This post is not to be confused with the above t.v. show, which both engrosses and annoys me.
No, this post is actually about a certain science fiction show about a time-traveling alien doctor:
^ Yes, this one
I love Doctor Who. Don’t you?
I think my favorite part is that it can really be anything: the premise is ripe for reinvention and exploration. Honestly, I think that the chance to work on Doctor Who is a speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. At least, it’s this speculative writer’s ultimate fantasy. Sometimes, I daydream about what I would do, given the opportunity to work with the coolest writer’s toy out there.
So I thought it would be a fun exercise to share some of my ideas – and I want to hear your ideas, too!
- Lady doctor! I’d want her all quirky and clever and occasionally condescending to the plebes. Of course, you have to advance the Doctor’s recurrent themes about isolation in the universe, as well as the ethical implications of the Time War…
- When women go quirky, they’re infantilized a la Zooey Deschanel. When men go quirky, no one appreciates their genius. Actually, I think Zooey could do a great job, but I am a Zooey fan so your mileage may vary. Let’s just write her a character people appreciate as smart – or should, if they’re being smart.
We’ll even let her bring her ukulele – because ukuleles, like bowties, are cool
- Male companion with a crush on the lady doctor, even though she is out of his universe. (Literally.)
- Do I need to explain this one?
Thank you, Donna, for being apparently the only woman in the universe who can resist the Doctor’s man-musk (and yet you’re still the only person I ship with him)
- Scooby Gang! In a way, I understand why Doctor Who has stuck closely one or two companions – you don’t want the audience to get too attached to any group of companions, because Doctor Who is all about reinvention and Scooby Gangs have a way of endearing themselves to the audience. (See: Buffy.) Also, maybe budget concerns?
- But Doctor Who gives the Doctor the opportunity to make a diverse group of allies throughout the universe – and it seems a shame to waste the potential dynamics that a time-traveling, spacefaring group could create. I want to see a medieval milkmaid interact with a Martian – not just fleetingly, but over a long span of time. Focusing on the group dynamics of the companions might make the show slightly less about the Doctor, but couldn’t that be a good thing? I mean, there’s only so many times we can see different actors angst about the same Doctor issues.
- Extended storylines with decent pacing. Yes, we already have extended storylines. And Moffat seems to have steered away from them in this current season, maybe because there was so much backlash about last season? But the problem with last season wasn’t the extended storyline itself, which I think could have been cool. Like, the blueprint looks okay. But the storyline was frenetically paced, often rushed, and sometimes completely nonsensical.
- *SPOILER ALERT*
- Amy and Rory have a baby! But they don’t care about that baby, apparently, because they never talk about it? Oh my God their childhood friend is their baby! That just came out of nowhere and is never discussed again. While we’re at it, River Song’s entire story arc – which has been teased over two seasons – is going to be basically covered in a single episode.
- And now I’m going to stop whining about it because I think that a disappointing season of Doctor Who is still miles better than most television – but there’s no getting around the fact that we had a decent extended storyline, which would have been more satisfying if the pace had been slowed and characters had been treated as real people rather than tools existing to serve the plot.
- Less Daleks, more Sleeping Angels. ‘Nuff said. This is just shameless personal preference and I have no shame.
- I’d totally write an episode with fantasy tropes (dragons, magic, wizards, ect.) where it turns out to be a planet with advanced technology…
- Because I want to see the Doctor interact with a dragon.
- Because dragons are cool.
There you have it! Some of the basic ways I would change Doctor Who.
(It’s already pretty great, don’t get me wrong. Don’t mean to imply that it needs to be changed. Just having fun.)
What would YOU do with Doctor Who?
Somewhere between five to six months ago, I got myself two parakeets. And it never ceases to amaze me how creatures with such tiny brains can also have such unique personalities.
This is Desi, although my mother calls him Little Napoleon, and sometimes I call him bossy brat. Desi is very defensive of what he views as his property, which is everything. His gut reaction to other creatures is to assert dominance (even me), and you always know what’s on his mind, because he will screech it.
And he’s not…the brightest bulb in the cage? For instance, he has to be persuaded not to eat his own poop right off the perch. (Sort of like the Hyperbole and a Half dog who thinks that he makes his own food.)
Lucy is more chillax than Desi, in that she doesn’t have a desire to conquer everything, just a few things. She’s more wary of humans – for example, she’s hanging onto the side of the cage because she’s unsure of this camera contraption. Desi is more like, I don’t know what a camera is, but if it’s not food then I WILL DEFEAT IT.
Lucy is also quite clever, earning the nickname Little Einstein from my mother. Lucy always figures out the ‘trick’ in the toys (for example, you can turn the whole contraption by turning a spoke), she doesn’t eat her own poop (an important criteria when it comes to parakeets), and she LOOKS BEHIND mirrors. I don’t know that she necessarily recognizes her own reflection, but she’s definitely asking, “Where’s the rest of the bird?” and sensing that maybe it isn’t a real bird, or at least that it’s a horribly crippled bird.
None of these possibilities occur to Desi.
No, like most parakeets, Desi believes there is a third bird in the cage. And he reacts the only way he knows how – by insisting that this third bird immediately, and irrevocably, submit to his dominance. He picks fights with the mirror, loud screeching fights, which involve a lot of head bobbing and running back and forth on the perch and flapping of the wings.
Here’s the thing – he can intimidate Lucy. Hell, sometimes he can intimidate me.
But the mirror?
That’s a fight he’s never gonna win. Because the more excited he gets, the more he sees another bird disrespecting his authoritah.
Such blatant disrespect of authoritah only makes him angrier, which makes the other bird more outrageous, and so on and so on. It can only escalate. And because I’m a loving owner who would never submit her birds to undue stress, I sometimes put two mirrors in the cage. Guys. This bird, guys. This bird. This bird will literally run back and forth, juggling two fights at once, insisting that each mirror bird respect his dominion over all known things in the universe.
When I first discovered this, my immediate reaction was to put ALL THE MIRRORS in the cage. My second reaction was to point and laugh. And my third reaction was to think, haha, stupid bird. Look at the stupid bird, picking fights with himself.
And then I realized.
I totally do this.
Yeah, I might know that I’m fighting with myself. But when you think about it, that only makes it stupider.
I pick pointless fights with myself when I:
- Beat myself up over mistakes
- Insist on perfection
- Don’t cut myself a break, forcing myself to work until breakdown
- Force myself to be anything but myself
- Compare myself to other people
- Otherwise deride myself
- Refuse to acknowledge my own accomplishments, only thinking about perceived shortcomings
I sense I’m not alone in this, because I think everyone goes through times where we’re our own worst enemies. And I’m just saying – next time you’re in a phase like that – try to remember that you’re not a parakeet. Nor should you act like one.
Because they have tiny, tiny brains.
And they eat their own poop.
(This could be another self-esteem metaphor, but I’ll stop there.)
And in case you had any doubts that this post was an excuse to post pictures of my pets…
Desi on the first day – you can tell that he was a baby because he still had all the bars on his head, and he was sitting puffed up on the bottom of the cage because he was scared
I don’t know, I think this picture is super-cute
- If you’ve been alive in the writer’s blogging world, then you’ve probably heard about the huge circus around some literary agents saying it’s not okay to be gay after the apocalypse. Original article here. Except that the agents in question (who chose to out themselves) say that they never said that. I’m confused, and concerned, since my current WIP has gay characters after the sort-of apocalypse. But at least this whole debacle inspired Amanda Rudd to put up a great list of YA gay fiction, which I’m now determined to check out.
- EDIT: Lena Corazon gave me some great links in the comments: First up, a great overview on the YA gay debacle, and also a wonderful list of 10 fantasy novels that just so happen to have gay characters. Thanks Lena!
- Somewhat relatedly, this sparked an interesting conversation on Michael Offutt’s blog about the YA formula. While I’m not sure I agree on the specifics of the formula, I agree that there’s a formula – but is that necessarily a bad thing? Viewers, you decide!
- Tumbling around Tumblr, I found out about this interesting new feature on the Kindle “that will enable readers to highlight a particular passage of an e-book in order to ask its author a question about it”.
- Check out this list of 10 badass women from fantasy literature.
If you ever watch a video on my blog, make it this one:
Sorry that the short list for this week was…well, short. Here’s an adorable monkey to make it up to you.
No, not THIS monkey