Monday, May 13, 2013

What Are The Ramifications If You Do Not Fail?

In The Pines (Short Film) from Shep Films on Vimeo.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Waiting For The Right Kind Of Doctor (2of2)

Psycho-analyzing The Doctor, I noticed he seems to be hiding a secret—definitely from us and his companions, and probably from himself.

During the Three Doctors and Five Doctors episodes, One particularly was disturbed and disrespectful of his replacements. And the others tended to be combative and

uncomfortable with each other.

If they are all the same person, then why would they have such an aversion and dislike for their other selves?

With the exception of the affection Ten expressed for Five, The Doctor has an ambivalence towards his other incarnations.

I propose this is because he knows, or at least suspects, that none of them are truly him.

Even with Jackson Lake (the human who thought he was The Doctor), The Doctor was resistant to accepting that this man claiming to be Him could really be The Doctor— either a future regeneration or alternate reality. He is subconsciously predisposed to resist and resent other incarnations.


There is a succession of experiential memory and titular identity, but not individual identity.

He increasingly realizes he has no individual identity, which is indicative of Eleven’s deep & profound insecurity and awkwardness about his identity--- which he clearly expresses. Note his continual insistence that bow ties are cool. And attraction to wearing the Fez. More than simply a demonstrative expression of not caring about looking ridiculous, he is desperately grasping at

something to give him a distinct identity, a sense of specific self.

Indeed, every Doctor has adopted some element of fashion to distinguish himself; such as Eleven’s bow tie, Four’s scarf, Five’s lapel garnish, Six’s technicolor coat, and Nine’s leather jacket. These affectations and artifacts are means of self-expression.

Also, think about what Ten confesses: “I’m The Doctor. But beyond that, I literally do not know who I am.”

He was not being facetious, and wasn’t referring only momentarily to his new self because his mind hasn’t settled from the regeneration process, but because someone else has been given The Doctor’s life.

Not only is this an other person, but this “other” person infused with The Doctor’s memories becomes yet another person. Without the title, the role--- he is no one. Not only that, the identity is imposed on him, inserted into a new mind.

The memories are passed on, but into the minds of different bodies. Much like Whedon’s Dollhouse TV series.

A strict memory transfer onto a completely vacant brain would not result in an altered personality.

Every incarnation—the circumstances of his life (and particularly surrounding his death) influence the dispositions or temperaments of each next incarnation. Nine’s personality is a reflection or reaction to what happened to Eight. Situations during Nine’s life and death informed the attitudes of Ten, which set the template for Eleven.

Ten revealed to Wilf that he becomes a different person with each regeneration.

He can’t ever see Wilf again, because the person who is Wilf’s friend will be no more. Which is part of the reason for his deep despondence as unavoidable regeneration approaches.

His continued affinity for Sarah Jane in any incarnation is not merely a residual emotional attachment, but more from a respect for her as a person, for what she does.

Because the memories of previous incarnations become those of each new incarnation, he remembers a fondness for the companions of former incarnations, but does not necessarily continue to feel that same level or type of affection.

(as a side note, I think Rose never saw Ten as Ten, but as an extension of Nine—that is who she fell in love with, not Ten.

Ten continued to love Rose as an extension of her intense connection to Nine—at least at first; although gradually, Ten came to love her as Ten.

But I doubt Eleven would have the same appreciation of Rose, due to divergent circumstances and conditions of the relationship they would have—even if she were present at the time of his regeneration.

Sarah Jane is the only companion who is someone other Doctors are able to mutually adore, or at least respect… maybe regardless of who is WHO. Perhaps because she doesn’t reflect only one Doctor or one Doctor’s circumstances, but all of them and none of them. She is the companion most like himself.

She is not dependent on The Doctor for her identity, or purpose. The other companions, separate of The Doctor, seem to mimic The Doctor, but Sarah Jane is the only one who has

fully integrated his life style to make it her own. She doesn’t NEED the Doctor. She is the whole person, where as he is the sum of parts, and other companions merely fragments of those parts. Maybe Sarah Jane is what he wants to be— his true, ideal self.)

He serves as a role model/ inspiration for his companions, so they follow his lead, acting/ thinking more like him. Their actions become his actions, and then vice versa. They are inspired to want to not disappoint him.

But their thoughts/ actions are not his.

When his companions fail to mimic him exactly or think/behave at his level, fail to fully or properly implement what he hopes to teach them, if they have a flawed execution of his example, he gets a skewed, disappointing image of himself. They are a reminder of his mistakes.

In multiple ways—deliberately in inadvertently, The Doctor abandons his past.

Regeneration is not merely a reconstitution or rearrangement of molecular structure. It is not just a symbolic or metaphorical death… The Doctor literally dies

each time. Which explains the anguish and reluctance of Nine and Ten when they were about to “regenerate”.

Why would Nine be so keen and distressed to say goodbye to Rose is he wasn’t going away? You could tell Nine was seriously not ready to leave this persona.

Likewise, why would Ten be so distraught as to bemoan “I don’t want to go”?

Even Eight commented that his memory loss and disorientation was because he was dead too long. He admits the death and dying are actual, not figurative.

And why would each incarnation have such drastically different personalities unless a fully formed, separate person was not superimposed?

Rather than a regeneration, I wonder if a kind of teleportation isn’t actually occurring.

The Matrix on Gallifrey is said to record all Time Lord experiences and preserve their spiritual essence.

Maybe this is how the memory continuity is sustained and able to transfer to each new Doctor.

But where do these replacement people come from?

Are they snatched from their Time Lord lives, plucked out of time? And if so, randomly or cherry picked?

Are the bodies pulled from history and stockpiled? Cloning is unlikely, considering they each have developed personalities.

Like Sam Becket in Quantum Leap, a new person is inserted into the role, similar to the continuity of Caesar.

They are and are not him.

So WHO is he?

I think this is why he tends to abandon his companions after each regeneration. Our friends are a reflection of us:

his former companions not only remind him of who he was, but also who he is not anymore.

As such, they would no longer be compatible with the new incarnation—which would generally not have the same attachment to, or affection for, those companions.

Being a whole new person, he needs new friends to mirror him.

His companions are his mirror. He and his companions reflect each other, shape each other’s behavior.

Davros perceives this when he reveals The Doctor’s “children of time”. The people whom he has de facto forged into his weapons.

Doctor has companions to help him see who he is, to anchor & give him an identity. The kind of Doctor he becomes largely depends on who his companions are—they define, refine and guide him.

The TARDIS is also an extension of him. Rather than just an inanimate object, it is actually alive, exhibiting a degree of sentience. And it is another character in the show. It has a symbiotic relationship with him.

His TARDIS is intrinsically and intimately bonded with him; it knows him, deep into his subconscious. So immersed in both time and The Doctor’s psyche, its random destinations are not actually so random, not a matter of faulty mechanics or piloting error.

No, TARDIS assumes control and takes him not only where TARDIS knows The Doctor wants

to go, but needs to go… as in where he is needed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Waiting For The Right Kind Of Doctor (1of2)

   When asked, Jack Harkness stated that the only thing that would have convinced him to open the rift over the Torchwood hub in Cardiff was the right kind of Doctor.

Doctor Who fans have a way among themselves of denoting which Doctor—which version of the Time Lord—is “their” Doctor. Which Doctor did they first meet?

The question of which incarnation of Doctor Who is “my Doctor” does not have an easy answer. Because I came to the Doctor at two different times during my life.

I first met The Doctor when he was played by Tom Baker—known as the fourth Doctor. Not familiar with any other Doctor, I had no basis for comparison, as to who or what The Doctor was. Or was about, really.

Note that this innocuous introduction was before I could be considered a legitimate science fiction fan. I was relatively new to sci-fi fandom in the ‘80s.

I liked the character and I liked the show, but I didn’t manage to really get “into” it.

I occasionally saw the fourth Doctor episodes on PBS, but I was never enthusiastic about the series.

I tried to remember to watch the show when it aired… but if I missed an episode, I was not bothered.

Missing an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, however, was a huge disappointment for me.

This viewing pattern would continue through all the Doctors since.

My disinterest was no reflection on the series, the other incarnations or the actors… but on me and my lack of sufficient sophistication to properly appreciate Doctor Who… at that time in my still nascent geekness.

By the time the eighth incarnation of the Doctor was introduced in that debacle of a TV movie (through no fault of Paul McGann), I had retained enough latent interest (and curiosity), as well as gained enough sophistication to grant this renewal benefit of the doubt and give it a try. After that embarrassment, Doctor Who went away for a while. (The movie didn’t give me much to work with in determining if this could be my Doctor. However, finding the audio dramas and the Doctor Who Project of virtual seasons revealed that he easily could have been my Doctor, if not discovered after I already met the Ninth Doctor. So Eight defaults to my third favorite.)

The next time I met The Doctor was in 2005, when the dormant franchise got renewed and re-envisioned.

With Christopher Ecceleston as Doctor number nine, this regeneration became what I consider MY Doctor.

But not at first.

Excited about the possibilities—not just of new Who, but a new sci-fi series, I eagerly watched the premier episode…

Tentatively optimistic. Only to be less than impressed; and, I admit, a little angry. I despise wasted opportunities; which is what I thought this was, back then.

I loved the character and what Eccleston did with the role. But the story line of that pilot episode was just… so… bad.

I really expected and hoped for much more. This new Doctor Who series did not make a good first impression on me.

But this was before I discovered not to trust first impressions as definitive or conclusive.

Before I had learned the wisdom of giving a new show a chance (even a second chance)—and a few episodes-- to develop and find itself. Before deciding to give up on it or continue. This new Doctor Who series would-- to my gratitude and relief-- turn out to be a TV series that helped me attain such wisdom, and recognize the value in it.

I had crudely and hastily decided to abandon the revived series before the first episode ended.

That was the last straw, the last of Doctor Who I’d ever see.

Until a friend of mine happened to watch an episode he had on his computer while I was with him, called The Empty Child.

A revolutionary and revelatory experience, that single episode changed everything for me, regarding Doctor Who. Everything I thought and assumed I understood about Doctor Who.

This remarkable, single episode made me a fan.

Or, more precisely, that single episode incited a fascination that made me want to see what I had been missing so far in the new series.

And THAT is what made me a fan.

Doctor Who is capable of THIS caliber of storytelling? Tell me more!

And to think I almost missed out.

So enamored, I even made an effort to go back and try to watch most of the preceding episodes of Classic Who, plus every episode of New Who since that phenomenal encounter with the ninth Doctor.

Just like companions in the show, if you are ready, willing and serendipitously catch The Doctor at the right time (as a viewer), he can change your perspective, and change you for the better.

I’ll always have an affection for the fourth Doctor; and indeed list him as my second favorite.

But only because Eccleston’s Doctor, the ninth, made me a devoted Whovian. He showed me the greatness that Doctor Who is truly capable of.

That is how and why he became MY Doctor.

Getting the right actor to play this character is always a vital component, but especially for bringing the show back in 2005. And Christopher Eccleston was an excellent casting choice.

If not for the terrible script of the TV movie in 1996, Paul McGann would have been the actor to bring the franchise back, years earlier.

But then, we never would have gotten Eccleston, Tennant and Smith. A terrible script is what almost cost me discovering and loving the New Who series. More than the fantastic stories that came after the new pilot, it was Eccleston’s performance that really endeared this new Doctor to me. McGann and Eccelston both demonstrate that a great actor cannot save a bad script, or redeem a weak story.

While I was sad and disappointed that Eccelston chose to leave after only one season, citing unpleasant working conditions, I can understand.

Considering the trials and tribulations of re-creating and re-invigorating the Doctor Who series, Eccelston was put in an unenviable position of being the face of the new show. The pressure on him to portray this iconic character and not disappoint the fans-- after so many years off the air-- must have been immense. The scrutiny—by the fans, the media and the studio suits-- must have been intense.

Behind the scenes logistics and expectations must have surely been frantic, hectic, nerve wracking… trying establish protocols and figure out how to make this new series.

Eccelston was essentially a guinea pig, suffering through the working out of all the kinks and bugs inherent in rebuilding this massive franchise, with an entirely new crew and staff. No doubt Eccleston bore the brunt of the stress.

But if he had to leave so soon, at least he was able to go out with a magnificent departure story.

And it is the tone of that amazing exit that nudged some nebulous impression in the back of my mind regarding the nature of Time Lord regenerations.

The ninth Doctor’s attitude about his impending ending sparked the beginning of an awareness in me that there is something more to the regeneration process than I ever realized; more than the series had ever led us to believe.

It was a profound melancholy sadness expressed by Doctor nine about having to regenerate. Which is a reaction to his death that we’ve never seen from any previous Doctor.

As if the Doctor himself, with his transition from eighth incarnation to ninth, had become aware of what I was struggling to identify. Precisely what I subtly detected in Eccelston’s performance during his death scene eluded me for a long time.

If, as The Doctor always claimed, he wasn’t really dying, merely changing, then why is he so unusually reluctant and regretful?

Not until Doctor ten regenerated— exhibiting a profound sense of loss, sorrow and grief-- was I able to fully recognize, comprehend and articulate that awareness. be continued...

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Toward Some Imagined Horizon

ABE from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.

RAHAB from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.

LOST MEMORIES (French, English Subtitles) from Francois Ferracci on Vimeo.

The Doctor Who Project is a virtual series, beginning where the Classic series ended with the Seventh Doctor, and continuing with the Eighth Doctor (played by Paul McGann). A few of the episodes are actually quite good (each written by Kyle Bastian)...
Particularly: Blossom Core, Fallout, Tears of Rassilon, Gun Powder, Snake Charmer.