Sunday, May 23, 2010

The curse of fatal immortality

Watching the latest Dr Who, as everyone else is focusing on the last-ever episodes of Lost and Ashes to Ashes, and all the loose ends that get tightened, as if scriptwriters were just literary boys scouts, and I wonder: can Dr Who ever really end? I know there’s the idea that Time Lords have a maximum of 12 regenerations, but if they can bring back Davros and the Daleks and the other Time Lords when the occasion demands it, why should that be insurmountable. Canonicity is as tedious as plausibility. Let’s say there’s a climax that leaves the Doctor and his incarnations and various other crypto-selves (including the Watcher and the Valeyard and the Dream Lord), plus the Tardis and all his companions and enemies past, present and future (including those from Torchwood, Sarah Jane, New Adventures and all) exterminated, cremated and broken down to their individual atoms, which are then fired into black holes in 17 different parallel universes where all the return flights have been grounded by volcanic dust. Steven Moffat could come up with 15 ways out of that one before breakfast.

No, it can never really be properly finished. A bit like a jar of Marmite.


Chris said...

I remain irked, after 16 years, about a remark in the margin of a school essay about 'Anthony & Cleopatra' next to a complaint about some aspect of the plot's implausibility: 'But it HAPPENED!'. From an English teacher, this seemed to miss the point by such a long way.

Re: 'Dr Who', if he is 900 years old as he keeps claiming, why have all his re-generations happened in the last 50?

Stuart Ian Burns said...

If like me, you believe that everything is canon, we've already seen the Doctor's remains in the novel Alien Bodies. At some point he will die and there'll be a gathering of aliens to bid for his body.

But it's careful not to say with regeneration it is. As for the twelve regenerations -- it's never been expressed in the new series I don't think and should it come up all he need say is that the timlords gifted him an extra cycle during the time war (cf, their offer to the Master in The Five Doctors).

Plus, he's "far more than a timelord" which offers a multitude of get out clauses too.

Malcolm Cinnamond said...

Hot water, put the lid back on, shake and drop into beef gravy. That's how you finish a jar of Marmite. Not sure if the same applies to long-running sci-fi series.

Malcolm Cinnamond said...

Remove the lid first, of course, and drop contents into beef gravy - I should have said.

Tim F said...

Shakespeare was quite happy to bugger around with history when it suited his dramatic purposes, Chris. So he shouldn't be let off the hook for aesthetic misdeeds simply on the basis that for once he was sticking to the facts. Good point about the 850 years of unrelieved Hartnellism.

Stuart: I've already decided that Captain Jack/Face of Boe is the Doctor's dad, so he should get a dose of immortality. (His mum's River Song, of course.)

That's a good point, Malc, and it's how my step-grandfather used to make his gravy. Which was horrid, incidentally. But it makes it impossible to use as Marmite per se, ie spread on hot buttered toast.