I knew that going into Doctor Who week that it was going to be a fun time! But it was also great to experience Doctor Who across many different mediums. I basically knew the premise of the show and was excited to get to know more about it. Don’t hate on me avid Doctor Who watchers, but during Doctor Who week was the first time I ever heard the fact that the Doctor is an alien… don’t know where I missed that. I really like that the creators made him an alien that regenerates when he dies because it definitely helps explain whenever a new actor takes over the role as the Doctor. It helps the audience not get so uptight when the same person isn’t playing the character they’re supposed to play (I HATE it when this happens when movies try to make sequels…). I guess the creators knew Doctor Who was going to be a hit across many generations (11 Doctors thus far) so they decided to make an actor scape goat from the git-go! Well played.
After experiencing Doctor Who from many different types of media, I found the radio episode to be the least effective and satisfying to me. I’m a very visual oriented person, so obviously I am drawn to things that move, such as television or movies. I’m also very detailed-oriented so I look for continuity throughout a film but also to details that others may not notice at first glance. With the radio episode, there wasn’t really anything to look for. Even though I give myself kudos for keeping up well with the narrative and having an active imagination, I wasn’t fulfilled and satisfied with the story. It’s similar to when I have an idea for a film in my head. I can see it perfectly within my imagination, but it’s not until I actually shoot and edit my idea that I’m satisfied with it. The picture of the Doctor on the screen felt as though it was taunting me. I wanted the picture to move so badly… It was letting me know that the radio episode had some sort of relation with Doctor Who but the world had to be created myself. I don’t think my imagination would have known much to do if it hadn’t watched Blink the day before. There were certain things about the Doctor Who universe that I could mimic in my imagination, but I’m sure I didn’t do the cheesy effects justice. I feel as though Doctor Who has a radio show is more difficult to portray than a more simple story such as Buck Rogers. There is a lot going on in Doctor Who that can only be understood by visually seeing it or having precursors as to what to listen for. Evan was saying in class that he knew the nation under attack were Cybermen because he recognized their march noises from the show. It’s a tricky thing to decipher. Also, for me, British voices are a bit difficult to distinguish between each other when I don’t have a face to associate them with. It took me about 15 minutes to lock the Doctor’s voice into my head, but I was never able to tell Karen from Lucy.
Without a doubt, I enjoyed Blink the best. Although I respect and acknowledge the strengths of the other media, I feel as though the world of Doctor Who was best represented by the television series. So much emotion, atmosphere, and detail was able to go on the screen that people in class were literally screaming and jumping in their seats. The crazy effects, witty dialogue, and effective camera shots and editing made the episode dynamic but also cohesive. It seems as though that such a out-of-this-world odd concept like Doctor Who deserves a medium where it can get the most out of the story.
Don’t get me wrong though. The other mediums had specific parts that were effective as well. For the comic, radio episode, and the video game, it seemed as though those media were more effective when the story was more simple and didn’t rely on as many elements of story telling as the television show did. The comic book was great at capturing emotions and it was obvious as to what each character was saying. However, it didn’t have such as elements like music or special effects to give it more of a bang. Despite this, I wish that every book or article that I read in the future would be in comic book form. It’s such a great way to digest literature! Obviously, the radio episode lacked a visual element, and the video game seemed to me to be a bit disjointed. This is not with all video games, but the Doctor Who game in particular made me anxious for the ending that I couldn’t enjoy the actual game. I was frustrated with the logistics of moving around and the fact that the story wasn’t moving along at the pace that I was used to with the television series.
It seems right to assume that different media put different demands on the audience because certain people prefer a certain type of medium. I was talking to other people in class and it seemed a little wishy-washy as to what medium people preferred. Although most people were engaged in Blink, a lot of people enjoyed playing the video game. The television shows requires the audience to become involved within the narrative, the radio episode made people more audio aware of the story and to use their imagination, the comic wanted the reader to visually stimulate the story, and the video game had the player be in charge of the narrative. Perhaps whoever the audience is enjoys whichever medium they find the easiest to consume the story. It seems as though for a coherent narrative to flow across multiple media platforms, it must be clear, engaging, and filled with ways that the audience can come up with theories and talk about certain aspects of the story. Star Wars, to me, is a very successful narrative that has been able to reach mediums such as novels, television shows, and comic books.
Despite the different demands from media, I feel as though Doctor Who does a good job at transcending different media platforms. For each medium, the narrative structure is basically the same and the characters are changed and effected in similar ways. The Doctor goes to a planet or place to solve a problem accompanied by a “partner in time,” and hopefully saves the day from the bad guys. According to Parkin, the characters need to be compelling, the situations need to be interesting, plot structured, and then a dialogue composed convincingly. However, the situation with Doctor Who is different in the present day since the series has a devoted following that wants future creators to play with different concepts of Doctor Who, which is most likely why it is successful in crossing different media. However, the creators of Doctor Who not only keep the loyalists in mind, but Hill notices that the series can also be enjoyed by mainstream viewers who may not follow has devotedly. The narrative parallels across stories for the cult fan, but is still cohesive for someone who hasn’t seen all of the episodes.
I find this absolutely brilliant and exceptionally thoughtful of the creators to make a series that doesn’t leave anyone out. I found that in stories such as Lost that one can literally become “lost” by trying to follow what’s going on by starting on season 3. I have also seen the logic of Doctor Who in other narratives such as Futurama and a lot of sitcoms nowadays on television where a viewer can jump right in and previous episodes can be substantial to the dedicated fan, but a mainstream audience can still enjoy the story without always following. This doesn’t mean that the story is necessarily better either way, but it certainly does help when a narrative is trying to reach a wide audience but also to transcend different media.