The Torchwood Institute - A Doctor Who and Torchwood Blog

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top Content of 2007

I was debating whether or not to include content that I wrote before 2007 that still was amongst the most popular -- but I figured I might as well, because that shows what has been most interesting. And sometimes that might be something from an earlier year, especially some of the ones that had major elements.

So we have:

  1. Searching for Mr Saxon

  2. Eve Myles is Gwen Cooper

  3. James Marsters In Torchwood

  4. Series Three Pictures

  5. When Will Torchwood Air In US?

  6. Cats vs Daleks

  7. Official Doctor Who Soundtrack

  8. Official Business

  9. Vote Saxon Peoples Campaign

  10. End Of Gallifrey

  11. Changing Face Of Doctor Who Toys


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wil Wheaton Discovers Doctor Who

He had the good sense to pick Genesis of the Daleks -- which is, of course, as good as Doctor Who ever gets.

It is kind of interesting to look at the comparisons between Star Trek and Doctor Who, especially in this country, where Doctor Who was originally popular in the period right before Next Generation started, and I've often felt that it wasn't a coincidence that Doctor Who went into decline in this country as Next Generation started up and became more popular.

And I think there is some comparison between Voyager and Enterprise and the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy eras -- especially when you think about how one of the issues in both was how you had a production staff that were trapped in roles for longer than they should be, and how they sort of continued on autopilot for a while.

I'll be interested to see how Wil reacts to any episodes with Adric, Doctor Who's very own boy genius...

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Frustrated Conscience

I think it is good to be a somewhat cynical Doctor Who fan, even -- or perhaps especially -- with the series as successful as it has ever been.

One recent observation I read complained about some of the guest appearance in Last of the Time Lords. But Ann Widdecombe and Sharon Osbourne weren't Friends of The Doctor -- they were friends of Harold Saxon. That's even funnier the more you think about it -- this is show able to convince real "enemies" to play themselves. It would have only been better if they could have had Fred Thompson playing the President.

But then, I don't know about you -- but I've found the Utopia/Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords to just get better as time passes. I was a bit disappointed with Last of the Time Lords on first viewing -- but no more, now it's just the end of one of a long, brilliant era of Doctor Who.

That all said... it's probably good to be cynical about what Russell does at the same time. His instincts have made Doctor Who bigger and more successful than ever -- even here in the US, where Doctor Who is probably the biggest British television import. And who know what will happen when Series Four starts -- and everything else on television is a repeat, game show, or reality television due to the US writers strike.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Hopes and Fears of All the Years - Telegraph

Paul Cornell's Christmas Doctor Who story has been posted on line. It's a nice little story -- very much the new series Doctor Who in a lot of ways.

It is interesting - there have been some complaints about Doctor Who's use of religious imagery, especially as we have the third Christmas Doctor Who special in a row. But that doesn't have to be a religious challenge -- certainly the Jesus of the bible regularly told stories to illustrate moral and religious lessons. So I don't really see that -- by itself -- to be an objection.

I could go on more, but it's really not the season for it....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hey Kids, Did You Miss Me?

Some Torchwood trailers have shown up on YouTube -- which I figure isn't any problem linking to, so here goes....

From BBC America you have this one:

From BBC 2 in the UK you have this one:

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Times They Are A Changing

It certainly is looking like the "gap year" is going to be a transition with Julie Gardner leaving and being replaced by Piers Wenger in a years time.

I suspect that Julie Gardner's role is sometimes underplayed -- but amongst all of the fanboys running the show, she was a vital "new to Who" viewpoint. One of the real ways the new show has been a success is that it's picked up all of the new audiences -- those of us that have been around for a while would have watched it in any case.

One of the reasons why Doctor Who is my favorite show is that it is ever changing. The current era has been wonderful and is a triumph that I'll rewatch for the rest of my life.

But it'll also be exciting to see the next era of Doctor Who start as well -- and hopefully it'll continue on for many years to come, freshly renewed.

Congratulations and thanks to Julie Gardner!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

About Time

I have enjoyed the About Time series published by Mad Norwegian Press from the beginning and have commented on it before.

One of the interesting things is watching the book series evolve along with the new television series -- one thinks that there is nothing new to be said about classic Doctor Who, but this book is identifiably of its time. You can tell -- while reading it -- that the book was finished between The Last of the Time Lords and Time Crash.

The volume that just came out -- Volume Six -- is about the end of the classic series. One change with this book -- as opposed to the others co-written with Lawrence Miles -- is that by having only one voice, it is much more one person's view. And with the end years of John Nathan-Turner on the line, that is definitely something that this volume lacks -- though they try to recover with Rob Shearman rising to the defence of The Two Doctors.

One of my other complaints is that in Tat Wood's desire to demonstrate how much Americans don't know about the UK, he also frequently shows a lack of understanding about the USA. It's a bit odd for a series that was published by a company in the middle of America --- but perhaps that is why this is so present in the book. For example, it was perfectly logical for the producers of the TV Movie to assume that the FOX movie of the week audience wouldn't be familiar with Doctor Who.

Of course, many of the problems with the TV Movie are still very well identified -- and the TV Movie is interesting in so far as it influenced the new series; both in "this is what you do now" -- romantic tension between the leads is more or less inevitable now -- but in also all of the ways that the new series avoided the traps of the TV Movie.

One of the nice things about the new TV series being such a massive success is that both the final phases of the JN-T era and the TV Movie can now be looked at with some perspective -- neither are "the end" of Doctor Who. And this book takes advantage of that perspective -- you can see it pointed out how much the last era of the classic series was struggling to become something not at all unlike the television series made in Cardiff today. While the TV Movie is slated in About Time, I think it shares with the Cartmel era that sort of struggle -- of trying how to make a "modern" Doctor Who series.

One of the things with the modern era of television commentary is that we're of course already seeing loads of commentary on the new series. But the really relevant commentary about the Russell T Davies era of Doctor Who will come when we move on to the next era. I suspect we'll start to see the first works covering multiple years of the new series era after Series Four, or perhaps after the specials to follow. It certainly feels like we'd be moving to a new era after that point, even if both Russell T Davies and David Tennant stay on past the specials.