Since its inception in November 1963, the British science fiction television series Doctor Who has exerted an enormous impact on the world of science fiction (over 1,500 books have been written about the show). The series follows the adventures of a mysterious “Time Lord” from the distant planet Gallifrey who travels through time and space to fight evil and injustice. Along the way, he has visited Rome under the rule of Nero, played backgammon with Kublai Khan, and participated in the mythic gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Predating the Star Trek phenomenon by three years, Doctor Who seriously dealt with continuing characters, adult genre principles and futuristic philosophies. Critical and historical examinations of the ideas, philosophies, conceits and morals put forth in the Doctor Who series, which ran for 26 seasons and 159 episodes, are provided here. Also analyzed are thematic concepts, genre antecedents, the overall cinematography and the special effects of the long-running cult favorite. The various incarnations of Doctor Who, including television, stage, film, radio, and spin-offs are discussed. In addition, the book provides an extensive listing of print, Internet, and fan club resources for Doctor Who.
Blake’s 7, Terry Nation’s science fiction tale of cosmic freedom fighters, became a hit series in Great Britain when it premiered in 1978. Eight years later, the show quickly became a cult program in America. A dramatization of futuristic outlaw heroes who defend the innocent from both alien and human conquering forces, the series might better be said to be equal parts Robin Hood and The Magnificent Seven. The series defied traditional genre elements of science fiction television, and developed the concept of the continual “story arc” years before such shows as Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine. This book provides a critical history and episode guide for Blake’s 7, including commentaries for all 52 episodes. Also included are analytical essays on the show, dealing with such topics as themes, imagery and story arc; a consideration of the series as a futuristic Robin Hood myth; cinematography and visual effects; and an overview of Blake’s 7 in books, comics and videos. A detailed appendix lists the genre conventions found in the series. The author also includes information about Blake’s 7 fan clubs and Internet sites.
A Critical Study in Science Fiction and Philosophy
Author: David Layton
Category: Performing Arts
From 1963 to 1989, the BBC television program Doctor Who followed a time-traveling human-like alien called “The Doctor” as he sought to help people, save civilizations and right wrongs. Since its 2005 revival, Doctor Who has become a pop culture phenomenon surpassing its “classic” period popularity and reaching a larger, more diverse audience. Though created as a family program, the series has dramatized serious themes in philosophy, science, religion, and politics. Doctor Who’s thoughtful presentation of a secular humanist view of the universe stands in stark contrast to the flashy special effects central to most science fiction on television. This examination of Doctor Who from the perspective of philosophical humanism assesses the show’s careful exploration of such topics as justice, ethics, good and evil, mythology and knowledge.
Not only is Doctor Who the longest-running science fiction TV show in history, but it has also been translated into numerous languages, broadcast around the world, and referred to as the “way of the future” by some British politicians. The Classic Doctor Who series built up a loyal American cult following, with regular conventions and other activities. The new series, relaunched in 2005, has emerged from culthood into mass awareness, with a steadily growing viewership and major sales of DVDs. The current series, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith, is breaking all earlier records, in both the UK and the US. Doctor Who is a continuing story about the adventures of a mysterious alien known as “the Doctor,” a traveller of both time and space whose spacecraft is the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space), which from the outside looks like a British police telephone box of the 1950s. The TARDIS is “bigger on the inside than on the outside”—actually the interior is immense. The Doctor looks human, but has two hearts, and a knowledge of all languages in the universe. Periodically, when the show changes the leading actor, the Doctor “regenerates.”
Doctor Who has always contained a rich current of religious themes and ideas. In its very first episode it asked how humans rationalize the seemingly supernatural, as two snooping schoolteachers refused to accept that the TARDIS was real. More recently it has toyed with the mystery of Doctor's real name, perhaps an echo of ancient religions and rituals in which knowledge of the secret name of a god, angel or demon was thought to grant a mortal power over the entity. But why does Doctor Who intersect with religion so often, and what do such instances tell us about the society that produces the show and the viewers who engage with it? The writers of Religion and Doctor Who: Time and Relative Dimensions in Faith attempt to answer these questions through an in-depth analysis of the various treatments of religion throughout every era of the show's history. While the majority of chapters focus on the television show Doctor Who, the authors also look at audios, novels, and the response of fandom. Their analyses--all written in an accessible but academically thorough style--reveal that examining religion in a long-running series such as Doctor Who can contribute to a number of key debates within faith communities and religious history. Most importantly, it provides another way of looking at why Doctor Who continues to inspire, to engage, and to excite generations of passionate fans, whatever their position on faith. The contributors are drawn from the UK, the USA, and Australia, and their approaches are similarly diverse. Chapters have been written by film scholars and sociologists; theologians and historians; rhetoricians, philosophers and anthropologists. Some write from the perspective of a particular faith or belief; others write from the perspective of no religious belief. All, however, demonstrate a solid knowledge of and affection for the brilliance of Doctor Who.
Are you a big fan of Doctor Who? Have you watched all of the series from years gone by through to the present day? Can you name the various actors who have played the Doctor from William Hartnell to Matt Smith? If you can tell a Hath from the Heavenly Host and a Sontaran from a Slitheen, you are certain to enjoy this fun new quiz book? What was the title of episode one of the first Doctor story, The Daleks? Who played The Siren in the eleventh Doctor story, The Curse of the Black Spot? What companion has appeared in the most episodes of Doctor Who since its return in 2005? The answers to these brain-teasers and more can all be found inside The Doctor Who Quiz Book. As the iconic series celebrates 50 years of production, have a go at the 500 questions in this book to find out how much you really know about the Doctor. This is a must-have tribute for Doctor Who fans of all ages.