

1:20 …and BAM! The pure and utter loathing in her voice when Cass says “Don’t touch me” is still moving to me. A few seconds ago he was her salvation, and now she couldn’t hate him more.

1:22 Oh Eight…”I’m not part of the war. I never was. I swear to you.” And then later he says he’s one of the nice Time Lords. I would love to see Time War episodes of Doctor Who to analyze Time Lords before, after, and during it to see how they change.

1:31 “Well look on the bright side, I’m not a Dalek!” “Who can tell the difference anymore?”
Oooooooooohhhhhhhh. Thses lines. These two lines are so, so powerful every time I hear them. The implication that the Time War has been so corrupting that the Time Lords are morally no better than their enemies, the Daleks, is staggering. This is part of why I’m okay with Eight being relieved of the burden of the Time War. He already gets hurt an exponential amount in the EDAs alone, I’d hate to think of him having to go through the entire war, especially because the Doctor has always been just that–a Doctor, a healer–and the war would change that.

1:37 Though I’m mad at Cass for hurting the Doctor, I can see why she does it, and I admire her dedication. She seals the door. She would rather die than associate with a Time Lord. Again with the power of the Time War.

1:41 “Go back to your battlefield. You haven’t finished yet. Some of the Universe is still standing.” Again. How terrible, how truely, utterly, horrifically brutal the Time War must be. And I don’t think Eight could have withstood all that evil as the Doctor. The Doctor is strong, but that much bad changes a person.

1:49 “I’m not leaving this ship without you.” Oh, Eight. Valiant to the last.

2:14 When I first heard them mention “Karn” I thought they said “Khan”, which led me to immitate Captain James Tyberious Kirk in a long, dramatic scream of “Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!”

2:24 I think the music that plays here is part of the episodes The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, though I forget what the track is called at the moment.

2:31 I’m not dead yet!

2:32 I think the music that plays here is what the siren sings during The Curse of the Black Spot in season six.

2:52 “Four minutes? That’s ages. What if I get bored, or need a television, couple of books, anyone up for chess, bring me knitting.” I love you, Eight.

3:13 “Keepers of the Flame of Utter Boredom.” “Eternal Life.” “That’s the one.” Have I mentioned how much I like Eight? This quick exchange gives very good insight into the Doctor’s character.

3:45 I love the whole exchange with Eight saying it isn’t his war, and the Sister of Karn (I don’t know her specific name) countering that he can’t avoid the Time War forever, because I think it applies well to real life. Wars are inescapable, no matter what you do or where you live.

3:52 “Because you are a good man.” “I call myself the Doctor.” “It’s the same thing in your mind.” “I’d like to think so.” These lines are wonderful food for thought. What is good, and bad? What is the Doctor? Doctor means healer, but is it ever anything else than that? (Also I think the music playing here is Space 1969 from series six.)

During the whole part where the Sister of Karn is trying to convince Eight to join the Time War, I think she sounds very much like Galadriel. Not here voice, but the inflections, the tone, the way she uses volume and rhythm and whispers.

4:26 “You’re a part of this, Doctor.” “I would rather die.” “You’re dead already. How many more will you let join you?” Death as a theme is always very interesting to analyze in Doctor Who because the show has a lot to say on the subject about death and who’s responsible and its impacts.

5:05 Eight makes the decision to become a warrior.

5:09 “I don’t suppose there’s any need for a Doctor anymore.” *sobs* This minisode is riddled with powerful lines.

5:24 The music that begins here is more from series six, but again, I’ve forgotten the track.

5:34 There’s been lot’s of discussion about why he only mentions certain characters, and not Grace, who was his companion in the movie, but the one I like is a sad, spoilery one so SPOILERS FOR THE COMPANIONS MENTIONED IN THE MINISODE with the exception of Molly, whose story I believe isn’t finished yet, these are the companions that have died, which is so powerful and so interesting. OKAY SPOILERS DONE NOW.

5:48 “Physician, heal thyself.” EIGHT!!! He finally gets a regeneration. Not only that, but he gets a regeneration with beautiful, chilling, heartbreaking last words. I cried, and I haven’t seen Eight apart from this minisode. The fact that he’s casting off his title as Doctor, that he’s trying to cure himself of helping others because there’s a war on, is powerful and staggering and tragic and heartbreaking and so many words I could fill a page with them. I love his last words so much, and in my Doctor Who book it lists them as “unknown”, but now I have crossed that off and written in the words the fandom has waited for for 17 years.

6:21 Still more series six music.

6:36 “Doctor no more.” I just…I can’t.

Comments? Critiques? Questions? Thoughts?