It’s the Doctor! Doctor Who? Exactly.

Perhaps its just an addictive personality, but when I was first introduced to the Doctor, I knew my life found something it could not live without. Hyperbole aside, Doctor Who is more than a franchise, it encapsulate the definition of popular culture. While it would be very easy to illustrate my fanaticism, I’ll keep my nerdom at bay and instead argue that Doctor Who transcends narrative structures. As Shep979 points out, “it’s possible to stitch together a coherent narrative across multiple mediums; Doctor Who stands as a testament to this.  That said, a truly transmedia narrative will always have limitations.” I believe this is true to the extent that narratives have differing purposes. This does not mean one narrative structure is better than the others, but merely that one is more useful depending on the situation. For example, a hammer is the more effective tool for nailing things together than say, a calculus textbook, but the textbook is likely more useful in learning math than the hammer.

Can't use this to build a birdhouse

The medium that I believe failed at being best utilized was the Radio program, “Human resources.” Putting aside the fact that I have a bias towards post-2005 Doctor Who and that I was, indeed, the one who snored through parts of the program, radio was weakest among the choices. This is not to say that radio shows don’t have their own allure to them. The allure is simply negated by the more alluring Doctor. Radio does not work for three reasons. First, the sonic screwdriver is more than a sound effect. The trifecta of the Doctor, the TARDIS, and the sonic screwdriver are the elements that makes the Doctor, the Doctor. Granted, the sound effects of both the TARDIS and the Sonic are easily recognizable, but without seeing the symbol, the Doctor loses its luster. It’s as if you only heard Darth Vader’s lightsaber during the famous scene when you only see his silhouette in Empire Strikes Back. Additionally, science and technology is just cooler when you can see it. I can tell you about Orion constellation, or describe what the heart looks likes, but seeing is believing. Secondly, (but probably related to the first point), radio limits the ability of sound effect. During the program, you have standard noises like a telephone rings or doors opening (god forbid, a non-squeaky door can ever exist). Furthermore, you can’t have sound effects that are unique because then people won’t recognize them. For example, there is a phone with a song as a ring tone (which most people have these days), and it goes off during a radio program. It would just cause confusion until the character answers the phone. Simply put, the more advance the story, the more advance the medium needs to be. Thirdly, Doctor who is character-based and body language says more than words. Without seeing a person’s body language, people lose a lot of the characterization. Sure, radio works for superficial stories, but this is Doctor Who we’re talking about.

Without the television show, I would not be as devout as I am to the Doctor. It should be, by this point,  self-explanatory as to why the show is the best medium. However, the comic medium by Grant Morrison provides an interesting scope to the Whoniverse. Compare to radio, comics also depend on words to tell an engaging narrative, but also able to convey body language. As Scott McCloud points out, “Just as faces express a lot of what’s going on inside a character emotionally, their bodies can send some powerful messages of their own.” However, the limitation to comics is the lack of sound. What the radio program does really well is set a mood based on aural atmosphere. But the mood of the character is better convey visually. For example, you have a party scene. There are lots of sounds of joyous conversation and laughter. However, the main character is depressed. This would be easier depicted in a comic panel than to have the character say, “i’m depressed.” Television makes ups the follies of comics and radio, which is why its so great.

Initially, the video game was met with a lot of trepidation on my part. While it’s everyone’s dream to be the Doctor, to actually have that be reality feels awkward. I enjoyed figuring out puzzles much like how the Doctor did in the show. However, when the dream was put into practice. It didn’t seem right. Part of why the Doctor is great is because he is more clever than most people. So it seemed fake. To say I avoided an Dalek by sneaking right behind it, or I hacked a console WITHOUT the sonic, doesn’t seem Who-like.

Don't leave home without it

The game itself however, does a decent job at holding on to canon. While it may not have been fulfilling, (this could be due to the difficulty of the game), it was still exciting to BE the Doctor. The video game medium serves this purpose.

Overall, the Doctor Who week was an success. I try not to over analyze this beloved series, because if anything, the Doctor will always have allure.

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About trinityhyu

I'm just a boy who knows stuff
This entry was posted in Blog 3. Doctor Who Case Study and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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