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Canon

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The Doc
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« on: October 10, 2010, 06:01:02 pm »

Ive just had a really interesting conversation with BlueRose and a few other people about Moffat's view on canon in Doctor Who (there isnt one) and so I was wondering what everybody's thoughts were on the matter. What constitutes canon within the confines of the show and its spinoffs, and which things would you be ok with glossing over, and what should always remain unchanged?

There is a healthy debate going on at the moment surrounding the change to the regen limit. While some fans think it should be left at 12, others dont mind a change to this story because an extension would mean that we get more DW in the long run. Other rules that are being rewritten get less positive feedback, such as the differences, as BlueRose pointed out, between Fathers Day and The Big Bang.

So what are your thoughts on Canon?
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2010, 06:08:16 pm »

I with the Moff. Why do we want writers to be constrained by what's gone on in the past? They're not ignoring past statements, but I am fine with (and even a supporter of) dismissing them in dialogue if necessary. And everyone makes way too big a thing about the regen limit. The Time Lords are dead, so their regeneration limit no longer applies. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't even need addressing, RTD sorted it in 2005. And addressing it in SJA just proves that the team aren't ignoring canon, they're just not being governed by it. And good on them. And in case you hadn't noticed, by doing that the show has  gota distinct feeling of returning to a more "classic-Who" style.
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 08:40:08 pm »

I am a bit liberal when it comes to this. On one hand, I like the history and mythology that has been built up over the last 50 years. Having stories that are fixed, and rules that can't be changed strengthens the Doctors character and history, and solidifies the show somewhat.

On the flipside though. If Moffat, or whoever, wrote an amazing story that blew my socks off, yet happened to rewrite something I considered 'canon', I think I would be willing to sacrifice my thoughts on it somewhat, because at the end of the day I will have just watched a cracking story.

I know its me being a bit on the fence, but these are just my own personal views.

On the other hand, if they change stuff just for the sake of changing things without a good story or a good reason to back it up, then I wouldnt be happy.
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 10:38:58 pm »

Hmm....this could be a right **** debate you've started, Doc.
Once Blue & the others get here it may get interesting  Wink

My thoughts on all this are conflicted.

The regen limit issue is a funny one - sure, the Timelords are (as far as we know) all dead, so the limit should be out the window really, but then again, they've made a big deal previously in classic Who about how The Master had used up all his regenerations.
In fact, wasn't it a big plot device for them getting him to play ball in The Five Doctors?
(even if he went as "a world without the Doctor...barely worth thinking about" or words to that effect)

If Moffat really did come out & basically say to hell with canon, then I'm with the others, it sounds like he's redoing Nu-Who into his own personal fanwank, and I'm really not ok with that.
Series 5 was already mediocre at best (for me at least) and I really hope the show improves quick smart.

RTD wasn't exactly perfect by any means, some of his stuff is amongst the shoddiest eps of Who ever - even the Colin Baker era - but he gets a pass for the most part because at the end of the day, he brought the show back.

I'm feeling more & more let down by Moffat as time goes on.
I've loved a lot of his previous work - Coupling (apart from the last series!), Jekyll, Sherlock - but he just keeps coming across more & more as being a bit of a tosser sadly.

Maybe it's because we all put him on too high a pedestal after TDD, TGITF & Blink (The library eps weren't his best). Put your idols too high & the only thing they can do is fall.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling a bit, so I'll shut up for now  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2010, 10:51:46 pm »

You know what Fifth Doctor, I agree with nearly everything you have said. Moffat seems to believing his own hype and judging by the way the people on the show talk, he seems to have surrounded himself with 'yes men'.

Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed series 5, and I think when Moff is at his best, he is superb, but I also believe he has become somewhat complacent of late. His episodes (pre showrunner) were widely popular, and he knew it. But it feels a bit like he assumes he can just put anything out and we will all lap it up, which really isnt the way to go.

This thread is about canon though and not dogging Moff, so I will round off to my point. Moff publicly saying that canon is what fans dream up, and not something thats relevent to the show, seems to me like a big F.U to both its history and the fans who hold it so dearly. As I said above, I am fickle enough to accept some changes providing I like the story they are in, but he has come off as though he wants to change things just for the sake of it, should he so choose. I just hope he was merely pointing out that he can, and not that he will.

In his defence though, Moff isnt the only one to say things along the same lines. Chibnall has also said that there is no such thing as canon in Doctor Who. Also, because I want to stay as neutral as possible, I should point out that JNT stuck to canon like it was written law, and got so wrapped up in the history and canon of DW that it alienated many casual fans, and it reflected in the ratings. A happy medium is definately needed
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2010, 06:51:36 pm »

You know what, I love the history of the show. But Moff or anyone else making changes wont change how great the stories were in the past, and how great they are now when we rewatch them. Pandering to canon though, might impact on how great stories of the future are
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 07:48:02 am »

You know what, I love the history of the show. But Moff or anyone else making changes wont change how great the stories were in the past, and how great they are now when we rewatch them. Pandering to canon though, might impact on how great stories of the future are

Fair points there, young Roranicus, well said!!
As you say, Moffat isn't George Lucas here, he can't go back & start dicking with the classics (phew!) and while I think it's important not to throw canon out the window, I also agree that you can't be overly bound by it to the point it restricts the story.
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 03:19:50 pm »

I am all about canon. I love having references and a 'guide' as it were. I'm not saying stories should be stopped dead in their tracks if they need to change something small from the past in order to tell a good tale, but I'd much rather the writers adhere to whats been instead of just steamrolling through it.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 06:48:15 pm »

I am all about canon. I love having references and a 'guide' as it were. I'm not saying stories should be stopped dead in their tracks if they need to change something small from the past in order to tell a good tale, but I'd much rather the writers adhere to whats been instead of just steamrolling through it.

I'd agree up to a point, but quite often there's the problem of which canon to follow.  Take the origin of the Daleks - there are quite distinct differences between the story as told in The Daleks and Genesis.  Come to that, Terry Nation started mucking around with Dalek canon from The Dalek Invasion of Earth.  A lot of other things are the same.  So while I do like it when stories are tied back into something from the classic series, trying to treat canon as absolute would just get your head spinning round and exploding.
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2013, 11:41:34 am »

I think there is canon in terms of the history of the universe and canon in terms of the rules the Doctor himself is bound by. I don't think we should be bound too much to the former, and I don't actually think we ever were -- just think of how many completely different and mutually incompatible accounts we have had of the eventual future of mankind, even within Classic Who (The Ark), within NuWho (The Beast Below and Utopia), and of course across both versions. The Doctor changes 'history', after all. I would be more wary about changing the rules the Doctor is bound by, however. Although I don't mind too much the Doctor crossing his own timeline and picking up messages to himself that he hasn't actually written yet, I would not want this to go too far, and changing the regen limit without any explanation would be too far. But they could probably come up with some kind of explanation -- maybe when the Doctor reset the Universe in The Big Bang he started a completely new cycle of regenerations or something. But ultimately I don't think I want that because I want the twelfth Doctor to regenerate into the first. I think that would be the perfect way to end.
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