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Canon and 'The Reboot'

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Author Topic: Canon and 'The Reboot'  (Read 178 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: September 05, 2010, 12:48:07 am »

I will say now that I hate canon. I hate the thought that writers (and fans) hands are tied by the antecedents of a story written 20 years ago where a decision was made on budgetary or plot narrative convenience. I agree that there should be some order and back story - but for the first 6 years of the show the only real canon we had was that the Doctor was a traveller who couldn't control his ship, he was exiled from his own people and he regenerates when he falls over in the Arctic or his people get the hump with him.

As a show gets a 50 year history there is going to be baggage that becomes attached. The Doctor got two hearts, an allergy to asprin, a home planet and a limit on the number of times he can regenerate. However, the Star Trek franchise is a warning as to what can happen when too much canon gets in the way. Eventually the story telling becomes atrophied as a result of writers not wishing to stray outside the established universe and the franchise died on its feet (this wasn't the only reason but it was the reason why Star Trek lost a lot of good writers who got fed up of the hate mail every time they miscounted the co-ordinates of Wolf 359)!! Isn't it time that Doctor Who tried to avoid this mistake and do a re-boot. It was almost done in 2005 with RTD getting rid of Gallifrey but other things still remain. Specifically this 12 regenerations business which seems to have been reinforced by continuing references. They have had an ideal opportunity with a young actor coming in to rewind the Doctor's regens - and it could have been done easily;

"Ooops you've regenerated near a major temporal event and with the Tardis Engines running.. Don't you know how dangerous that is for time lords....What do you mean your time line has been thrown into reverse.... *Int TARDIS Console Room with DT laying on the floor. VT of previous Doctors playing backwards followed by a quick explanation to Amelia that his past life has been wiped* then continue on with ...Yoghurt just stuff with bits in".

Maybe I'm wrong and maybe canon is essential for a show like Doctor Who, but sometimes it just gets in the way and if in the Xmas special they want the Doctor to have an asprin as he's got a headache from Amy shouting at him then, chocks away old boy!
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 01:32:35 am »

Not keen on this idea. I like the feeling of it being a show with nearly 50 years of history behind it, and the sense of continuity that it gives. If that were ever to change it wouldn't be Doctor Who, the show that I've loved since I was little more than a toddler, any more. It'd just be some new show loosely based on it. For me at least, it'd spoil the whole thing.
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« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 09:23:34 am »

I totally accept that and having read my OP I think I got a bit convoluted. I think what it is I am advocating is a return to the simpler times of the show when all we knew about the Doctor was that he was a traveler who regenerated and he traveled in his TARDIS. Then, let good story telling give us entertaining stories. Although I loved season 5, if you hadn't watched eps 1, 4 & 5 (at the minimum) then you would have had great difficulty with the final episode. Compare that to The Seeds of Death or even Genesis of the Daleks. Great stories that you can access straight away. Of course in a way I'm mixing apples and oranges - and probably confusing canon with in-season story arcs but it would be nice to have a few stories that were stand alone and didn't feed in to a wider arc/canon based approach.
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« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 11:28:33 am »

I'm all for canon. Dont get me wrong, I dont mind it being changed, as long as it changes as part of a wider story so that it doesnt nulify what we have learned before. A lot of shows rewrite their history without so much as a mention and we are just supposed to accept that things are new. The regens for example, have been set at 12 ofr 30 odd years. I dont mind them changing that rule, as long as we are told that the rules are changing instead of them just bringing in the 14th Doctor as if it was always going to happen. Im just using regens as an example, but im sure you get what I mean.

As for series long, or multiple series arc, I can do without. I like the story by story format where every episode was an adventure. I loved series 5, but could have done without all the cracks and nonsense. RTD did series arcs to a degree, but stickign the words Bad Wolf or Torchwood around didnt take away from the rest of the episodes and what was going on. It was subtle but obvious.
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 01:14:52 pm »

I dont mind them changing that rule, as long as we are told that the rules are changing.

I am a newbie as you know, but I have respect for canon.  Having said that, I agree with the above: go ahead and change the rules so long as you tell us they are changing.  I would also like to know why they are changing, but I understand that they can't or won't always do that.

Also - as a result of the Big Bang 2, aren't we now at a place where the universe was re-booted?  Whose to say that when Big Bang 2 happened everything that happened with the first Big Bang happened again?  History could easily have been altered which means that the slate may have been wiped clean.  They now have the ability, if they want, to explain any changes as as due to Big Bang 2.  Only time will tell if they do it though!
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 01:17:31 pm »

Well Moffat has already said that now that BB" has happened, its a way for them to go and change what they like and can always just say 'Well it changed because of BB2', but I think that is lazy personally
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 01:25:28 pm »

Well Moffat has already said that now that BB" has happened, its a way for them to go and change what they like and can always just say 'Well it changed because of BB2', but I think that is lazy personally

Oh - I never said it wasn't lazy.  It's totally lazy! Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 03:57:01 pm »

I wonder if this Doctor, brought back by Amy, is technically in a 'first' body again? After all, he ceased to exist entirely for a while. Could be a stopgap for the limited regenerations rule.
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2010, 08:47:06 pm »

I wonder if this Doctor, brought back by Amy, is technically in a 'first' body again? After all, he ceased to exist entirely for a while. Could be a stopgap for the limited regenerations rule.

I know the regen limit is covered now, but if Amy's memory rebooted his regens I would have been really dissapointed.

I am all for canon. I love how the history has built up over the years. I hate though that it seems Moff will just do what he likes regardless of the history. I wouldnt mind so much but from his previous comments it seems he wants to change things for the sake of changing them and not because they need to be or would make the show better
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2010, 12:43:31 am »

I like having canon too, but it's always been a bit flexible.  The Doctor's age, for instance, has varied from 450 to 749 to 900 to "thousands of years" without much rhyme or reason.  The regens too have changed quite a bit.  Originally, it was something the Tardis did when the Doctor's body got worn out, but there was no suggestion it happened after a traumatic death - in The War Games, no-one seemed to expect the War Chief to regenerate after he was shot (not that he'd have stood much chance if he did).  I believe the maximum number of regens was first set at seven, then changed to thirteen in Mawdryn Undead.

I agree that there's no reason why we can't have a Fourteenth Doctor, but there needs to be a reason for it.  Perhaps the Time War has changed things.
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« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2010, 06:01:39 pm »

I would say after the non commital comment in SJA that it will be dealt with further nearer the time. I would guess that you are probably right and it has something to do with the Time War
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 02:56:14 pm »

I'm firmly in the 'for' camp for canon. I love the history of the show and I love when it is referenced in the new series. I'm not saying it should get in the way of a great story and I am not against making small tweaks to things, but huge rewrites are a bit much.
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TIA 10/10 | DOTM 10/10 | COTBS 8/10 | TDW 10/10 | TRF 9/10 | TAP 10/10 | AGMGTW 10/10 | LKH 8/10 | NT 4/10 | TGWW 10/10
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