Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The 13 Faces of The Doctor: The War Doctor

Week Nine! : 'The 13 Faces of the Doctor'

Yes, I'm putting the War Doctor here because he is the (new) true ninth incarnation of the Doctor, though through a bit of semantics is not actually the 'Ninth Doctor' (so the BBC merchandizing department doesn't have to deal with the Sisyphean task of fixing all of the millions of Doctor Who product to reflect a new numbering system. Nice job, Moffat! A+ thinking!)

So, I'll try to be brief. The Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor is the Gordian Knot (look at that! Two antiquated references in a little over a paragraph. My college Classical Literature professor must be proud... Now, where was I...) .... The Gordian Knot of Doctor Who continuity... and this was even before the return of the new series. 

Of course, all the confusion was made by the BBC during the period between the Eighth Doctor/Fox Pilot and the return of the series. The later 'Eighth Doctor' novels even made fun of this fact (in 'Gallifrey Chronicles') and how muddled his timeline was. Most of fandom, as a way of explaining all the nonsense, just waved their hands claiming that it was all from the conflicts and rewriting of time from the Last Great Time War (the deus ex machina of explanations.... and that makes it a hat trick of classical references!) 

Anyway, here's what the BBC did...

The Curse of the Fatal Death (1999), written by Steven Moffat (remember him?) Now, yes... this was a comedy skit broadcast on the BBC, but people were really drawn towards the idea of a Rowan Atkinson Ninth Doctor (even if he was on the screen for like 10 minutes.) Is he part of continuity..? Very unlikely, but it does muddy the waters. Then there was also that Richard E. Grant guy, which brings us to..

The Scream of Shalka (2003), written by Paul Cornell. This was an animated webcast produced by the BBC with a new OFFICIAL (at the time) Ninth Doctor, voiced by Richard E. Grant, and kind of based upon Sherlock Holmes funneled through Grant's Withnail character (from 'Withnail and I' [1986]... a brilliant brilliant film... kinda like 'Fear and Loathing in the Lake District' with Paul McGann [Doctor #8] as 'I') As I said, this was announced by the BBC as the new Doctor, the official continuation of the series... which only lasted one story. Plus, the Doctor's companion was... The Master (who's consciousness [after the Fox pilot] was uploaded to an android body and couldn't leave the TARDIS... how weird is that? He was also voiced by Sir Derek Jacobi, who played the 'human' Master in 'Utopia'.)  Oh... and there was also that David Tennant guy playing a minor role in the story. Wonder what ever became of him? He has such potential...

... and now we have The War Doctor as the new official Ninth Incarnation of the Doctor. While I really enjoyed 'The Day of the Doctor', I wanted more from this incarnation. He obviously had been fighting in the Time War for a long time... what other stories are there? What did he do (other then the obvious thing... that he didn't even do that in the end) that was so shaming? Will we hear anything else about this? And was he much too dour for jelly babies? (Yes... he was.)

Anyway, here we go....

'Great mean are forged in fire. It's the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.' - The Day of the Doctor (2013)

'The War Doctor', Ink/Digital Color, March '14

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