Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ranking The Doctors

Thinking today about which incarnations of The Doctor are my favorite.

It's a tough question because you can enjoy a version of The Doctor but not enjoy the writing on the episodes he was featured in. The Sixth Doctor is a good example of this dilema. I enjoyed the Sixth Doctor but by an large the episodes he was featured in werent of the same quality and imagination weve come to expect from Doctor Who.

So Im going to judge The Doctors not by the episodes they were in but by how they were portrayed and wether I would want to read them in a original novel.

The following is my list of favorite Doctors in order:

1. Doctor 11

I must admit Ive fallen in love with The Doctor as portrayed by Matt Smith. I
love the constant reminder that there is an old man behind the youthfull appearance. Moffat has successfully reminded us of that by dressing him in an old mans clothes and providing more glimpses of William Hartnel than any series that didnt actually feature Hartnel.

I love the doctor as a slightly more alien character. I believe that has been the case during this portrayal than previous incarnations.

I will admit that placing 11 on the top of the list after only a single season may be premature. However, he is the Doctor of the moment and he is the Doctor who I am most enamoured with right now. Whose character I am interested in seeing evolve.

When a new Doctor takes his place and he becomes on of the former incarnations of the Time Lord we will see how he stacks up to his peers. For the time being though Im of the philosophy you should love the one your with.

2. Doctor 4

I love this Doctor. Love the toothy grins, the long scarf, the wordplay this Doctor was famous for. This Doctor also was a bit more alien than many of his counterparts.
Theres a reason this Doctor is often at the top of everyones list. Doesnt hurt that he had some of the best scripts of the series.

3. Doctor 10

You have to love Tennant. His enthusiasm, his great outfit (love seeing the Doctor in trainers wether in a suit or tux). The most emotional of all the Doctors. Tennant was able to smoothly transition in a scene from loveable clever goofball to menacing ancient power. Tennant will remain on the top of everyones lists for a long Tom Baker he will endure as a fan favorite no matter how many more men take over the role.

4. Doctor 7

This version of The Doctor brought back mystery to the character. This version hinted that there might be more to The Doctor than wed previously led to believe. This Doctor was more of a schemer and a planner than previous incarnations.

This wasnt a Doctor who things happened to this was a Doctor manipulating and pulling the strings always two steps ahead of his advesaries.

My love for this Doctor is also heavily influenced by his original novels published after the show was cancelled. Though the current novels are being written for young adults the 7th Doctors novels were written for adults. They were usually dark, complicated, involved science fiction. These were stories that could never have been told on television and that dared to explore some of the backstory and mythology of Doctor Who. Great Books.

5. Doctor 9

While Im not a fan of the writing the season that featured Doctor 9, I do appreciate the thought that RTD put into crafting this version and the way he was portrayed.

RTD refers to this Doctor as the Clint Eastwood Doctor. World weary, traumatized, angry Doctor redeemed by a wide-eyed, cheerful companion.

Love the leather jacket and the mystery behind this Doctor. How did we get from 8 to 9? What guilt is he bearing for the Time War? Its a wonderful, complicated, emotional Doctor.

6. Doctor 2

I must admit I have not seen many episodes of the 2cnd Doctor. My knowledge of him comes mostly from novelizations and clips. However, I love how Troughton portrayed the Doctor. This was the first glimpse the show gave us of the Doctors alien nature.

I love the how the Doctor acts as the doting uncle to his companions and as the fool to his advesaries. This Doctor allowed his enemies to underestimate him to win his battles.

7. Doctor 8

This is a tough call. Only one episode of screen time. However, McGann had the right look for the Doctor, I loved the outfit and calm otherworldlyness.

The 8th Doctor also had several novels that helped solidify his character even if they were off screen.

8. Doctor 6

I like to think of this as the mid-life crisis Doctor. Half way through his regenerations hes saved the world enough times and defeated the Daleks and Cybermen enough times to become a bit cocky. This Doctor also didnt seem to care what others thought of him. This was also the first Doctor I was really exposed to and I must admit at the time I thought the plaid jacket was cool.

Horrible seasons but interesting Doctor.

9. Doctor 1

This Doctor is interesting to me cause he was the first. This is the incarnation that decided to steal a TARDIS and go into exile. This is the Doctor that who though he appears old is actually the Doctor at his youngest, most desperate and inexperienced.

10. Doctor 5

This was the a Doctor settling into his life in exile. Similar to Matt Smith it was interesting to see the old man in a young mans body.
Though at times I found him flat and a bit boring on screen

11. Doctor 3

I know a lot of people love this Doctor, but to me I cant get excited about an earth bound Doctor who didnt have access to his TARDIS. This Doctor was written to be an older James Bond. While I enjoy all things Doctor Who, this has to be my least favorite version. I prefer my Doctor a little bit more Time Lord a little less secret agent.

So thats my list. Whats yours?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Maligned T. Rex eyesight the best in animal history?

In the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, one human character tells another that a Tyrannosaurus rex can't see them if they don't move, even though the beast is right in front of them. Now, a scientist reports that T. rex had some of the best vision in animal history. This sensory prowess strengthens arguments for T. rex's role as predator instead of scavenger.

In modern animals, predators have better binocular vision than scavengers do, agrees Thomas R. Holtz Jr. of the University of Maryland at College Park. Binocular vision "almost certainly was a predatory adaptation," he says.

Scientists had some evidence from measurements of T. rex skulls that the animal could see well. Recently, Kent A. Stevens of the University of Oregon in Eugene went further.
Tyrannosaurus rex's cheek grooves (below the eye sockets) and narrow snout cleared its sight lines, giving it impressive vision, according the new study.

He used facial models of seven types of dinosaurs to reconstruct their binocular range, the area viewed simultaneously by both eyes. The wider an animal's binocular range, the better its depth perception and capacity to distinguish objects—even those that are motionless or camouflaged.

T. rex had a binocular range of 55°, which is wider than that of modern hawks, Stevens reports in the summer Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Moreover, over the millennia, T. rex evolved features that improved its vision: Its snout grew lower and narrower, cheek grooves cleared its sight lines, and its eyeballs enlarged.

"It was a selective advantage for this animal to see three-dimensionally ahead of it," Stevens says.

He found that T. rex might have had visual acuity as much as 13 times that of people. By comparison, an eagle's acuity is 3.6 times that of a person.

Moral of this story - if your ever in a Jurassic Park with T. Rex's on the loose and someone tells you to stand still ... screw him and run!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Empire Of The Jurassic and The Angels of The Cold Earth

Collected Tweets by DoctorLongscarf

The Doctor and Amy followed the tour group as the enthusiastic bearded older man exclaimed "Welcome to Jurassic Park"

The Doctor and Amy stared up at the caged T-Rex. "Oh this is bad" The Doctor whispered "This is very, very, not good"

"You promised me an island" Amy whined "Well" The Doctor shrugged "This is an island, technically, albeit full of dinosaurs"

* * *

The Doctor and Amy were surrounded by velociraptors. The Doctor reached into his tweed jacket and slowly pulled out his sonic screwdriver.

"Hows that going to help" Amy said staring at the sonic screwdriver. The Doctor glanced over at her and winked.

"The thing about dinosaurs Pond" The Doctor lectured as if their lives were not in imminent danger " Crap eyesight but amazing hearing"

The Doctor activated the sonic screwdriver and all hell broke loose. The velociraptors as one roared in pain and scattered as if drunk.

Amid the confusion of the pained and disoriented velociraptors The Doctor grabbed Amy’s hand pulled her to him and yelled "Run Pond, Run!"

* * *

Amy, out of breath, leaned against the cabin wall and began to wipe the mud off her bare legs. She had fallen running from the velociraptors

As Amy took a breath and wiped the mud from her legs she looked up and caught Dr Malcolm ogling her lecherously.

"You ok Pond?" The Doctor leaned down to make eye contact with Amy and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

* * *

The six foot tall green scaled creature lunged at Amy but was stopped short as multiple bullets pierced its armor plated chest.

Smoke escaped the barrels of Grants shotgun as The Doctor reached for Amy and she exclaimed "Worst Vacation Ever!".

Dr Malcolm and the others leaned over the body of the creature which had attacked Amy. It was bipedal, green, scaled with yellow eyes

"I’m no expert" Dr Malcolm said breaking the silence staring at the lizard like man "but that doesn’t look like a dinosaur to me"

"It’s not a dinosaur" The Doctor said "It’s a Silurian, I believe we have discovered the saboteurs of your Jurassic Park."

"Things just got much, much, worse" The Doctor said adjusting his red bow tie absentmindedly as he scanned the jungle.

"How could things possibly be worse?" Sattler asked

"You been running scared from dinosaurs" The Doctor explained "The Silurians used to keep them as pets. Imagine the masters"

* * *

"What do these creatures want with my park?" John Hammond enquired puzzled and out of breath.

"You may have set out to make an amusement park Mr. Hammond…" The Doctor called back as he scanned the cabin for equipment.

“.. . but what you have actually done is recreate their old home and given the Silurians a reason to return" The Doctor said ominously.

* * *

Cautiously, The Doctor, Amy, Dr. Malcolm, Grant and Sattler crouched towards the outskirts of the Silurian base.

In the distance Amy could observe armed Silurians riding on the backs of multiple Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The Doctor and Amy hid behind trees and brush and observed the Silurians releasing the remaining dinosaurs from their cages .

"We are all going to die" Malcolm said in a resigned accepting tone as he stared at the host of armed Silurians and released dinosaurs.

The Doctor patted Malcolm on the back "Cheer up Malcolm" he said with a grin "Wait here I’m going to say hello to our new neighbors”.

Before anyone could react he stood up walked through the brush and approached the armed Silurians with a casual wave and a friendly "Hello, I’m The Doctor" .

* * *

"This island, Isla Nublar, shall be the capital of the new Silurian Empire!" the Silurian leader exclaimed to the cheers of his people.

"Excuse me" The Doctor interjected "If this is the capital how far will this empire extend?". The Silurian Leader responded "Over the entire Earth!"

"Ahh" The Doctor sighed running his hand through his mop of hair "well then I’m afraid I can’t allow that”.

* * *

As Amy waited in the brush with Malcolm and the others a large explosion rocked them off their feet.

Moments later a blur of legs and tweed came busting past them. The Doctor circled back long enough to say "Run!" and continued on his way.

* * *

"If the Silurians leave this island w an army of cloned dinosaurs all of humanity will be lost, we must contain them here" said The Doctor

"How do u propose we do that?" Malcolm asked. Tugging on his red suspenders The Doctor responded with a tap to his nose "I have a plan”

"There are far worse things on this island than Silurians and Dinosaurs" The Doctor supplied as he lead the group through the jungle.

"I didn’t actually come to this island looking for Silurians and Dinosaurs. I came to stop something of unimaginable evil"

"Now instead of stopping it we are going to unleash it on the Silurians. This plan should appeal to you Malcolm. It’s pure chaos!"

With a frown The Doctor added "Then we’ll worry about getting the genie back in the bottle".

* * *

"Where are we going?" Sattler asked as she rushed to catch up to The Doctor

"We are heading to main complex to unpack some of Hammond’s decorations" The Doctor said leaping onto a overturned tree trunk

Amy climbed up beside him as the Doctor looked around to gain his bearings. "Explain" Amy said

The Doctor looked over at Amy "Seems Mr. Hammond has a taste for rare antiquities. He bought four rare statues to place in his lobby"

The Doctor jumped down of the trunk and continued on his way "Were going to unpack them for him".

"Why in God’s name are we doing that?" Hammond asked

"This has nothing to do with God at all Mr. Hammond" The Doctor responded "It has to do with Angel’s".

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ranking The First 6 Doctor Who Series 5 episodes in Terms Of Re-Watchability

So 6 episodes in I feel like ranking the episodes in terms of which episodes are the most rewatchable. Keep in mind that doesnt mean they are the best episodes but they are the ones you reach for when you have 45 minutes to kill. (Example: Though I think BLINK is a brilliant episode, it doesnt even feature The Doctor prominently, so one or two showings is probably enough for me.)

In my opinion, in terms of getting played on my iPad, this is the order of most rewatchable:

1) Time Of Angels
2) Flesh and Stone
3) The 11th Hour
4) Victory Of The Daleks
5) The Vampires Of Venice
6) The Beast Below

How about you?

Friday, April 16, 2010

In Great Popcorn Sci-Fi, Its All About The Ship

" I want the Doctor out there having adventures. For kids its all about Narnia not about the Wardrobe." ~ Stephen Moffat

I respectfully disagree with Stephen Moffat. For me, It is about the wardrobe. Or rather its about the fascination of the Wardrobe that could transport you to a place like Narnia.

Half of my love for the Franchise Doctor Who is the TARDIS. The TARDIS is the Robin to The Doctor's Batman.

The perfect Doctor Who episode, for me, begins in the TARDIS and ends in the TARDIS. Nothing annoyed me more than the trend during the 7th Doctor's run of not even showing the TARDIS during an episode.

All great Popcorn Sci-Fi includes the relationship of a hero and his transport.

Think Star Wars. Sure the Jedi were cool but does anything really top a man, his Wookie and a ship that can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?

Most fans agree that the best Star Wars film was The Empire Strikes Back. Is it any coincidence that Empire Strikes Back is the film that features Han on the Millenium Falcon the most?

While there is some debate about the best Star Wars film uninamously all fans agree that Return of the Jedi was the most disapointing. Was it the ewoks? Possibly, but I will argue that its the only film of the original trilogy that doesnt have Han Solo on the Falcon.

Star Trek is another favorite Sci-Fi staple. Again my least favorite episodes where the ones that took the Enterprise out of the action. Sure, on those episodes where the focus was on the principles on some planets surface there were the glimpses of the Enterprise orbiting the planet. To me however, thats like having a Ferrari parked in the driveway. My favorite episodes are those where the Enterprise is a part of the action. Give me Balance Of Terror over Shore Leave any day.

Firefly is another great popcorn sci-fi show. One that consistently made good use of its ship. Whedon understood, better than most show runners, that the Serenity was as much a character on the show as Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

The Doctor, Captain Kirk, Malcolm Reynolds - great heroes all. But where would they all be without the TARDIS, ENTERPRISE and SERENITY? Nowhere.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Genetic Transfer, Travel In TARDIS or Fixed Point in Time

The hottest geek game since "Paper, Rock, Lizard, Spock"

Its an easy game. Name 3 celebrities and determine if , as a Time Lord, you would perform a casual Genetic Transfer, take them with you to Travel In the TARDIS, or since the celebrity is a Fixed Point in Time you leave them to die.

If your unfamiliar with the Doctor Who terminology, a brief explanation.

Genetic Transfer (GT)

Occasionally the Doctor takes a fancy to a woman and will share some romantic time with her but at the end of the episode hes done with her. Example: Lady Christina in The Planet of the Dead .

Sometimes the Doctor will even state that he was forced to french kiss a woman to perform a "Genetic Transfer". Yeah, OK.

I assume a Genetic Transfer would be even more effective if other bodily fluids were exchanged.

Regardless, they may have had chemistry but these girls dont make it to the TARDIS.

Travel In TARDIS (TIT)

Sometimes the Doctor becomes infatuated enough that he brings the young lady back to the TARDIS for a longer relationship. One assumes the ladies are visiting a Dimensionally Transendental bedroom. Examples: Rose Tyler, Sarah Jane Smith

Fixed Point in Time (FPT)

Then there are the ladies the Doctor just wants to be rid of all together. He will justify this death by stating "She was a Fixed Point in Time. Trust me she had to die."


So a sample game would go like so -
GIT, TIT, FPT: Rose Tyler, Kate from Lost, Susan Boyle.

I would perform a Genetic Transfer (GT) with Kate, Bring Rose Tyler for some Travel In the TARDIS (TIT) and unfortunately Susan Boyle is a Fixed Point in Time (FPT) so shes gonna have to die.

hashtag #DWgame

Monday, March 1, 2010

"Looking Time Lord" - Its A Rank Not A Race

Not all Gallifreyans are Time Lords

The new Doctor Who series breezes over a fact somewhat established in Classic Doctor Who - Not everyone from Gallifrey is a Time Lord.

Much like US Senators are Americans but not all Americans are US Senators. Time Lords are a handfull of Gallifreyans who achieve a level of learning and pass certain requirements who are then allowed into an elite brotherhood. In the episode 'The Deadly Assasin' the dialogue mentions a plebian class, implying not all Galifreyans are Time Lords.

It can also be implied from Classic Who that the ability to regenerate is not a genetic trait of Gallifreyans but a scientific achievement granted to Gallifreyans who become Time Lords. The fact that regeneration is a scientific achievement rather than a genetic gift is demonstrated in the episode 'The Five Doctors'. In that episode The Master, having run out of his 12 regenerations, is offered a fresh cycle by the Time Lords for his assistance.

I believe the clearest arguement for both of these theories is demonstrated by the character of The Doctor's grandaughter, Susan.

It is clear that Susan was a Gallifreyan but not a Time Lady like Romana or The Rani.

This could also explain some of the actions taken by the first Doctor.
The Doctor stole the TARDIS from his people and brought his grandaughter with him as he fled.

It has often been mentioned both in Classic and New Who that the Doctor is a lonely man. That he brings companions with him to help abate the loneliness. If Susan had the ability to regenerate she could have traveled with him forever.

However, the Doctor left her behind on a planet so she could make a life for herself. Probably, because he knew she would grow old traveling with him while he would regenerate and become younger watching her age and die. Something which the Doctor would not have been able to endure.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

11th Doctors costume was originally much different

According to an interview with Steven Moffat the costume we currently see on the 11th Doctor was completely different than what was originally planned. Apparently Matt Smoth was uncomfortable wearing the original outfit and the new costume was arrived at last minute based on Matt's recomendation.

The original costume for the 11th Doctor was ".. a bit more piratey, big long coats and all that stuff- and Matt hated it all".

Supposedly there are several pictures of Matt wearing the original outfit.

I would love to see what the original outift looked like.

Matt grew fond of the bowtie after watching the 2cnd Doctor in "Tomb of the Cybermen" and recommended the tweed jacket with the elbow patches.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why the 11th Doctor's outfit, while not iconic, may work for the character as played by Matt Smith

As a disclaimer, I must admit I love the 10th Doctor's outfit. The combination of the blue suit wearing red trainers with a brown trenchcoat just works.

Walk around a Comic Con and you will find two versions of the Doctor walking amid the vendor booths and fans dressed as storm troopers: A certain jelly baby loving Doctor sporting a long scarf and a red converses peaking out below brown trenchcoats.

My initial reaction to the pictures of Matt Smith wearing the Doctor's new outfit were lukewarm. Over time however it has begun to grow on me.

Matt Smith will be the youngest actor to ever play the Doctor at the point were the character is at his oldest. Its important to note that while the Doctor was always old from a human viewpoint, he began the story as a very young Time Lord. Even the 1st Doctor, as played by an ancient looking William Hartnel, was young by a Time Lord's measure. He had not even undergone his first regeneration. From the first episode of Doctor Who to the current 11th Doctor, the Doctor has aged over 500 years.

So that is the Doctor Matt Smith will be portraying - an old man in a young mans body It is an aspect of the character that RTD touched upon briefly, upon occasion, that I hope Stephen Moffat will delve into further.

This is why the 11th Doctor's new outfit makes sense to me. It visually communicates something about the character. The clothes he is wearing are old fashioned. An old man's clothes. The disconnect of a young man in an old mans clothes are symbolic of the old soul in a young man body.

It is my hope that Matt Smith will play the Doctor as an old man entering the final years of his life. A Time Lord who has more days behind him than ahead of him trying to accomplish as much as possible in the days left to him and taking advantage of the youth and energy of his new regeneration to help him get it done.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

2 Scenes in the new Doctor Who trailers that show promise

There are two scenes in the new Doctor Who trailers, that for me, really show the promise of what Doctor Who can be at its best and justify the hope that some of us fans have had regarding Stephen Moffat taking over the show.

Scene 1 shown in the first trailer:

Newly regenerated Doctor stand in a field facing the TARDIS looking upon her lovingly with excitement in his voice and asks

"OK what have you got for me this time?"

Thats a great scene. It shows the bond between the Doctor and the TARDIS. Its not just a vehicle for him to travel. Its a gateway to adventure. He loves the TARDIS.

It also expresses the concept that, more often than not, its the TARDIS taking him to unexpected times and places ,than it is the Doctor piloting the TARDIS.

Scene 2 shown in second trailer:

Its night and the Doctor lies in a field of grass with, soon to be companion, Amy Pond staring up at the stars. These arent just lights in the sky to the Doctor they are places to be traveled to.

Then he utters the line ...

"All of time and space everywhere and anywhere every star that ever was. Where do you want to start?"

This is Doctor Who at its best. Unlimited potential and possibilities. Stories that can (AND SHOULD) take place throughout all of time and space. Give us more of the Doctor on space stations and starships. Ancient planets and modern Cardif.

Where will they start?

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