Doctor Who: Is Tom Baker Finally Done With Doctor Who?

Categories: Doctor Who

This month I finally got a chance to tap into the return of Tom Baker to the role of the Fourth Doctor in his Big Finish audio drama "The Evil One". The radio plays have offered pre-2005 Doctors a chance to continue their adventures, sometimes even in ways that are better than they had on-screen. Paul McGann and Colin Baker come to mind, but listening to Tom Baker try to recapture the same energy makes me think it's time for one of the most celebrated Doctors to hang it up.

Just to get it out of the way, I'm one of the rare Whovians who just isn't that big of a Tom Baker fan. Oh I love him, don't get me wrong. I love all the Doctors, but it was Christopher Eccleston that first grabbed my attention, then Patrick Troughton, and now Paul McGann. The Fourth Doctor's era had some of the best scripts, enemies, and companions, but for some reason it's just never been my bag of jelly babies. So bear that in mind as we go through this.

Baker is widely seen as THE Doctor for generations of fans, and rightly so. He spent seven years in the role, and was the first Doctor to really bring mainstream international attention (By that I mean he was big in America). He had his scarf, his talking robot dog, a hot savage assistant in a short leather outfit, and Davros to play off of. Until very recently he was the first Doctor people thought of when they heard "Doctor Who?", and only David Tennant comes close to supplementing him in the public mind.

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Doctor Who: How The Ninth Doctor Became Smaller on the Inside

Categories: Doctor Who

I was rewatching "The Day of The Doctor" the other day and I've come to a very sad conclusion about it. Though I adore what John Hurt did with The War Doctor, the fact is that his very existence has firmly placed the Ninth Doctor in the unenviable position of the smallest Doctor of them all.

Allow me to explain.

First of all, this is no judgment of the quality of Eccleston's adventures. He's still solidly in my top five Doctors, and I doubt the show as it exists now would be here today without him. I love the Ninth Doctor.

That said, he has not only the smallest number of adventures of any Doctor, with the introduction of the War Doctor he has lost a lot of what made him seem so huge and powerful in the first place. Steven Moffatt has stated in interviews that the 50th anniversary was originally conceived with Eccleston's return in mind, but that the actor's refusal to do so led to the creation of the lost incarnation played by Hurt.

That means that the long-held assumption that Nine fought at least partly in the Time War is debunked, and though of course he is still the same man there's just something more missing from it because of that. He didn't witness the horrors so often described. His predecessor did.

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Doctor Who: Oliver Harper and the Future of Homosexuals in Doctor Who

Categories: Doctor Who

Warning: Spoilers.

Here in the United States we are undergoing a social shift that is simply staggering in its speed and scope. Anti-same-sex marriage laws all over America are falling so fast that it's honestly difficult to keep up with them at this point. Equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters is actually close to being in our grasp.

And it's something that The Doctor has always known would happen.

Recently I discovered a new companion that easily fits into my top 10. Meet Oliver Harper, associate of the First Doctor and Steven Taylor who was introduced as part of the Big Finish audio stories, the first new companion created for the First Doctor in Big Finish.

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Doctor Who: 5 Reasons We Really Don't Want a Prequel on Gallifrey

Categories: Doctor Who

Recently, 3 Stags, the same group that made the news by sending a replica of the Tardis into low orbit, attempted to put together a series that would deal with the lives of The Doctor and The Master before either left Gallifrey. With no backing from the BBC, but apparently with some form of "We're not typing the cease-and-desist letters just yet", the project was called A Wild Endeavour (Previously called the much-cooler Sons of Gallifrey), and would be a serious, hour-long science fiction drama.

Despite the rabid fanbase and the involvement of some not inconsiderable actors like Rahul Kohli and Alex Zur, 3 Stags was not able to raise the $1.2 million they had hoped on Kickstarter and it looks like the project is likely scrapped. Frankly, I'm relieved. Fond as I am of Doctor Who I have absolutely zero interest in seeing the early life of The Doctor, and I bet when you sit down and think about it you really don't either.

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Doctor Who: Before There Was the Sonic Screwdriver There Was the First Doctor's Ring

Categories: Doctor Who

Aside from the Tardis, the piece of equipment that is most associated with The Doctor is his all-purpose, and in my opinion extremely over-used, tool the sonic screwdriver. Of the 12 different incarnations of the Time Lord only three Doctors have completely forsworn using the device on television, and considering the merchandising potential of the artifact it's highly doubtful that Peter Capaldi will not also have one on hand.

But before the device became The Doctor's trusty side-arm, there was another piece of alien technology that he used to get out scrapes. Namely, a signet ring worn by the First Doctor that was far more than mere jewelry.

The First Doctor wore the ring on the third finger of his left hand. It was large and ornate, and in color pictures from the set you can see that the crystal mounted on it is a deep blue. Occasional he took it off, such as when he was briefly forced to sell it in "The Reign of Terror" for clothes to blend in with Revolution-era France, but in general it was a constant part of his costume.

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Doctor Who: We're Catching Up to "The Future" Rapidly, and It's Not That Wrong

Categories: Doctor Who

George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1948, giving humanity almost four decades to make his dystopia come true. That's sort of the sweet spot of science fiction a lot of the time. You want to set your story far enough in the future to make fantastic new elements not seem out of place, but not so far as to alienate the readers of today.

The nice folks who were writing for Doctor Who 50 years ago surely thought that they had reached that sweet spot when they were setting stories half a century later. After all, who was still going to be paying attention to this silly show in 2014? Well, as it turns out more people than ever are, and that means that stories once considered far off in the future are starting to become just around the corner. The question is, how does the vision of the near-future Earth compare with the Earth envisioned by Doctor Who in the 1960s?

Actually, it's not that far off.

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Zach Levi Explains It All: Why Nerd HQ 2014 Needs Fan Funding

Chuck Cook Photography
Zachary Levi (center) at Nerd HQ along with Chuck co-stars Mekenna Melvin (right) and Joshua Gomez (left)

Nerd HQ is the brainchild of actor Zachary Levi of Chuck fame, business partner (and former Chuck props guy) David Coleman and Courtney Coleman, David's wife. (Levi also provided the voice of Flynn Rider in Disney's Tangled and his singing on "I See the Light" garnered a Grammy award, as well as an Academy and Golden Globe nomination.)

The Nerd Machine
In this video, Zachary Levi explains why Nerd HQ has to be crowd funded this year. Donations are being accepted at the Indie Gogo site (click to view).

Together, they run a company called The Nerd Machine, which produces apparel and accessories that allow fans to express their nerdiness in a loud and proud way.

For the past three years, Nerd HQ has offered, free of charge, a place for pop culture fans to hang out during San Diego Comic-Con. (It is in no way affiliated with the convention.)

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Doctor Who: The 5 Most Important Women Behind the Scenes

Categories: Doctor Who

Joanna Lumley as The Doctor in "The Curse of Fatal Death"
Last Saturday was International Women's Day, and while I would like to say that my Facebook newsfeed was filled to the brim with intelligent discussions involving the accomplishments and struggles of women around the world the truth is I saw a lot more ruminations on why women need a day when the rest of the year is dedicated to making men put up with them as it is. Long story short, I need a new Caps Lock button on my laptop... and wine.

Now, it's a pretty well established fact that our current showrunner Steven Moffat has some... issues with the fairer sex. It's not a subject I'm keen to debate at the moment because I frankly feel that it won't do a lick of good. Moffat's Moffat, and until we see a regime change I have a feeling the women of Doctor Who are going to have a hard time holding their own.

So today I thought I'd look back at the women behind the scenes and off camera that have contributed to Who, and in many cases without whom there wouldn't be a show at all. Hopefully it can serve as a reminder that women are not only as good as men in this arena, sometimes they knock it right out of the freakin' park.

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Doctor Who: Who Was the Longest-Serving Companion?

The Daleks themselves said in "Asylum of the Daleks" that it was known throughout the universe that The Doctor requires companions in his travels. They didn't know why, but they acknowledged that it was so. He's had dozens, maybe hundreds of them in his running through all of time and space. Some last only a brief while, while others stay with him for what seems like ages. Who is the longest serving companion? Well, that depends on how you measure it.

Jamie McCrimmon accompanied the Second Doctor in 113 episodes, far more than any other companion. Frazer Hines happened to be working on the show during one of its busiest times ever and stayed with the program at the request of Patrick Troughton who wished to have Jamie and The Doctor together until the end.

In terms of who has been in the most stories the clear winner is Amy Pond. She was with the Eleventh Doctor in 25 separate television adventures. Rose Tyler is the only companion to travel with a Doctor on every single one of his televised (and in Nine's case prose as well) outings. Jamie comes in second, having missed only "The Power of the Daleks" in Troughton's era.

If you consider how long they were on the show then Tegan Jovankan has the longest tenure, just narrowly beating out Sarah Jane Smith. Janet Fielding held the role for just under three years. Her and Elizabeth Sladen are the only two companion actresses to have featured in four consecutive seasons.

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Doctor Who: 5 Most Ridiculously Expensive Doctor Who Items on Amazon

Categories: Doctor Who

Fun Fact: Houston Press pays me in Tennant Bucks
Take it from somebody who knows, getting really into Doctor ho can be prohibitively expensive. It seems like such a cheap hobby when you're first going through the new series on Netflix and there are 80+ episodes ahead of you all for practically free, but once you burn through that and want to delve into old DVDs, books, comics, and audio stories it starts adding up quick.

No, problem, right? You can just head on to Amazon where there's a bottomless pit of used media for dirt cheap. Well, yes and no. Virtually anything you could want from Doctor Who is indeed on Amazon, but there are a few items that will honestly set you back more than a good used car.

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