dr. who psychological themes | INFJ Forum

dr. who psychological themes

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  1. beetpoet

    beetpoet Community Member

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    last night i watched "the end of time" which is the latest in bbc series dr. who, which will begin the fifth season in april. i just started watching the show a couple of months ago, and have since watched some of the older seasons too (as it's been running in some form or other since the 1960s).

    does anyone else watch or enjoy the show?

    i was trying to think what is so compelling for me (besides david tennant's smart cuteness!) i ran across this older article recently on the theme of solitude and endings in dr. who.

    Time travel... in Doctor Who, works not only as a device to shape the plot and structure, but as a metaphor for what in relationships is unknowable and inaccessible, and as a foreshadowing of their end. (Sam Leith, the UK Telegraph)

    i like its meditation on impermanence, but the need to have companions even so.

    i also like dr. who's deeply developed pacifism. and how it's tested in various situations. and how it was born out of his past violence. maybe the idea that if people live long enough they see the futility of hatred.

    i'm going to miss david tennant in the role! but look forward to the new season.

    i wondered if others have favorite themes from the show....or thoughts from it...


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Dr Who is awesomes!!!! :m107: I've been a fan since I accidentally caught an episode on PBS when I was 8 or 9 years old. After that, I stayed up way too late every Friday to watch Jon Pertree, Tom Baker and Peter Davidson run away from stone monsters, slug monsters, cabbage monsters, minotaur monsters, plant monsters, pepper shaker monsters, tin man monsters, ok, ok. I digress. And I remember all the non-monster episodes, too. But I loved it.

    I particularly like the writing of David Moffat (who is now head writer so I'm thrilled.) David seems to focus on the relationships between the living and the dead. I'm not sure how to explain that, but he's the guy who did episodes about:

    * The sister and brother where the brother had been turned into a gas mask zombie and the sister wanted to rescue him but had to keep running from him

    * The library in the future where the thoughts of a person continue to "think out loud" for minutes after the person is dead until they decay into thought loops of existential angst.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Es0nq1B3xE"]YouTube- Dr.Who S4 E8 Silence In The Library Part 4[/ame]


    * The gargoyles that can only move when you cannot see them

    I think that he applies that tension between the life and death that gives his episodes gravitas without being melodramatic.

    I'm tired of the ENDLESS world war 2 metaphors that have permeated Dr Who for the last 40 (omg) years. They always use a WW2 metaphor for the season finales and they are too grandiose for me to enjoy. I'm kind of hoping that they are finally done with rehashing fascist invasion, but I am probably wrong.

    I'm also a fan of Torchwood. In particular, "Children of Earth," and the final episodes with the undead doctor, were excellent. The themes of "Children of Earth": addiction, guilt, shame, and how we can extend blind self interest to include our families, and what violating that self interest would mean morally, was just riveting and in the end, terribly unsettling.
     
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    #2 Ecton, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  3. the

    the Si master race.
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    I got all the new episodes since the ninth Doctor and me and my mother like him better than the tenth doctor. I love the show. Personally I like to see how the British portray WWII. It is different than how Americans portray it in t.v..
     
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    beetpoet

    beetpoet Community Member

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    haha. i was just watching an old tom baker episode where they were dealing with these "slugs" wrapped in green bubble wrap. one thing that is nice about the older episodes is how much slower they are. not so much running and jumping to deal with problems.

    yes. i like that idea of how people reverberate through time. i loved the "blink" episode and was glad to hear that david moffat will be head writer. i also liked the silence in the library episode and how the doctor lost his companion before he had even found her and the emotional implications of that.

    i was noticing in one episode where the daleks invade the world they have them flying around germany yelling stuff (probably "exterminate") in german. and how it sounded like an old nazi movie. that facist theme. heh. and "the master" literally making a "master race". maybe because the show started in the 60s, which were really close in time to world war two. but, yeah. i agree that it would be interesting to explore other themes.

    i'll have to check it out. i appreciate that the show has captain jack - maybe the first bisexual main character in a tv show?
     
  5. muir

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    Someone was explaining one of the recent episodes to me....this idea that the Doctor can pass through time and affect it but that there are moments in time...specific events which he is not supposed to alter

    I don't know perhaps they are like pillars in the geometry of time

    Yet in one episode he does alter an event because he cannot forsake the humans who will die otherwise

    This idea kind of ties into synchronicity and the concept that there is a larger structure within which chaos and order operate
     
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    #5 muir, Mar 28, 2010
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  6. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Yeah, the show has always struggled with the concept of time travel in a morality where consequences matter. As much from twisted concoctions to try to eliminate paradox as from the implications of affecting time.

    In the older show, often times the doctor simple ran away from the problem and there was intended poignancy in that. I feel like this was not only because of the important physical problems this would cause, but also because he was too curious and always poking his nose around and that implied that he had to always ramble to avoid living a "full life" with the knots it would create in time. He was a kind of a 'forced adventurer'. He could never live a sequential life in the standard time line, or he would cause a disaster because he had already crossed time-lines too many times.

    In the newer show, the Doctor is a lot less of a Hobo and more of a Refugee looking for a home. In that sense, he is borrowing a lot more from the lives and families of his companions, and getting sucked into contradictions and paradoxes more readily. Less hobo action hero, more reluctant soldier.

    In this sense, the new writers have done an awesome job with the theme of regret for the things you can only know later that you can't know when it matters. They also bring up the doctor's fatalism with respect to the lives of people around him. And in some sense he spends the first seasons of the new show coming to grips with this morbid limitation.

    The episode with Rose saving her father, and the doctor underestimating that this is what a human would be tempted to do, is a good example. In that sense, they were as much focusing on Rose's humanity as they were on The Doctor's separation from having a life. So in the end, he sacrifices himself again. As always.

    There is also an episode where an evil insect is forcing Donna to change the little things in her life that will eventually make her life have its unique value. In that sense, they are hinting at the human belief int destiny, and then analyzing whether this is reverse thinking or not, and then whether it is such a bad thing even if it is.

    All of that packed into the better episodes of a family adventure show is quite a feat. The writers take this seriously. Generally, the season finales are not the highlight of the writing, IMHO, as they tend to focus on face-forward action drama, and tone down on the weaving that I enjoy.

    I liked both Doctors 9 and 10, very different characters that both were played well, IMHO. I would have liked Chris to stay with the series more. But it wasn't going to work out for him as a person. He got really bad psoriasis from the day-to-day hectic schedule of tv filming. I can certainly sympathize with his need to move on, and perhaps play less juvenile roles.
     
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    #6 Ecton, Apr 2, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  7. Gaze

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    Love the TV show, especially with David Tennant in the lead. The "Blink" episode with Carey Mulligan was very good.
     
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  8. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    I agree, Mr. Tennant was great. I think one of the reasons he is a fan favorite is that he seemed to understand the role and saw it from the perspective of what it would be like for a fan to wake up in his body, but while still being a very compelling and talented actor.
     
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  9. perpetual_liar

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    I am quite obsessed with Doctor Who. I've only been watching it since David Tennant came in, but I've watched most of the Chris Eccelston episodes and whatever pre-revival episodes I can get a hold of.

    Chris Eccelston, I've always thought was a good actor/character to get the new generation of potential audiences into the show, (which was quite successful), and following him up with David Tennant was definitely a good move.

    It never ceases to amuse me, how it shows that David Tennant is a stage actor.

    Matt Smith, Doctor no.11, I'm hoping will continue this streak of good choices from the casting department.

    Am I the only that has noticed that the Doctors are getting younger as the show gets more modern?

    As for themes and thoughts, what I've seen of the relationship between the Doctor and the Master continues to fascinate me. They're constantly fighting each other, but the hidden themes and psychological hints are never ending.

    This turned out to be quite long, sorry. If anyone actually reads this, then thank you!
     
  10. Gaze

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    The new season is starting next week! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!
     
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  11. 88chaz88

    88chaz88 Back for a limited time only
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    It already started last friday.

    Or is it delayed in other countries?
     
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  12. perpetual_liar

    perpetual_liar Community Member

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    Here in Australia, we don't get Christmas Specials until Halloween the next year!
    Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, just a bit, but that's what it feels like to me!
     
  13. Ecton

    Ecton Community Member

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    Argh. This is roughly the time I start to develop the pirating part of my personality.

    Avast ye, Internet, I be comin aboard to get me some BBC programming, and I cant pay yer tax!
     
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  14. muir

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    Welcome aboard shipmate

    I pay tax but i don't watch TV so you can offset your viewing with that if you want to end your piratical ways....like carbon offsetting but without the smelly fumes....

    Internet has made TV obsolete as far as i'm concerned...you can watch the best stuff, when you like without the acursed adverts!

    Concerning the Doctor getting younger....is that a generational thing OR is the actual timelord getting younger? Maybe in his final transformation there will just be a wailing baby lying on the tardis floor!.....something to ponder!
     
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  15. Gaze

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    Yeah, it is.
     
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  16. 88chaz88

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    It's just random. They pick whoever they think is best during the auditions. The doctor could even be female.

    So I could potentially ruin it for you...

    :m029:
     
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  17. muir

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    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-H_o6ncUz3g"]YouTube- Orbital - Doctor Who[/ame]

    You've got to get us out of here Doctor....you've got to get us out of here!
     
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    #17 muir, Apr 9, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
  18. Tzimzai

    Tzimzai Mildly Misanthropic
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    Huh?
    I used to watch Dr. Who all the time on PBS when I was a kid. I recently started watching from the beginning in 1963 onward. I got a little Dr. Whoed out around 1965 so I'm taking a break.
     
  19. OP
    beetpoet

    beetpoet Community Member

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    yes. i think this is what i like about the show so much. the underlying themes are often really thought provoking about life/death/time and loss. thank you for sharing this ecton.
     
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    beetpoet

    beetpoet Community Member

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    i'm kind of wondering how i will like the younger doctor. he almost seems like he would be too young.

    i like the interplay of the doctor and the master too. i don't know the history from the older tv shows, but i liked the ones in the current seasons. kind of like having a family member that you love who has mental illness. wanting to care for them and also keep them from harming others.
     
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