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August 02, 2013


I really have never gotten into Dr. Who

me neither.

it just seems silly: unintentionally so.

I tend to like people who like Dr. Who, but I don't like Dr. Who. I tried a few times, but nada.

My wife says her brother used to torture her by watching Dr. Who and hogging the TV when they were kids. It always seemed weird to me, because he wasn't like the people I knew who watched Dr. Who. My Dr. Who-liking friends were nerdy and did well (enough) in school. My brother-in-law was a drop-out, semi-delinquent type. So, as far as I can tell from my anecdotal data, he was atypical.

"it just seems silly: unintentionally so."

The older ones were a children's show, I think. The newer ones are intentionally funny, with a bit of drama thrown in that works to some degree if you like the characters--the endings aren't completely happy. The plot details are silly--I don't think they even try to make the technobabble make sense. Maybe someone tries to keep track of what River and the Doctor know about each other, given that their personal timelines as they jump back and forth through history are all garbled up and their first meetings are different for the two of them. But I don't know if the writers are truly consistent on that--haven't kept up with it that closely.

Doctor Who is not really something you get into - either you grew up with it or you didn't.
And if you were not young during the incarnations of either Tom Baker or David Tennant, you quite possibly still don't get it.

Non fans have to appreciate that many of the shows fans believe that much of the show has ranged from mediocre to rubbish, but that mediocrity is occasionally enlivened by a moment of brilliance (fans will regularly disagree on what is mediocre and what is excellent).

This is, interestingly, the bookies' favourite for the next Doctor (the actor Peter Capaldi) ...

It's an interesting question why particular science fiction/fantasy shows grab the popular imagination (in one place or another). While others, apparently just as good, do not.

I can see why the original StarTrek too off -- it was miles ahead of anything before. But does anyone have an explanation why the later StarTrek spinoffs did well? Or why something like Warehouse 13 is surviving while Firefly went nowhere? I would be interested to hear some ideas. It certainly isn't better science, or better acting, or better directing....

I think in the case of Firefly Executive Meddling was one of the main reasons, like broadcasting the series out of order and forcing Whedon to do The Train Job on the quick making it the opener. "Sorry, we will not send the pilot first. Could you please produce an episode till to-morrow at noon, so we can send it in the evening. Thank you in advance." I guess the studio bosses also hated the idea of an intelligent genre crossover that did not even include any aliens.

Btw, has anyone here seen the original Star Trek pilot? It's simply hilarious. There was no Spock yet since the suits feared he looked too demonic with his black hair and trademark ears.

Germany did its own first SF (mini)series parallel to (and independent of) Star Trek. It still has a cult following. It did not take itself too seriously (very atypical for the time) and was in more than one aspect more advanced than Star Trek (e.g. no bridge bunnies but no less than 3 female main characters that could pull their full weight and were treated as equal to the males. No redshirts either).

Doctor Who is not really something you get into - either you grew up with it or you didn't. And if you were not young during the incarnations of either Tom Baker or David Tennant, you quite possibly still don't get it.

Then I must be a real outlier. I've been a scifi fan my whole life, but could not get into Dr. Who for many, many decades. The show was just too... ponderous, I guess; not to mention cheesy.

I gave it another shot about midway through the 11th Doctor-Amy-and-Rory arc and was totally captivated. Loved them, love River Song, love the way time and the universe keep doubling in on themselves and being recreated/alternativized.

(I quite liked the 10th Doctor, too, once I saw him in action; and now, far too late, am pissed off that Torchwood's been cancelled.)

Better late than never, eh?

When did Pete Townshend earn a doctorate. I think he's a honorary of something or other.

I liked Peter Davison better as Dr. Herriot than Dr. Who.

That is all

Is there a name for Dr. Who fans? I was thinking that there wasn't, which might be indicative of a lack of traction in the US, but this page says that they are 'Whovians". Is this an American only thing, or do folks in the UK follow this naming thing?

Googling suggests that "Whovian" is in fact used by some people in the UK today.

But I suspect the term is of US origin and gets more use in the US. In the UK, Doctor Who fandom isn't such a cultic, subcultural thing; it's a family show and a cultural institution.

"Then I must be a real outlier. I've been a scifi fan my whole life, but could not get into Dr. Who for many, many decades. The show was just too... ponderous, I guess; not to mention cheesy."

I'm a bit of an outlier as well. I watched the old show, but didn't really care that much about it--cheesy as you say. But the new ones are good, often very funny, and I love the characters. The technobabble is still cheesy--it makes Star Trek look almost like the Astrophysical Journal. But it doesn't matter.

OK, they picked sweary guy.
Which is good, as he's a fine actor.

Shame is that they're retaining Steven Moffat as lead scriptwriter and executive producer. His sexual politics remain anchored somewhere in the 1970s (and it shows in the scripts).

Donald, being a scifi fan has little to do with it.

In its heyday, Dr Who was watched by a very large percentage of the UK viewing public, getting up to 16 million viewers under Douglas Adams' script editorship in the late 1970s, despite its parsimonious budgets and sometimes risible production values.

It remains more of a national institution than a science fiction series. Many of us hold in our minds the platonic ideal of a Dr Who episode, which is very rarely achieved on screen. We keep watching nonetheless.

In cultural terms, one might consider that.Dr Who is the longest running scifi series worldwide by quite some distance:

Looking at that list, it's striking how over-represented the UK is in long running tv shows.
Had I not drunk an excessive amount of rum in celebration of the Engalnd cricket team avoiding the follow on ( ) in the third Test, I might comment intelligently - or even intelligibly - about the inherent conservatism of the UK public, but as it is, I'll just have to throw it out there....

I suppose you are to be congratulated on avoiding the follow on - the tail wagged quite a bit, I see - and with the rain to help out the English (as it so often does) you may yet retain the Ashes.

But not just as an erstwhile Australia fan (dating back to Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and that gang) but as a lover or sport, I'm a bit disappointed that Oz looks about to be deprived of a deserved victory, which would also leave the series still in the balance.

And isn't drinking rum to celebrate an English escape from disaster (think Dunkirk) a little, well, West Indian? I'd have thought gin (with or without "it") or best bitter would have been the potation of choice.

Unless, of course, your background is RN: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash!

That was supposed to be "lover OF sport," but I guess "lover or sport" will do.

This might be related to Dr Science's post about the 3rd year curse of series TV, which is really about TV in the US. Churning out between 20-26 episodes, it really demands a workflow that is akin to a sausage factory. British TV, on the other hand, is not as confined by the notion of a season, nor are the programs shackled to a schedule of commercials that dictates virtually all of the dramatic tension and release, at least on network TV. It suggests to me that in some way, the US may be more conservative than the UK public, in that conservatism is often baked into structures, but that is probably taking this way farther than Nigel would be willing to.

Congrats on England, and while not speaking for anyone but myself, there is enough material in Cricket for a whole year of daily posts, including my fave, the concept of sledging. dr ngo? guest post from Nigel?

"Lover or sport" dr ngo should not write off Australia just yet...

WICKET- Cook lbw b Harris 0 (Eng 0-1)
What a poor review but, more importantly, what a massive strike for Australia. England would have looked to Alastair Cook to be one of their men most likely to bat for a long period, but Ryan Harris has sent him back for a duck. Full of length, swinging back, stone dead in front of all three. Australia are one-tenth of the way there. What a start....

WICKET - Trott c Haddin b Harris 11 (Eng 15-2)
Start to worry. Australia are delirious as Jonathan Trott gets a little feather down the leg side off Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin skipping across to complete the catch. Trott doesn't bother asking for Root's opinion, he's off without a hint of a review. England's two most stoic batsmen are back in the hutch, Australia only eight good bits of cricket from winning this match.

84 overs to survive - if the weather holds out.

Not exactly a sledge, but this is my favourite:
During the Bodyline series of 1932-33, The English Captain Douglas Jardine came to the Australian dressing to make a complaint to Australian Captain Bill Woodfull, that one of the Australian players had called him a Bastard.
Woodfull responded by turning to his team mates, pointing to Jardine and uttering the immortal line:
“Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard”

All over now - rain stopped play.

And not even a brief sunny spell to give the Australians a false sense of hope that could be dashed all over again....

As one of my English friends put it:
The Ashes are safe. Thank you to the Gods of Rain! —

I figure it's just like the Spanish Armada - England can't win in a fair fight, so they invoke their foul weather to give them the edge.

If there's going to be a cricket son of Dr. Who thread I have to throw in

although I daresay most fans have long ago seen it.

Thanks, JakeB. I had seen it, but long ago, and it certainly bears re-watching.

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