The Sum of the Parts

In our exposure to the Dr. Who franchise, I have found Eddie Robson’s audio drama to be the least satisfying entertainment. There is not much to it that could hold my attention, especially by today’s visual-dominated media standards. One of my theories for this preference is because we as a modern society have become more dependent on visuals as a prerequisite method to understand the majority of media. Thus the more lacking the visuals, the more likely an audio drama would be attractive to today’s audiences. Another reason for this may be that the genre of sci-fi/drama is primarily predominated by the print and video medium, where we as the audiences are not conditioned to comprehend that kind of content on pure audio. For example, as I listened to the audio drama, all I could think of from the dialogue were possible compositions of camera angles and shots of a televised drama. Hence, both of these reasons are strong criteria for explaining its unsatisfying experience to me.

The other Dr. Who media is the The World Shaper comic by Grant Morrison. One of the key strengths that the comic platform does very well at is developing and condensing each and every narrative moment, where suspense is built up and maintained through a module of “compartments” or comic framings and then released. Moreover, the comic medium also helps readers keep up with the setting and time shifts that take place frequently. Hence, I find it easier to accept the bizarre worlds Dr. Who travels to. This is also because of the ways which comic books are actively comprehended (read) and require higher involvement in order to process compared to just listening to a radio or watching TV.

However, the one thing that the comic could not capture very well is its attention to minute details of a narrative. In this, we may examine the interactive aspects of Charles Cecil and Anwen Aspden’s game, Blood of the Cyberman. In a game which is all about puzzle-solving and completing the level, the story becomes more dependent on the acquiring of items that will unlock different paths for the characters to progress. Moreover, there are no expectations of what is to come next because unlike a story told through a coherent story, the viewer is able to make decisions that can change the outcomes of the game. Hence, I felt that there was more time spent focusing on the practical aspect of playing the game rather than understanding the narrative behind the tasks given for each game level.

The last medium we experienced from the Dr. Who franchise is Steven Moffat’s Blink TV episode. This, by far, is the most coherent narrative that to me became the main plot of all its other transmedia stories. This was the case for a couple reasons. First of all, it was the first media we were exposed to. Secondly, it is the original medium that started the franchise. This phenomenon thus leads us to the notion of transmedia stories which can be conveyed through different media simultaneously and still make some logical sense. In turn, we can suggest from Dr. Who’s success with different media that the more fantasy-oriented (meaning it allows for a lot of possible interpretations) a story is, the more feasible it is to simultaneously create multiple story versions of it.

One of the things that I found consistent across all the media was the retention of Dr. Who’s character of non-physical qualities and traits. In every instance, he is always going to be the outlandish, geeky, techno-savvy, clumsy and daring scientist. Nevertheless, he has been played by actors, resembled by varying computer graphics, drawn by comic artists, and voices. Here, we constantly see the Dr. Who guy who always figures out the puzzle and continues adventuring, despite the varying challenges he faces. According to Robert Mckee, “characters are only expressed through choices of dilemma.” Hence it is clear that Dr. Who has a strong and distinct character that will not end on one medium.

Besides the characterization of Dr. Who, the makers of Dr. Who’s media followed an unwritten guideline for creating its world. Thematically, there is always the “dimension” part of the Dr. Who stories where he contradicts his own actions. In this, there is always that consistency of situations where Dr. Who gets himself into a lot of trouble but goes against his original thought to get out of them and continue his journey. This thus creates a contradictory dimension in a character that makes him/her so enticing to follow. Certainly, it also adds more depth to him than simply being a doctor who can solve time-space mysteries.


About jonycfu

Hello! My name is Jon and I am currently a to-be Web Development Immersive student at General Assembly Hong Kong! I graduated with a double major in Business Marketing and Communications. In my spare time, I enjoy building computers, cooking, golfing, reading, and watching TV shows (e.g. Fringe, Breaking Bad, GoT, Sherlock, Parks and Rec, The Office, South Park, Futurama).
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