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Blog 3- Doctor Who

Doctor Who Subtext

                Doctor Who is a British television show whose main character, the Doctor, travels through time and space, usually with a companion, saving the world from threats, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial.  The show originally began in 1963 and ended in 1989, only to be revamped and aired again on BBC in 2005.

                There are many different subtexts throughout all the episodes of Doctor Who.  One of the most prominent messages in the series is the constant concept of equality.  The Doctor’s companions are usually women- even though he is the smartest of the two, the women are always there to save the day because the Doctor cannot do it alone.  In the new series, the Doctor’s companions are white or African-American, and he is constantly fighting for the equality of all alien races.  Other subtext includes the Doctor’s complete aversion to guns.  He refuses to kill anyone or to use a weapon that could do such damage, and always gives the villain in the episode a choice: to continue on its deadly path which will be stopped by the Doctor, or to redeem itself.  Lastly, Doctor Who does have negative subtexts surrounding Americans and government.  The Americans are always the ones who interfere with the Doctor and make his job more difficult by taking over situations that are not theirs to take over.  They usually end up getting killed.  Government is also depicted as evil, constantly hiding the existence of aliens and choosing to sacrifice some of their own race to keep their jobs.  They constantly look out for themselves, just as the government does today.

                Doctor Who has been featured in many different types of print media.  Books have been written detailing the Doctor’s various untold journeys, in addition to academic analyses of the entire show.  The books have mostly been written by previous writers on the show such as Steven Moffat and Russell T. Davies.  Numerous magazine articles and newspaper articles have been written about the science fiction phenomenon that has been playing for over thirty-one seasons.  It’s genre is purely science-fiction: when the show first began, it was a children’s scifi show, but upon the reairing of the series, it began to reach out to an older audience, while still appealing to younger viewers.  The point-of-view is constantly changing in the show- mostly the episodes revolve around the Doctor and his current companion, but sometimes there are “Doctor-light” episodes, in which a normal human is thrown into extraordinary circumstances and the Doctor helps them a little along the way.

                Doctor Who is a revolutionary show, one that uses a wide range of aspects to draw its viewers in, whether it be through the aliens, the futuristic technology, the tragic hero, the powerful and emotional writing, or the score by Ron Grainer.  It reaches all audiences and will be commended for its revolution in television.

  1. tessdoez
    January 20, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Good analysis of subtext here. I have a little difficulty seeing the “equality” subtext in Dr. Who’s intellectual superiority over his female assistants. They may save the day and be indispensable, but are they using different “more femenine” characteristics to help him? Is this equality or a reinforcement of traditional views of the value of men and women in society? Overall a good job, but watch your usage if it’s and its. It’s is the contraction of “it is” while its is the possessive of it.

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