Saturday Waffling (October 19th, 2013)

(73 comments)

Well that was a bit of a week.

I've a vacation at the end of the month, which I'm trying, in one of those doomed quest sorts of things one endeavors to do occasionally, not to spend most of working, on the logic that maybe I should try taking more than a single day off in a row for the first time since March. I hear all the cool kids do it. So in any case, it's been a lot of getting ahead on the blog so that becomes possible.

Wonder Woman should be out imminently - I just need to do the layout, and to get the final cover design settled with James. Unfortunately, there's been a snafu there - I gave the Kickstarter money to a family member to hold in an interest bearing account while I wrote the book, so I didn't accidentally dip into it. Said family member just informed me they would not be returning it to me. So that's a problem. (To be clear, this is just the Wonder Woman Kickstarter money - the Hartnell v2 money is safe in my own hands.) Not a huge problem - it just means the book is suddenly a financial risk for me where before it had already turned a nice little profit. I'm fine, this isn't some "help the blogger keep his home" appeal or anything, but equally, if you're on the fence about buying it, I'll be thankful.

So, loads of work and frustration. Marvelous. Still, only one more Eruditorum entry to get written up, and then I can go play with other stuff and kind of relax for a week or two, which holy God do I need.

So, I've been thinking about Pop Between Realities posts, as the clock runs out on the blog. (I mean, there's still loads to go, but less than a year at this point, I'm sure.) I've got the schedule locked through the end of the Davies era, but I've penciled in very little for the Matt Smith era. What stuff from roughly the present day feels like it should be covered alongside Doctor Who? What do you consider its current cultural context? What's it in conversation with over the course of the Moffat years?

Comments

Alex Antonijevic 3 years, 5 months ago

Community is probably the most obvious one, but you probably know that since you've referenced Inspector Spacetime on the blog before.

It might be a bit out of sequence but the novel/movie Time Traveler's Wife does relate to the River Song arc a bit.

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Anton B 3 years, 5 months ago

I suppose the whole Harry Potter movie franchise is worth examining for its cultural impact on the generation for whom Matt Smith was their Doctor. On TV you will need to look at Misfits and Being Human in the UK and I suppose True Blood and the whole Twilight> 'team Edward/team so and so' trope for its impact on the Doctor /Amy/Rory/River dynamic. Also the selling of Doctor Who to the US by BBC America resulting in the flood of tumblr fangirls and related fan produced ephemera (not all of it slashy), and the increased and increasing internet presence of Who related material (including, this blog). You might also want to cover Morrison's Final Crisis for DC which has similarities to certain Eleventh Doctor concepts particularly season five's finale and the Marvel movie franchise.

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Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

Speaking of Tumblr fandom, presumably Sherlock is going to be covered at some point, but maybe Supernatural as well? For some reason, those two and Doctor Who have fan-bases that seem to overlap quite a lot, and it might be interesting to think about why that is.

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

"I gave the Kickstarter money to a family member to hold in an interest bearing account while I wrote the book, so I didn't accidentally dip into it. Said family member just informed me they would not be returning it to me. So that's a problem."

Nothing an Internet Lynch Mob can't fix I'm sure. Give us their details and we can bombard them with technobabble and death threats and tweets about how they are a terrible human being.

In terms of Moffat Era sidesteps, I think it would be worth doing something about the number of non-linear films or TV programs that have sprung up in the last few years. Whilst many of them are extensions of LOST, I'm pretty confident Moffat has had an influence in there, and I would be interested to hear your perspective on them. Films like Looper, In Time or, at a stretch 500 Days of Summer.
On that note, as you get closer to the present day "About Time" would be good to cover this summer. Richard Curtis brings his particular style of rom-com to a Doctor Who episode --- and then a few years later introduces timey-wimey to his style of rom-com…

Additionally, I think you should do a sidestep about American Genre TV of the last few years, in particular, shows such as The Walking Dead, American Horror Story & Falling Skies – all of whom had a pregnancy storyline at the same as Doctor Who and they make for a good compare and contrast, plus it would help to enunciate the [substantial] differences between DW and AGTV, as Moffat’s Who is often accused of attempting to emulate the later.

“The Fades” might also be good to cover, as would “In the Flesh”. Both into the Skins/Torchwood style TV, and could serve to put the last couple of years in perspective compared to other British teen genre dramas.

And, I’m just going to put this out there – but maybe if you’re still looking for something – the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. “I am the Doctor” is very consciously crafted as an hummable anthem in the model of the pirates theme, and the original costume they had in mind for Smith was pirate-esque. The Doctor/Amy/Rory dynamic is pretty reminiscent of Sparrow/Turner/Swann. I think there is potentially a lot to say about the influence the popularity of those films had on DW, especially as the Pirates films revived a disregarded genre of film by mashing it together with a few other genres.

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Nick Smale 3 years, 5 months ago

What stuff from roughly the present day feels like it should be covered alongside Doctor Who?

Other works by the show's principal writers? Sherlock/Being Human/Luther/Broadchurch...

Sf/fantasy shows with mainstream popularity? True Blood/Walking Dead/Game of Thrones...

Other Saturday teatime family shows? Merlin, obviously, but it might also be interesting to look at Demons, ITV's horribly failed 2009 attempt...

Might be interesting to take a look at Howard Overman's work, as occupying a similar sf comedy/drama space; Misfits, BBC4's Dirk Gently, Merlin (again). Or maybe I just wish that Moffat would commission a script from him...

Tropes of the time? Vampires, zombies and superheroes, I guess...

The rise of "young adult" SF (Twilight/Hunger Games)? Possibly an influence on early Smith-era Who, with it's attractive young cast and relationship based storylines.

The rise of "anti-hero" shows (Mad Men/Breaking Bad/Dexter)? There's an influence here I think on Smith's secretive, manipulative and sometimes deceitful version of Doctor.

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Matthew Celestis 3 years, 5 months ago

Political context.

The idea of the squeezed middle, that is that the middle classes are having the hardest time in society today. That idea really comes through in Night Terrors.

The big emphasis on fatherhood in the Moffat era chimes with the idea in the media and political discourse that fatherhood is in crisis and the absence of fathers is too blame for all manner of social ills, especially the London Riots.

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David Anderson 3 years, 5 months ago

As an aside I saw this story on the front page of the Guardian:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/18/gps-condemn-cameron-surgeries-plan

"I think the prime minister over-promised an undeliverable service. The announcement isn't realistic within the resources that we have in the health service," said Dr Peter Swinyard, national chair of the Family Doctor Association.
...Accusing Cameron of using spin, Swinyard said the new policy was an "unlimited rice pudding announcement: 'you can have anything you want, chaps'." Even the £50m the prime minister announced to pay for nine pilots of the scheme was taken from elsewhere in the health budget and was not new money, he said.

Has the phrase 'unlimited rice pudding' been used anywhere apart from the obvious?

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Stuart Ian Burns 3 years, 5 months ago

Jekyll? Atlantis?

Agents of SHIELD because of its Torchwood influences and/or its existence as a spin-off of a film franchise and so like Who's spin-offs trying to find an identity within a predefined world.

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Daibhid C 3 years, 5 months ago

Jekyll's been done http://www.philipsandifer.com/2013/09/pop-between-realities-home-in-time-for.html

Atlantis and SHIELD seem like the best choices from Right Now. Maybe Song of Ice and Fire as an example of where The Epic is at the moment?

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Daibhid C 3 years, 5 months ago

...Um, and by SoI&F I mean Game of Thrones, the TV series...

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David Anderson 3 years, 5 months ago

Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and any other of Gaiman's children's work?
Dollhouse and anything else Joss Whedon did next on television? (I don't think it's possible to have any kind of considered reaction to Agents of SHIELD yet.) I can't think of a way to build links between the Avengers films and Doctor Who, although there's an obvious way to link them to Sherlock. I saw the Downey Jr films; I've not seen Elementary.
Broadchurch seems a good choice, if only as a way of thinking about the pitfalls in writing good Doctor Who.

Both Being Human and Misfits feel more relevant to Torchwood than to Doctor Who. (I briefly thought of Being Human as Torchwood done right, before Torchwood blew up its format.)
At the moment the BBC's Doctor Who page is recommending Atlantis and Orphan Black.

I think you should do a Pop Between Realities on Hamlet. (It is spring 1601. Campion is at number one with...)

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Matter-Eater Lad 3 years, 5 months ago

It might be worth a post on BBCAmerica itself, too.

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Bennett 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to see an essay covering Wizards vs. Aliens, just to see if there's more to it than "probably as good as The Sarah Jane Adventures, but not really for us". Might be interesting as part of a conversation on the rise and fall of Doctor Who as a spin-off spawner.

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reservoirdogs 3 years, 5 months ago

-An essay on internet culture?

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C. 3 years, 5 months ago

another idea is perhaps too vague, but addressing the increase in people marathoning TV seasons, abetted by Netflix and streaming? (I knew at least two people who watched the entire run of Breaking Bad in like a week to get caught up for the finale.) So the idea that someone who gets into Who today can absorb the entire Smith era in a couple days, with the various seasons and arcs blurring into each other, which creates a viewership with different expectations/ perspectives. For instance, the difference in watching Season 7 in one block, as opposed to having it split up by half a year as it was in "real time."

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elvwood 3 years, 5 months ago

Once Upon a Time, in relation to Steven Moffat's fairy tale ideas? OUaT series 1 followed shortly after DW Series 7, so they're pretty contemporary.

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Froborr 3 years, 5 months ago

The general explosion of children's own shows that adults adore? Adventure Time is the most obvious, since it's also pretty heavily postmodern and has a similarly near-infinitely extensible premise.

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Froborr 3 years, 5 months ago

Also, an intentionally vague reminder: I'm going to need at least a couple months of advance warning before you need that thing.

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Theonlyspiral 3 years, 5 months ago

"Diary of a Call Girl" if only to talk about Matt Smith. It could also serve as a farewell to Billie Piper. "Luther" also seems obvious, as it's the dark reflection of Sherlock Holmes. "Elementary" seems to go nicely with those "Sherlock" entries that are coming. A post on the 2008 financial collapse seems critical as well. I would like to see "Broadchurch" covered but it's hardly essential for the blog.

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jane 3 years, 5 months ago

Small claims court.

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jane 3 years, 5 months ago

LOST, obviously, but Davies's era was breached before Moffat's -- Series Four seems as good a place as any to tackle that leviathan. Dollhouse, hmm... perhaps between the Davies and Moffat eras, it's very interesting in its own right. Agree with the shows by other Moffat writers.

Lots of individual stories in the Moffat era would be well served by exploring the popular context around them. Pirates of the Caribbean before Black Spot, the Narnia movies before Wardrobe, Game of Thrones before The Snowmen.

The other thing that's significant about the Moffat era is how the show is often trying to subvert certain tropes -- and how invoking those tropes in order to subvert them (and hence to implicate the viewer) can be problematic in itself. Yes, very Dollhouse.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

I am not directing an Internet lynch mob at my family, no matter how estranged. Likewise, the collateral damage involved in small claims court in terms of the rest of the family is too awful to contemplate.

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timber-munki 3 years, 5 months ago

I suppose you could have a 'You were expecting somebody else' on Enemy Of The World & Web Of Fear, particularly with them getting the top of the iTunes download charts for a couple of days.

The LHC & discovery of the Higgs Boson, Netflix/Lovefilm and their effect on viewing habits (particularly Breaking Bad) as well as the apparent all engulfing rise of Twiter as the world's preferred method of communication are possible candidates for pop between realities.

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Jesse 3 years, 5 months ago

I hope you'll do an epic gonzo post about TARDIS Eruditorum.

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

I was making a joke. :\

Being British, I naturally think black humour is the appropriate response to anything more distressing than a nice back rub.

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm not sure if I'd agree with Once Upon A Time, at least not for the reasons cited - I mean, it's a very interesting show and it's deeply rooted in Feminist & fanfiction POV, but the use of the Fairy Tale is quite different.

Moffat has brought out a theme that was always there in Doctor Who whereas Once Upon A Time is more about specific stories, the broken promises of childhood, and the decline of the American dream.
There's a lot that can be said about Once, but I don't think there there's enough when it comes to linking it with DW.

That said though, it's one of those shows that I've thought I'd like to read Sandifer's opinions on it. I was considering buying one of the quick-starter options especially for it.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Fun fact - once I clear out some of my workload, I'm seriously considering making commissions a regularly available thing.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Gaiman is a pickle - obviously relevant to Doctor Who, but I'm trying to minimize the frequency with which I double book things for Eruditorum and Last War in Albion. If I did anything, it would be Ocean at the End of the Lane.

Whedon is tempting, but I do intend to eventually do a whole project there. Though that would be episode by episode, so doing Dollhouse or something as a whole would work.

Orphan Black - very good idea.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Game of Thrones will need to get consideration for breaking Doctor Who's Hugo streak. And more to the point, for deserving to, despite 2012 actually being a pretty good year for Doctor Who. (The Snowmen would have been a fine winner in any year.)

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

London Riots and Occupy are a highly likely post. Probably around Night Terrors.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Possible. If I did that, I'd want to do it with one of the Netflix "whole season released at once" shows, and none of those have been relevant yet. Might be one to save for the Capaldi book. :)

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Almost certain.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe. Fandom could use one more entry after Love and Monsters. Have to convince myself I have something new to say, though.

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

"Lots of individual stories in the Moffat era would be well served by exploring the popular context around them. Pirates of the Caribbean before Black Spot, the Narnia movies before Wardrobe, Game of Thrones before The Snowmen."

Surely that would make more sense to be part of the commentary on the episodes themselves? I mean, I think a Pirates entry would be worthwhile, but I don't think it adds anything to Curse of the Black Spot. Likewise, there's very little an extended discussion on Narnia adds to Wardrobe other than a few choice pieces of imagery.

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Clay Hickman 3 years, 5 months ago

I 'd say Mark Gatiss's Crooked House is worth an article - certainly the monster from Hide was very influenced by the third story in that anthology. Plus it's rather lovely and spooky and a bit Who-y in itself. And its main influence - the BBC Ghost Story For Christmas films - have certainly influenced Who in various ways. Plus some of them are beyond brilliant.

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Clay Hickman 3 years, 5 months ago

I 'd say Mark Gatiss's Crooked House is worth an article - certainly the monster from Hide was very influenced by the third story in that anthology. Plus it's rather lovely and spooky and a bit Who-y in itself. And its main influence - the BBC Ghost Story For Christmas films - have certainly influenced Who in various ways. Plus some of them are beyond brilliant.

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm pretty sure that kind of recursion could crack the Earth in two....

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Nyq Only 3 years, 5 months ago

Merlin - presumably not long after Midnight
Ruby in the smoke http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_in_the_Smoke#TV_adaptation
Phillip Pullman in general would seem to be worth a discussion
Broadchurch -if only to make your commentators happy but also because of its ultimate extrapolation of Doctor Who invading other genres
Adventure Time - on the grounds that is another show, apparently aimed at kids, with an apparently simple adventure story premise in which actually an episode can do anything it wants and frequently does
A post on the various guest star appearances of David Tennant on British TV shortly before his depature (e.g. QI)
The Legend of Dick and Dom

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Nyq Only 3 years, 5 months ago

Cross his own blog stream?

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Seeing_I 3 years, 5 months ago

And here's the "Save the Day" 50th Anniversary trailer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hRy2N2CMhQ

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J Mairs 3 years, 5 months ago

I was just about to ask if Phil intends to Sunday Pancake on this.

If I squee anymore, I'll be mistaken for a pig!

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Ununnilium 3 years, 5 months ago

In terms of "how fandom works in the Tumblr age", you could cover Homestuck. In terms of the culture moving away from "dark" as its organizing principle, The Avengers. And in terms of both of these, the current Young Avengers run.

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Ununnilium 3 years, 5 months ago

That's true - out-of-sequence time traveler romances being adapted into big-budget Hollywood movies are definitely relevant.

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Ununnilium 3 years, 5 months ago

The Enemy/Web release might be a good place to do that final fandom post - the way in which people who were brought in by full-color fast-paced 1x45 episodes featuring scones and snogging were able to push six-part black-and-white serials up into the iTunes top five is probably worth talking about.

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Jenda 3 years, 5 months ago

The Elisabeth Sladen nod of the head hit me right in the heart - just lovely, really classy, touching.

You'll never be forgotten, Sarah Jane.

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Kit 3 years, 5 months ago

If you're alluding to TTOI, I'd argue this is a series that is lessened by marathoning, as the years between episodes are built into the narrative. Though the same can obviously be said for Smith's last two years, with "months" in place of years...

(Breaking Bad may be enhanced by the marathon first-viewing that many people have done, as it took five years of TX to cover 18 months of story time...)

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Sean Neuerburg 3 years, 5 months ago

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Sean Neuerburg 3 years, 5 months ago

I think you really have to do a post on "The Thick of It", possibly before we even get to Children of Earth.

I'd also be interested in a post on "Law & Order UK", considering its own reinvention of American TV (and Doctor Who actors).

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 5 months ago

"The Newsroom"? Moffat has professed his adoration of it.

Also, I hope you could cover The A.V. Club, as it's from their classic Who reviews that I found your blog. Would much appreciate it. :-)

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Jesse 3 years, 5 months ago

"The Newsroom"? Moffat has professed his adoration of it.

Hmm. Maybe the Moffat-hates-women crowd has a point after all.

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Eric Gimlin 3 years, 5 months ago

I actually seriously considered asking for TE as my commissioned essay in the Kickstarter. Finally went with something else as I figured it was either a) already planned, or b) already considered and rejected. Would still love to see it, though.

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jane 3 years, 5 months ago

I dunno. I think there's plenty enough to mine from the episodes themselves without invoking these shows at all. On the other hand, exploring these shows in the distinctive Eruditorum way could be quite enlightening, because all of these franchises have had an impact on broadly popular approaches to genre entertainment, as well as Doctor Who.

Pirates, despite its fairly ridiculous action sequences, is remarkably self-aware and plays in the sandbox (well, swimming pool) of death metaphors. Narnia is certainly relevant, given its role as a particularly British childhood mythology; it wears its symbolism on its sleeve, and yet it's obviously been influenced by cinematic values -- not unlike Who, and exploring the problems with the Narnia series would illumine the problems with the Moffat era. (Game of Thrones is an in-joke; I just want to see Phil tackle it.)

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Tony Macklin 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd like to see a post on Jack Reacher, a case of crashing character X into genre Y if ever I've seen one.

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jonathan inge 3 years, 5 months ago

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Andrew 3 years, 5 months ago

Since the Eleventh Hour, the show has been watched very differently (In the UK, at least). I think Matt Smith's debut broke all kinds of records in terms of a show being watched on 'catch-up' on the BBC iPlayer.

In 2013, Dr. Who was the most requested show on the iPlayer - something like 3.8 billion requests over the entire year, which is massive (according to Wikipedia).

So, for the first time, Dr. Who became a show watched just as much via the internet as on original transmission. And does this mean the show can be more daring and complex in its storylines, less interested in hooking the viewer with immediate spectacle?

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Multiple Ducks 3 years, 5 months ago

Seconding the inclusion of Homestuck, with special recommendation towards exploring Caliborn/Lord English, the partial Doctor analogue and prime instigator of narrative collapse.

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elvwood 3 years, 5 months ago

I dunno. I guess I lke to read about contrasts as well as similarities. Both are explicitly fairytale, but OUaT takes old stories and reimagines them in their same setting (and creates a parallel, modern story with the same personalities), while Moffat Who raids the storybook either in part (e.g., the Peter Pan-Wendy relationship) or in whole (A Christmas Carol) and puts them somewhere else. If I could see deeper than that I wouldn't need Philip to write the entry. ;)

Maybe just a general entry on fairytales and classic children's literature, then, mentioning OUaT but not trying to get too many words out of it? I do think that the only fairytale aspect that has had much focus put upon it for most of DW's run is "falling out of the world". The exceptions are Bidmead Who and Moffat Who, both of which embrace fairy stories wholeheartedly.

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elvwood 3 years, 5 months ago

Oh, and Philip - I would love to commission you, but finances mean that buying the books is about my limit. And commiserations on the theft of your Kickstarter money. I'm shocked.

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Phil 3 years, 5 months ago

Apologies if this has been covered, but: FRINGE.

Very sorry about the loss of your Kickstarter money. That's deeply not-OK, and, of course, when it's someone you care about who's screwing you over financially (as has been happening to me for some months), it's all the more difficult.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 5 months ago

Are you going to cover Gaiman's Murder Mysteries (the short story and/or the comic) or Books of Magic for Albion?

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BerserkRL 3 years, 5 months ago

On the subject of Billie Piper / Matt Smith team-ups, surely Ruby in the Smoke / Shadow in the North.

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Ross 3 years, 5 months ago

What, the show about a guy with a weird dress sense and young female sidekick who fights alien and otherworldly horrors that exist unnoticed on modern-day earth using his advanced knowledge and technology, and who won't tell anyone his name?

I don't see how that could possibly be relevant.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 5 months ago

The Time Traveler's Wife, perhaps? Time's Arrow? Or a more general one on 'time' in fiction.

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Abigail Brady 3 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if you could craft a single piece that could do double-duty as both an chapter in Last War in Albion and in the Eruditorum?

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Toby Brown 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd love to see a post on Wife in Space, with a wider context of fans of the new series discovering the original run, and how their views compare to older fans who had watched it first time round.
Potentially interesting for the Moffatt era, especially with the crossover from Tennant (long term fan) to Smith (new fan who went back and ended up basing his performance on his favourite bits of the old series).
Or, of course, you could base the post around the carpentry of Doctor Who.

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Ununnilium 3 years, 5 months ago

Timey-wimeyness on the rise in the culture.

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Danny O'D 3 years, 5 months ago

The growth of fandom in the USA: you've certainly commented on it before but I still can't believe that the sci-fi show I watched on PBS as a kid something I can talk about at parties as an adult. Every year the show seems to get more popular.

The IT Crowd: geek culture. Also it's just a great show.

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Kit Power 3 years, 5 months ago

Second Wife In Space. I'd like you to cover Deadwood, because it's a useful counter point to A Town Called Mercy about ways to interrogate and deconstruct the myth of the western (thin? Bloody anorexic. But Deadwood is the best television program ever made, so I want to see you write about it). And Whitechapel, as an example of ITV trying to make a series that collides the police procedural with horror.
Oh, yeah, Luther. Because it's Luther.

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David Anderson 3 years, 5 months ago

Just having death metaphors is not a guarantee of self-awareness. Case in point: Joseph Campbell. In fact, I'd say that the problem with the Pirate films after the first is that the self-awareness went down as the deliberate use of death metaphors went up.
Also, saying Pirates is self-aware despite the ridiculous action sequences is like saying Avengers is self-aware despite the superheroes or Buffy is self-aware despite the high school angst and vampires.

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Daibhid C 3 years, 5 months ago

Sadly, it looks increasingly unlikely that Terry Pratchett's The Watch will even have started filming, let alone be broadcast, before the end of the Elventh Doctor's run. (Indeed, at this point I'll be surprised if it's going anywhere by the time Eruditorium reaches the end of Eleventh's run.) Which is a shame, because looking at the TV adaptation of a book series you covered as influencing the NAs would be a rather nice spiralling moment.

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Neo Tuxedo 3 years, 5 months ago

I second (or third) the notion of discussing the Marvel Cinematic Universe at some stage, whether in posts on the individual movies of Phase One or via one big post covering the entire phase (the latter positioned on the time-chart where the post on Marvel's The Avengers would be).

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Mike 3 years, 5 months ago

For my own personal amusement, I'd love to see you trying to fit The Great British Bake Off in somewhere.
Although, that actually that brings me to a serious suggestion: Britain's Got Talent. Admittedly this would probably best fit the Davies years but he did say that Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent was a serious rival to most dramas. I'm not sure exactly how that could fit in to the blog, but it might be a nice detour.

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Katherine Sas 2 years, 7 months ago

That would be a good pair with the 50th Anniversary episode - maybe make it about the global fandom?

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