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 A Doctor Who Synopsis

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PostSubject: A Doctor Who Synopsis   Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:53 pm



Do you have friends who talk in English accents while wearing ridiculously long scarves, bow ties, and have celery stalks pinned to their lapels? If so, your friends are probably true fans of the longest-running science fiction television program of all time, Doctor Who.
There's a reason it's the longest running sci-fi show of all time. If you've never given Doctor Who a chance—the original run of the show was both hard to find in the United States for many years, and also filled with laughably bad special effects that many wrote off—now's the time to start. This weekend the series returns to the BBC and BBC America in the middle of its seventh series (and arguably its 34th season overall). Here's a quick primer on what you need to know before getting comfy on the couch.
About Doctor Who
Doctor Who first aired on the BBC in England on November 23, 1963—this year is the programme's (English spelling!) 50th anniversary. It was first conceived as a children's program to teach history using time travel. By the second story writers threw education out the window and pitted the main character—the Doctor—against alien aggressors. The die was cast for stories that would enthrall children and adults alike for decades.

The show starred 55-year-old William Hartnell as the Doctor, an alien who travels space and time in his time machine, the TARDIS, with a number of companions. The companions change frequently. So, it turns out, does the Doctor. When Hartnell grew ill only three years into the series, the creators decided that since he played an alien, they could replace him with a totally new actor with a totally new personality. Thus was created the "regeneration" that has allowed 11 actors to take the title.
The show was not always a megahit, even in England. At least not until the 1970s when we met the fourth Doctor, played by Tom Baker. During this time, Douglas Adams, creator ofThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series, worked as the show's script editor. By this point the show crossed into the States, airing mainly on PBS stations for the next couple of decades.
The show continued into the 1980s with three more Doctors before the BBC pulled the plug in 1989. Things didn't look good for the return. A television movie was produced for the United States in 1996 and featured an official regeneration of the seventh Doctor into the eighth, so it is part of the canon of the show. Unfortunately, it was a ratings flop and didn't lead to a new series.
After 16 years off the air Doctor Who returned in 2005. Christopher Eccleston played a new Doctor for a year and when he got tired of the show, he was regenerated into the tenth Doctor (David Tennant). At this point the show entered a golden age, with a mix of cinematic storytelling, great effects, and romance which became the show's backbone. This continued with the 2010 regeneration into the 11th Doctor, played by 26-year-old Matt Smith, the youngest actor to take the role.

This week's return comes in the middle of Smith's third full season (or series, as they call it in the United Kingdom). Rumor is that after he does a 50th anniversary Doctor Who special this year, he may be saying good-bye to the role as well.
Who Is the Doctor?

Let's be clear: Doctor Who is the name of the TV show. The main character is called the Doctor. No one calls him "Doctor Who." However, the phrase "Doctor who?" is taking on life as a plot-point in the show.
The Doctor is an alien from a race known as Time Lords. He's from the planet Gallifrey, and when he was about 900 or so years old, the Doctor (whose real name is shrouded in mystery) got sick of life among beings who could do whatever they pleased in space and time, but refused to do much of anything. So he stole a time machine called a TARDIS, took his granddaughter Susan, and went traveling. The problem is he stole a broken TARDIS. On its first trip to Earth in 1963, its camouflage system for blending into surroundings broke. It's been stuck in the shape of a London Police Box ever since.
The Doctor in his TARDIS travels the cosmos, usually with a human companion or two in tow so he can show off. He can get very attached to these humans, and in fact he's got a special place in his heart for the planet Earth specifically. This affection has been used against him by many a villain.
As a Gallifreyan, the Doctor has not only the ability to regenerate his body entirely when faced with an otherwise fatal trauma, but he also boasts two hearts in his chest. He's got a touch of telepathic ability and a special affinity for noticing when time is out of whack.
He's sometimes cantankerous, sometimes flamboyant, sometimes avuncular, and sometimes clueless—it depends on the scriptwriter and the actor playing him. But the Doctor always has a few traits that stay the same: his need to see justice done, his willingness to step in and help when others will not, and a sense of delight and wonder at seeing new things. This is hard for him, because the Doctor has seen it all.

The Story to Date
The Doctor's had 50 years of adventures, and we've only seen a handful of them. But they may all be culminating in the anniversary special later this year. Rumors are the producers may find a way to include all 11 Doctors—quite a feat considering three of the actors have passed away and at least three others look nothing like they did when they were on the show.
But before that, we have to get through the rest of this season, or Series 7 as it's called.

During Series 6 in the previous year, the Doctor's married companions Amy Pond and Rory Williams had their baby child stolen by an alien religious sect called The Silence (that's one of them above). That happened at the Battle of Demon's Run, where Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax all fought for the Doctor. Unfortunately, they lost. The baby girl was taken back in time to 1969 and raised by the Silence to kill the Doctor; the baby also had the power to regenerate because it was conceived on the TARDIS. As an adult, now called Mels, she became friends with her own parents—and used them to get close to the Doctor to kill him. Except, forced to regenerate, Mels became River Song (played by Alex Kingston), a person who the Doctor has been meeting out of time order. (He originally met her at her death.)
River almost kills him, but the Doctor convinces her to give him her regeneration power to restore him. River and the Doctor are somewhat of an item (before and after this), and are technically married. It's complicated, and time travel makes it even crazier.
In the first half of Series 7, the Doctor had to say good-bye to Amy and Rory, and not by choice. He was cut off to them forever through a contrived timey-whimey plot point. He also met a girl named Oswin (Jenna Louise Coleman) who ended up being a human consciousness in a Dalek casing; she died.
So the Doctor has been pretty depressed and decided to hang around London in the year 1888.

There, with Vastra, Jenny, and Strax, the Doctor meets Clara, another girl who dies while helping save the world. It turns out Oswin and Clara are the same girl, yet somehow separated by time and space, he found her twice. He's determined to find her again, figure out why it happened, and save her once and for all. Maybe at the same time he'll save himself before the prophesized "Fall of the eleventh at the fields of Trenzalore." There, a question will be asked that must never be answered. The question that is the reason the Silence wanted to kill the Doctor. The question being: Doctor Who?


Source:

    By Eric Griffith


The Doctors Wife

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