Sunday, April 29, 2007


April is winding down, so I thought we should take one last look at this month's honoree for the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, the Doctor......

This season of 'Doctor Who', David Tennant's second as the Doctor, the Time Lord has only been to "present day" Earth once and that was in the season premiere ("Smith & Jones") to pick up a new companion. (Well, that and track down a Plasmavore.)

So we don't know yet what the current British government looks like in RTD's corner of the TV Universe. It looks as though this mysterious Mr. Saxon, who appears to be this season's keyword, could be in the running for the position of Prime Minister; but as to Harriet Jones still holding that office, it's up in the air for now.

That could probably all change by the next episode.

It would be nice to think that we were finally back to viewing the adventures of 'Doctor Who' which are set on Earth Prime-Time, the main Toobworld, so that we can bring the Doctor back into the fold.

Haven't you read my thoughts on that before? Since Russell T. Davies took over the franchise and reinvigorated it back in 2005, we've been watching the Doctor of an alternate TV dimension. Everything was going swimmingly until the episode "Aliens of London" when the Clan Slitheen killed off Tony Blair and destroyed Big Ben. Then Harriet Jones was installed as the PM, as seen in "The Christmas Invasion", and those first two years of the new 'Who' had to be shunted off to parts unknown.

(There was also mention of President Schwarzenegger, but that was a reference in the Future and that can always be eliminated by some tweaking of the Past. It doesn't even have to happen on 'Doctor Who'; I'm sure Hiro Nakamura can take care of that with some alteration of the timeline in 'Heroes'.)

It's a shame to lose those first two seasons of the new 'Doctor Who', really, because otherwise there was so much Doctory goodness to be savored - the encounters with Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria, and especially Madame de Pompadour; the Doctor's mano a um, "womano" with Margaret Blaine aka Blon Slitheen in "Boom Town"; and the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness.

That's not to say that for the most part these adventures weren't occurring in Earth Prime-Time. All of the TV dimensions are mirrors to that main Toobworld, with only slight variations to mark them as different. In this case, it was the introduction of Harriet Jones. But it's my belief that the same adventures were played out in Toobworld, but that Tony Blair remained Prime Minister throughout the crisis of "World War Three".

(Big Ben may have still been destroyed, but the government covered that up by declaring it a hoax and fixing it.)

The Sycorax still hovered over the main TV-London as was seen in "The Christmas Invasion", and so any future reference to that event (as seen in "School Reunion" and "The Shakespeare Code") would be acceptable. The original version of Sarah Jane Smith still encountered the Tenth Incarnation of The Doctor as seen in "School Reunion" - I wouldn't want it any other way.

Speaking of the lovely Sarah Jane - and we will do so quite a bit more in a few days! - her spin-off show on New Year's Day, 'The Sarah Jane Adventures', is considered to be part of Earth Prime-Time. There was nothing about it that would merit the show from being tossed into that alternate dimension.

Of course, once the series starts up later in the year, that may change. RTD does seem to lock off these shows in his own private sandbox as if they're his toys only. (Recreating the history of the Cybermen, trying to forge a new version of the Daleks to get around the Terry Nation estate, ridding the Universe of Gallifrey and other Time Lords, and basically throwing up a border between his dimension and all other TV dimensions.)

With the first season of 'Torchwood', I didn't detect anything that would indicate that Captain Jack and his team had to be shipped out of Toobworld to that alternate dimension. So for now the Torchwood Institute of Cardiff is safe.

Changing the perspective of the viewer from one dimension to another is nothing new for Toobworld studies. It usually happens within a series' episode, such as the mirror universe episodes of 'Star Trek', 'Deep Space Nine', 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and 'Hercules: The Legendary Journeys'. 'Sliders' was an entire series built on visiting variations of Toobworld. Sometimes a season of a show has to be shunted off to an alternate TV Earth, as was the case of 'Alias Smith And Jones' once Roger Davis began playing the role of Hannibal Heyes after the death of Pete Duel. (I used to hold up 'Amos Burke, Secret Agent' as an example of this, but Michael Dunn's guest-starring turn as Mr. Sin in one episode was too tempting to pass by as a candidate for a Dr. Loveless alias!)

So at some point after the 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor, and perhaps after the Time War, the focus of the series shifted to an alternate version of the Doctor. We first saw him newly regenerated into his Ninth incarnation in "Rose" and stuck with that dimension's Time Lord right through "The Runaway Bride". Whether we're still in that dimension will depend on what's to come this season.

And it stands to reason that there would be doppelgangers for the Doctor in other dimensions. We saw the counterparts for Pete and Jackie Tyler and Mickey/Rickey in the Cybermen two-parter last season; and we know the Tooniverse has its own version of the Doctor, thanks to 'The Simpsons' and 'The Infinite Quest'. So why not more than one live-action Doctor floating about in an infinite number of TARDISes? (TARDII?)

Here's more proof that the last two seasons of 'Doctor Who' were not about the same Doctor we knew from the old series: in "Army Of Ghosts", the Doctor watched a scene from the soap opera 'EastEnders'. Yet a majority of the Doctor's previous incarnations were caught up in an adventure that involved the inhabitants of the borough of Walford as seen in 'Dimensions In Time'.

So the first two seasons of RTD's update of 'Doctor Who' share the same dimension as alternate versions of 'Inspector Morse', 'Hot Metal', 'Gimme Gimme Gimme', and of course, 'Extras' with "Barry from EastEnders" as part of the cast of characters.

Not a bad lot to hang with.......

For now, we'll just have to take a wait-and-view approach.

Toby OB

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