Traveling Through Space, Time, and… Storytelling Medium

While I have experienced the stories of Doctor Who before, I had never done a transmedia analysis. My perspective had remained narrowly pointed at the revived television series, and I barely had knowledge of other forms or incarnations of the brilliant Doctor Who. Experiencing the familiar Doctor Who formula through so many different mediums was exhilarating, although I still find certain medium’s better suited to the Doctor than others.

I found the Comic story representation of Dr. Who to be the least entertaining of the many different story’s we experienced in the past week. While I have nothing against comics, and I still enjoyed the story, in my opinion there are certain aspects of Dr. Who that are lost when converted to comic book form. Number one is sound effects and music. I come from a bit of a musical background, and I love hearing what is going on in any story, the music and sound can make a good movie brilliant, or absolutely awful. Dr. Who relies on a lot of sound and musical cues throughout the television (and radio) series. From the march of the lovable cybermen, to the voices of the daleks, and who could ever forget the traditional opening theme. To me, the story loses depth when presented without sound.

As for the remaining mediums, each have their strengths and weaknesses.  The classic way

Weeping Angel

The weeping angels would be a lot less scary if there were no sound effects.

that Dr. Who has been told is through the television, this medium seems best suited to the story, providing vivid visual interpretations to help the viewer see what is going on as well as sound cues that greatly improve the experience. It is not without its flaws though, the special effects while usually adding to the experience sometimes appear cheesy and forced. Also it is occasionally difficult to reach the amount of depth fans would like in a 45 minute television program.

The radio drama is definitely an experience, providing the sounds of Doctor Who and having the reader make up the visuals. While this is entertaining, and I enjoyed the radio drama, it is somewhat bothersome to think that I may not be imagining what the creators of the characters intended me to see. For example, I imagined the security guards in the radio program as pig like humanoids, when they could very well be killer bunnies with wings.

Finally the video game adds interactivity to the Doctor Who universe. While I enjoyed the

Doctor Who Adventure Games

The cover art of the Doctor Who Adventure Games released this past summer.

game, and it is always wonderful to see more Doctor Who, it felt like a lot of the dialogue of the other stories is lost. In order to insert a lot of the dialogue that the other stories have requires many cut scenes, which frustrate gamers.  Also while the visuals were good, the movements and actions of the characters were not as fluid as I would have liked.

As McCloud states in Making Comics, the goal of characterization is to create lasting characters that the audience can easily identify and differentiate by their characteristics. Doctor Who does this very well, firstly with the Doctor. No matter which actor is playing the Doctor, the audience is easily able to recognize and associate with the Doctor, based on his nature and personality. Also across mediums it is easy to identify characters by either their looks or sounds, for example the loveable cybermen. Even though I was not able to see them in the radio drama, I heard their march and instantly knew who they were.

Doctor Who also manages to carry a similar mood or atmosphere throughout it’s mediums. Through the three mediums with sound, the sound effects and music easily convey the mood of suspense, at times as well as others. Whereas the comic uses the art style and vivid imagery to also convey it’s atmosphere. Across all the mediums, Doctor Who maintains a mood of suspense with comedy and other emotions mixed in. No matter what the episode (or medium) Doctor Who remains consistent, and is an excellent example of a transmedia narrative.

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