My first Who regeneration experience and some thoughts about the latest one...

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Summary: I have been in the Whooligan boat long enough that I've seen a few [technically, all!] regenerations. Some quick thoughts.

BLOT: (22 Aug 2014 - 07:09:41 AM)

My first Who regeneration experience and some thoughts about the latest one...

My first regeneration experience was Tom Baker turning into Peter Davidson. I was...I don't know, young (note: this would have been something like 1986, on PBS re-runs). The Doctor is crushed by a long fall from a satellite dish, having just protected the Universe itself. "The Watcher" approaches. They blend together and form into the Fifth Doctor. At the time, I had no real grasp of what Doctor Who was. I had been watching Tom Baker since "The Face of Evil" [so something like a year and a half of Saturday night TV between the two]. I was probably too young [and it came on too late at night, being something like 9:30-10:30pm] for me to quite understand the storyline, so some of the stories ran together. I thought Cybermen were in more episodes than they were, and I remember thinking Davros was a oft-recurring character, even though I had only seen him a couple of times (during the middling "Destiny of the Daleks" episodes). My first thought on seeing the Doctor regenerate was something like "That's weird..." and it quickly changed into "That's NEAT!". A hero who can escape death by reshaping himself into a whole new body? Who becomes a cousin to his former self in exchange for the power to keep going? That's crazy talk. I remember my brother Danny not quite liking it, though he only watched a few episodes with me. For me, a person obsessed with the mercurial nature of things and the ungraspability of infinity, it filled an itch.

I partially say this because I know people are going to lose their shit tomorrow and be all "BUT HE'S NOT MATT SMITH!!!!" and I've never quite gotten the hang of these new Doctor Who fans who don't embrace one of the central weirdnesses of the show.

I am more curious to see how the show goes forward and regenerates itself, again. The subtle shifts in tone has generally been overlooked in comparison to the distinct shifts in actors, but are just as important. The show has, over the past few seasons, developed a reliance on deus ex machinas and the mythological importance of the Doctor and cosmic crisis every seasons and I'd like to see all three moved away from slightly. Part of the as-a-whole fun of Doctor Who has been that he is this uber-professor-adventurer but has limits and doubts, all the way back to Hartnell's First ready to kill a caveman in cold blood because he was scared of the complications of letting him live. I got the feeling that Matt Smith was often wanting to tap into that in ways that the story lines weren't allowing (occasionally reaching moments of brilliance in scenes that should have been cheesy). Maybe Capaldi can have a bit more luck. Or maybe not, because the show might try a completely different tack and confirm Lungbarrow, who knows...[well, presumably Moffat knows...]

Doctor Who


Written by Doug Bolden

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