Watching Doctor Who as the Objective Universe

You might remember last December when I proposed a different order in which to watch Doctor Who - the "TARDIS way" - but that (and chronologically) is by no means the only Siskoid-approved methods. Certainly, they may be easiest, but...

But as someone who played Batman once said, you want to get nuts? Let's get nuts.

Watching Doctor Who as the OBJECTIVE UNIVERSE may require a viable timeline of the Doctor Who universe from Big Bang to the universe's eventual heat death, such as can be found in Lance Parkin's AHistory, or at a pinch, some internet source like The Doctor Who Chronology or TARDIS Data Core (and different sources will give you different orders).

You might have guessed how this works already. You are basically the universe, and you start noticing this blue box popping up quite early (Edge of Destruction has it racing at the Big Bang) and from then on, you keep tabs on it. It would initially look like:

The Edge of Destruction (Event Zero)
The Runaway Bride, formation of the Earth (4 600 000 000 BC)
Time-Flight (140,000,000 BC)
An Unearthly Child parts 2-4 (100,000 BC)
Genesis of the Daleks (4000 BC)
The Daleks' Master Plan parts 9-10 (2650 BC)
The Time Monster (1500 BC)...

If you know your Doctor Who, you've probably already seen the problem. The Time Monster does spend a good chunk of time in ancient Atlantis, but is really a UNIT story (so some time in the 1970s AD) for the rest of it. Do you... watch it then, or here, in the Antiquity portion of your journey? That's a choice each viewer must make based on their own level of insanity. The sensible way to do it is to put each story in ONE particular period and treat the past and future material as flashbacks and flashforwards. This is how I drafted the above, though you'll note I treated "medleys" a bit differently, according to episodes rather than story.

The crazier way to do it is to cue up bits and pieces from different episodes into a truly linear Frankenstein's Monster. Let's try that list again with those rules in place:

The Edge of Destruction (Event Zero)
Hide, the Doctor takes photographs of Caliburn Ghost (4,600,000,000 BC)
City of Death, birth of life on Earth (400,000,000 BC)
The Hand of Fear, Eldrad's execution (150,000,000 BC)
Time-Flight (140,000,000 BC)
Earthshock, Adric's death (65,000,000 BC)
An Unearthly Child parts 2-4 (100,000 BC)
Genesis of the Daleks (4000 BC)
City of Death, Scaroth speaks to his splintered self (2700 BC)
The Daleks' Master Plan parts 9-10 (2650 BC)
The Time Monster, Atlantis bits (1500 BC)...

And so on, and so forth.

Other decisions you'd have to make include just WHEN in time "present-day" Gallifrey exists, and exactly when the UNIT era occurs. And because there's so much Doctor Whom you might decide to carry one a smaller-scale experiment, bending your eyes to a single historical era, like the Renaissance (The Aztecs to The Smugglers) or the 22nd Century through the 40th (Paradise Towers to The Monster of Peladon).

So what is this experience like? It's less about following the Doctor's adventures than experiencing the universe's (mostly human) history. The TARDIS pops in and out, and you're seeing how its crew affects history (or not, not one line!) and pushes it forward. Let me know if you ever try it!

2 comments:

Radagast said...

Reminds me of fans of other filmed universes who put together 'sequential edits' - re-editing every scene to fit a linear chronology.

One of the biggest jobs: the Marvel Cinematic Universe - not just the movies, the TV shows as well.

Dylan Carroll said...

I LOVE this kind of thing!

For curiosity's sake/to contribute to the weeks old discussion, here's a few videos I found that edit together a timeline that someone might want to use as a guide (I just love seeing it laid out visually like this):

'Doctor Who' In Historical Chronological Order:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4duF723RvU
(Only the new series up to Series Nine)

A Complete Timeline of Doctor Who:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oqcod7GpbjU
(Both Classic and New series up to Last Christmas)

A Chronological Timeline of Doctor Who:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=357KLuD5Wy0 (Part 1: Pre-universe to BC)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSOKE6URgQw (Part 2: 1st Century to 19th Century)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gtZyByNY7w (Part 3: 20th Century)
(Attempts to include what seems like all audios, books and comics as well as spin-offs. I'd assume part 4 is currently being worked on.)

Oh, and not a video, but here's a nice spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/176xNRn142wda7rUwcQ2U_tILZLmLVm0jwAQbfVcHxQk/edit#gid=1520382156
(Includes Spin-offs and goes up to the Eleventh Doctor.)

There doesn't seem to be any completely up to date, but I'd imagine someone into Who enough to try this would be able to patch in what's missing.

 

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