Doctor Who: The Library of Carsus discussion

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The TARDIS'S ARCHIVE > What makes a Doctor Who story?

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message 1: by Leela4 (new)

Leela4 | 98 comments What makes a Doctor Who story a Doctor Who story, anyway?

Say, for example, you have a small group of people trying to harness the power of a local godlike force. What makes the story Doctor Who rather than The X-Files or Quatermass or the movie Vibes or...?


message 2: by Eoin (new)

Eoin Flaherty | 4 comments Well to begin with the main character arrives at the scene in a Blue Police Public Call Box that makes a wheezing and groaning noise.
The thing is that Doctor Who can tackle any and all genres within reasonable scientific fact. One book could be a Western, the next a 'ghost' story (but never turns out to be a real ghost)


message 3: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 64 comments The Reverse is true. you could take the core idea from a previous Doctor Who story and re-write with a different main character.

Also, I do think that an important aspect of Doctor Who story is something really unexpected.


CaptKirk42 Classic Whovian (klandersen) | 181 comments Ever read any of the "Decalog" series of Short Stories? The first 3 or 4 were Doctor Who Related, the last one didn't have The Doctor but followed a family through many generations and sort of felt like Doctor Who stories.

For me what makes a story a Doctor Story is one that should have the main character a time traveler, or at the very least a stranger to this particular area the story takes place in. There needs to be some sort of mystery to solve or odd happenings.


message 5: by Laurence (new)

Laurence Donaghy | 10 comments I think it's the unique character of the Doctor himself. He's been many things, been many people, but throughout every single incarnation he's had that same core of goodness and morality that tends to inspire those around him to be better, do better. A Doctor Who story isn't a Doctor Who story if the Doctor, in some small way, doesn't make things even a tiny bit better for someone, somewhere.

Of course, I'm generalising here. You could do a parody of a Doctor Who story where the Doctor stops off at a picturesque, Eden-like planet and takes a shiny pebble from a cairn of stones on a mountainside for a souvenir.

When the TARDIS leaves, the disturbance caused in the cairn of stones causes an avalanche that destablises a tectonic fault line, which causes an earthquake, which creates a supervolcano, which throws up enough ash into the atmosphere to cover the planet in a nuclear winter, killing the indigenous population.

Fastforward a few million years and the TARDIS returns to the planet and the Doctor steps out with his new companion, surveys the post-apocalypic wasteland and shakes his head sadly.

"Nuclear weapons. When will species learn?"

I daresay it could be quite funny. But would it seem like a "proper" Doctor Who story? I doubt it somehow ;)


message 6: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie (serenity77) Thats a cool story line Laurence. I think a Doctor Who story needs to be set on either a different world or have and alien race or person/people who want to destroy/take over the world?? And essentially it needs to have the Doctor...


message 7: by Travis (new)

Travis (travishiltz) | 1422 comments The beauty of Doctor Who is that almost any story can be a Doctor Who story.
Sci-fi, historical, thriller, comedy, mystery etc.

As long as you have the traveler with the blue box, you have a Doctor Who story.


message 8: by Leela4 (new)

Leela4 | 98 comments > The beauty of Doctor Who is that almost any story can be a Doctor Who story.

It needs more than that. If you put your favorite character into a context it's only a derivative work. What makes a story "Doctor Who" and not "The Time Tunnel" or "Star Trek" or "The X-Files" or Buffy?


message 9: by Travis (new)

Travis (travishiltz) | 1422 comments Well,the Romans could be a Time Tunnel story, Hungry Earth could be an X-files story, Ark in Space could be a Star Trek story and Blink could be a Buffy story, but Doctor Who is the only show that could do them all.


message 10: by ~Geektastic~ (last edited Apr 29, 2011 07:36PM) (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) Leela4 wrote: "What makes a Doctor Who story a Doctor Who story, anyway?

Say, for example, you have a small group of people trying to harness the power of a local godlike force. What makes the story Doctor Wh..."


I'm reading a book right now, The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who, which actually covers this question. There is a lot of discussion about canon and what makes a Doctor Who story unique from other mythological or sci-fi stories.

There are particular patterns and structures that underlie each adventure, and these patterns become more entrenched over time and they form a structure that determines the success of the story as a genuine Doctor Who adventure (this is my opinion and not from the book, so feel free to tear it apart, it might not even make sense). Doctor Who often has that same air of subtle but recognizable structure that is reminiscent of fairy tales or classic myths; the style is immediately recognizable, even if you can't quite put your finger on why. You know intrinsically that the Doctor's approach to any situation is fundamentally different than that of the other characters/universes mentioned (Mulder, Buffy, etc.),and these approaches have been established over time. While the specifics of any given situation may be unpredictable, the underlying structure must be predictable to maintain a continuous connectivity that establishes the Doctor Who universe.


message 11: by ~Geektastic~ (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) Mary JL wrote: "The Reverse is true. you could take the core idea from a previous Doctor Who story and re-write with a different main character.

Also, I do think that an important aspect of Doctor Who story i..."


And that has been done; Life, the Universe and Everything was originally written as a Doctor Who story (so the story goes), and was re-written for the Hitchhiker series. However, I don't think, had the Doctor been there, that it would have been the same. His character would have necessitated major changes or it would never have been accepted as a genuine Doctor Who story.


CaptKirk42 Classic Whovian (klandersen) | 181 comments Amber wrote: "Mary JL wrote: "The Reverse is true. you could take the core idea from a previous Doctor Who story and re-write with a different main character.

Also, I do think that an important aspect of Doct..."


Actually Adams did that with "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" and the unfinished un-aired Doctor Who episode "Shada". Elements from "Shada" ended up in the Dirk Gently book a couple of years before the VHS version of a pieced together Shada was released.


message 13: by ~Geektastic~ (last edited Apr 30, 2011 08:18PM) (new)

 ~Geektastic~ (atroskity) Kirk wrote: "Amber wrote: "Mary JL wrote: "The Reverse is true. you could take the core idea from a previous Doctor Who story and re-write with a different main character.

Also, I do think that an important ..."


I knew about Shada (since the eventual radio play/ video material was credited to Adams) and Dirk Gently, but apparently it's also rumored that Life, the Universe and Everything borrowed it's primary story line from some Who material as well; Slartibartfast took over where the Doctor would have been cast.

http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Douglas_...


message 14: by Leela4 (last edited May 02, 2011 08:21PM) (new)

Leela4 | 98 comments One thing that seems to be unique to original Doctor Who is in a lot of episodes the function of the Doctor and companion(s) is to show up and start asking the questions the local characters don't want to look at. I think it says a lot that the new series doesn't do that and neither does any other show.

In the scenario that started this thread, the Doctor and companion(s) would be finding out where those people go off to, what's the history of the place, what do other people think they're up to, what has historically happened when people do that, what do a couple of the people involved actually believe they're doing...


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Two simple words. No. FOUR simple words. Twisted plot and humors. :)


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