I am not a video game fan. I never have been. So it makes sense that for me personally, the video game version of Dr. Who was the least satisfying. I think my reaction was connected to my theatre background. When I am hearing/seeing/consuming a story, I want it to be presented to me, whether it be in a linear or episodic way. I don’t want to have to keep battling the antagonist to get to the next key plot development. While playing the video game we died and had to re-fight our way through the exposition to get to anything of value relating to the plot – that’s fine, it’s the nature of all video games. That is just not my style. I want the story to be presented to me, so that I am free to sit back and enjoy the plot details.
My favorite of the different Dr. Who media types was the TV show with the weeping angels (regardless of the fact that I am STILL having nightmares). I felt that medium embodied the strengths of all the others. It contained the contained not only a visual component (obviously not present in the audio drama), but the visual intricacies missing from the web cartoon, as well as the fluid continuity that the video game lacked. That being said, a weakness of the TV show was that it left nothing to the imagination, as with the audio drama and the web comic (to some extent). I loved seeing the story play out, but at times I felt that the TV show over-explained certain details that might have been even more fun for the audience to imagine themselves.
The different media channels place different demands on the audience by requiring them to go into the story experience with different mindsets. The web comic audience must forgive the fact that the show they’re watching isn’t as detailed as an HD TV show would be. The audio drama audience has to overlook the fact that there’s no accompanying picture (because, well, it was before the time of television). The video game player (including myself) has to accept that the experience will be fragmented, divided by the character encountering multiple deaths and consequent “do overs.” I do think that the Dr. Who story successfully transcends three of the four media platforms we experienced: the TV show, audio drama and web cartoon. In all three of these, an uninterrupted narrative is told in a way that is coherent and satisfying.
All four of the media platforms studied subscribed to the concept of a complex narrative. They withheld details from the audience, dealt with complex character relationships (with regard to how they were connected), and often presented the plot in a nonlinear way. I think that a majority of media consumers might still expect a simple, uncomplicated and linear narrative; it goes without saying that Dr. Who of course challenges the expectations of the presentation of a simple story.
Also, all four of the media platforms allowed for collective intelligence. We played the video game in pairs, watched the TV show and listened to the audio drama as a class, and discussed the web comic. The details that confused one student were clear to another; we helped each other understand the narrative by sharing our own interpretations of the story. For me, this was incredibly helpful. I loved the TV show, but was still a bit confused as to the plot intricacies at the end. All four Dr. Who platforms lent themselves to the sharing of information.