One of my favorite marks of the Doctor’s character is the way they respond to meeting all manner of monsters. When I first began watching Doctor Who this was one of the earliest signs of how different a hero they were than I was used to. Time and again – no matter how scary or threatening or unapproachable whatever the Doctor finds in the universe may appear – their first reaction is never one of fear or judgment. They certainly never attack. Rather, they marvel at its beauty. They are overcome with joy and excitement at seeing something they’ve never seen before. And, if what they encounter appears frightened or injured, they are moved by compassion and offer help. In all this they are a beautifully important model for us, too. As Steven Moffatt, the Doctor Who showrunner for Series 5-10, rightly observed, “There will never come a time when we don’t need a hero like the Doctor.”
It’s officially December so that means it ‘tis the season. As I was decorating a few days ago I was, naturally, rocking out to some Christmas carols. When “What Christmas Means To Me” came on I danced and sang along as loud as I could. I didn’t get much decorating done for those ten minutes (because who only listens to that tune one time??) but the break was festive and fun and totally worth it. It’s always been a favorite Christmas song of mine and every time Steve Wonder’s classic is covered it makes me happy because it means I have even more chances to hear it randomly playing in a store or on the radio. Anyway, as I was singing along it got me thinking about what Christmas means to me (my love!). I thought it would be interesting to reflect on that with a series of posts through December. And then I thought using Doctor Who’s Christmas specials as a frame for those reflections could be fun. So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 1)? Well, let’s turn to “Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned” and talk about it!
Last spring, for our Fiction’s Fearless Females series, I wrote a piece about Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor. In it I said she had officially taken the top place in my heart from David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t adore Ten with all my heart! I just love Thirteen more. So last week, as both Jodie Whittaker and David Tennant joined James Cordon (who was also on Doctor Who with Matt Smith!) on The Late Late Show, I was in heaven. Then I started thinking about how AMAZING it would be if we could see these two together on screen, side by side, both playing their respective Doctor. And, while I trust showrunner Chris Chibnall to pull it off far better than I could, I contemplated how I’d do it. So, as far as I’m concerned, this is how these two Doctors could meet. Continue reading
As I roll past day forty in quarantine, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the Doctor Who specials that marked the end of David Tennant’s run as the Doctor. Not so much the finale two-parter which contained his showdown with the Master, but rather “The Next Doctor” (Dec 2008), “Planet of the Dead” (April 2009), and “The Waters of Mars” (Nov 2009). The reason these specials have been on my mind is they explore the Doctor travelling alone, roaming the whole of time and space without any companion(s) by his side. The pain of loneliness and isolation are universal – something we all experience, in various degrees and at various times in our lives. In fact, I’d wager this constant struggle with loneliness is part of what makes the Doctor such an appealing character. We all can relate. While always relevant, this seems particularly poignant now. Continue reading
One of my favorite Doctor Who tropes is the use of alien creatures to explain legends and myths (as well as integrate these creatures – in a very Doctor Who-esque way – into the show). We’ve seen a Haemovariform crash-land on Earth and be mistaken for a werewolf in Scotland in 1879 (S2,E2). There was a band of Saturnyns creating vampire-like “brides” for their remaining male population in 1580 Venice (S5,E6). The reason beings on most planets are instinctively afraid of the dark is explained with the presence of the flesh-eating Vashta Nerada, who we see as the dust in sunbeams (S4,E8). The occasional movement we see flicker, out of the corner of our eye, when we look in mirrors is the “daughter” of “the Family of Blood,” forever trapped in all mirrors by the Doctor (S3,E9). The list goes on. But the one most fascinating to me is when the Doctor and Rose encounter “the Beast.” Continue reading