Doctor Who (1963 franchise)

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Still from Doctor Who, depicting a monstrous Krynoid attacking a large house....

A franchise consisting of a television series in serial format running from 1963 until the late 1980s, a TV movie, and a relaunch in a more traditional television series running from 2005-present. There were also at least two films based on earlier episodes (Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965 film) and Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966 film)), at least four spinoff series (P.R.O.B.E. (1994 series), Torchwood (2006 series), Sarah Jane Adventures (2007 series), K-9 (2009 series, plus a pilot for K-9 and Company (1981 series)), plus numerous appearances in radio, web series, book series, comics, animated series, charity and fund-raising episodes and shorts, stage plays, audio plays on CD and tape, video games, licensed direct-to-video episodes, cross-overs with other series, unlicensed content (professional and semi-professional fan work, spoofs and parodies, homages and imitations), and more....

Summary

Loosely (and unofficially) inspired by Nigel Kneale's Quatermass (1953 franchise), Doctor Who follows the (generally kid-friendly) adventures of a rogue time-and-space-traveling alien and his (typically) human companions as they investigate and try to stop various alien invasions and other plots.

Details

  • Release Date: 1963-present
  • Country/Language: UK, English
  • Genres/Technical: Fantasy, Science Fiction, often Horror and sometimes Comedy
  • Starring: (various)
  • Director: (various)
  • Writer: (various)
  • Producer/Production Co: BBC
  • Film Website: (link)


Ratings

MPAA Ratings

  • Rated: (none) (generally equivalent to "G" or "PG", depending on era)

The series has evolved over time in various ways, from a generally kid-friendly (or at least family-friendly) and arguably educational original series (especially in its earlier years), to darker and more mature and violent stories (with the spin-off Torchwood in particular being aimed at a more mature audience, often touching on fairly adult content).

Tentacle Ratings

A rough measure of how "Lovecraftian" the work is:

  • S____ (One Tentacle: Debateably Lovecraftian; rarely has any direct connection to Lovecraft's work)

The franchise itself is not particularly "Lovecraftian", being far more optimistic than Lovecraft's fiction or even than the Quatermass franchise. Still, some of the Doctor Who fiction does explicitly cross over with Lovecraft's creations, and, given a bleaker spin, some of the monsters, plots, and other elements could prove useful in more Lovecraftian fiction. At its most "Lovecraftian", the series veers away from traditional black-and-white, good-vs-evil conflicts, and explores conflicts with very powerful and mysterious aliens with very complicated motives for their actions, often with technology that is virtually indistinguishable from black magic.

Note: This rating is not intended as a measure of quality, merely of how closely related to Lovecraftian "Weird" fiction the work is.

Reviews

Review Links:

  • (needs review!)


Synopsis

Loosely inspired by Nigel Kneale's Quatermass (1953 franchise), Doctor Who follows the (generally kid-friendly) adventures of a rogue time-and-space-traveling alien and his (typically) human companions as they investigate and try to stop various alien invasions and other plots. At its most "Lovecraftian", the series veers away from traditional black-and-white, good-vs-evil conflicts, and explores conflicts with very powerful and mysterious aliens with very complicated motives for their actions, often with technology that is virtually indistinguishable from black magic.

Suggested Episodes

Original Series

  • serial: "Edge of Destruction" (in a paranoid story involving what seems to be an unseen, reality-shaping enemy, the TARDIS time/space craft is revealed to be alive with free will and intelligence)
  • serial: "The Ark" (in the final days of Earth, humans are escaping on a "space ark", but have evolved to the point where they are vulnerable to a most dangerous plague: the common cold)
  • serial: "The Abominable Snowmen" (set in 1930s Tibet, where a monk has become possessed by "The Great Intelligence", and, armed with enhanced technological knowledge, begins building a race of hostile Yetis...)
  • serial: "Web of Fear" (the TARDIS is caught in a strange web in space, and forced to materialize in the London Underground, where the Great Intelligence has unleashed the Yetis in England)
  • serial: "The Ice Warriors" (thousands of years in the future, Earth is battling a new Ice Age; workers trying to melt glaciers uncover the frozen body of a Martian Ice Warrior)
  • serial: "The Daemons" (an alien cult-leader posing as a rural vicar summons a cloven-hoofed demon in the church crypt, in a story involving witchcraft and the wicked rites of a secret alien science)
  • serial: "The Seeds of Doom" (polar scientists discover alien seeds frozen in the ice; these grow into "Krynoids", alien space-borne weeds that grow in and on living creatures, taking over their minds and bodies before they reproduce, spread, and threaten entire worlds; the story is very similar to The Thing (1982)
  • serial: "The Masque of Mandragora" (the TARDIS encounters a psychic Mandagora energy matrix, and is forced to land in 15th Century Italy, where the Doctor and friends encouter a strange cult who welcome the night when the Mandragora swallows the Moon....)
  • serial: "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" (a fiendish plot in Victorian England involving Chinese Tongs, disappearing women, an Oriental stage magician with uncanny powers, a murderous ventriloquist's dummy, and giant rats in the sewers)
  • serial: "Horror of Fang Rock" (lighthouse keepers on the cursed island of Fang Rock near England face death from formless, shape-shifting, glowing sea monsters)
  • serial: "Image of the Fendahl" (a professor prepares to experiment on a fossilized skull marked with a pentagram which science says should not exist, and is actually an artefact of the Fendahl, a god-like being who feeds on the life force of others and which has begun to awaken and kill; worse yet, others seek to exploit the Fendahl's dreadful power)
  • serial: "The Stones of Blood" (a search for the Key of Time brings the Doctor and friends to then-present-day Earth to face walking Monoliths, Druidic rituals, and a sinister alien criminal imersonating a pagan goddess)
  • serial: "The Power of Kroll" (a conflict with the crew of a marsh moon's methane extraction plant prompts the native swamp-dwellers to awaken their giant, tentacled god, Kroll, which slumbers beneath the swamps)
  • serial: "State of Decay" (trapped in the dimension of "E-Space", the TARDIS materializes on a medieval planet where townsfolk live in fear of a ruling family of vampires dwelling in an ancient gothic-looking space-ship)

New Series

  • serial: "The Unquiet Dead" (the dead are roaming the streets of Cardiff in 1869; Charles Dickens helps the Doctor investigate the involvement of the Gelth in re-animating corpses)
  • serial: "The Empty Child" (a malfunctioning alien ambulance which lands in 1941 London attempts to heal a child victim of the Blitz using a poor understanding of human anatomy and physiology, with nightmarish results)
  • serial: "Tooth and Claw" (in Victorian Scotland, a cult that worships an alien werewolf plots to begin "the Empire of the Wolf" by biting Queen Victoria)
  • serial: "The Idiot's Lantern" (in 1953 Britain during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, an alien influence uses television to erase the faces of viewers)
  • serial: "The Impossible Planet" (on a space base positioned on a planet in the orbit of a black hole, an entity who identifies as Satan himself is awakening and beginning to cause chaos amongst the base's crew)
  • serial: "Fear Her" (a member of a space-borne species of intelligent, psychic plants, stranded on Earth, where it begins altering reality in response to the imagination of a disturbed child)
  • serial: "Blink" (the episode that introduced the infamous Weeping Angels)
  • serial: "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead" (the Doctor and friends visit a planet-sized library in the 51st century, empty of human life, with indications of countless unseen living beings and a warning from an information kiosk to "count the shadows" and the cryptic last message from the library, "4022 saved, no survivors")
  • serial: "Midnight" (when the Doctor takes a vacation on a leisure planet, the tourbus is menaced and then invaded by an unseen being, the "Midnight Entity")
  • serial: "The Power of Three" (when countless mysterious black cubes appear on Earth overnight, the Doctor begins to suspect that a mythical "pest control of the universe" might be involved...)
  • serial: "Hide" (the Doctor helps investigate a haunting which involves the disappearance of a time traveler)
  • serial: "Flatline" (terrifying creatures from two-dimensional space attempt to invade Earth)
  • serial: "Under the Lake" and "Before the Flood" (the Doctor and friends arrive on an underwater base containing an alien spacecraft and haunted by ghosts, and the Doctor must tamper with time to stop them)

Torchwood Epsidoes

  • "Dead Man Walking" (the use of an alien "resurrection gauntlet" explores the dark side of the afterlife)
  • "Adrift" (the dark side of Torchwood is revealed when an investigation into disappearances leads to a secret hospital for victims of contact with alien horrors)
  • "Children of Earth" (a mysterious alien race that was allowed years ago to kidnap a handful of orphaned children in exchange for leaving Earth in peace returns with further demands)
  • "Small Worlds" (fairies torment the family of a little girl and draw her closer to their world)


Notes

Comments, Trivia, Dedication

Mythos-Friendly Elements

  • race: "Great Old Ones", who are similar to the Call of Cthulhu RPG's Great Old Ones as the equivalent of Doctor Who's Time Lords who had mastered a universe that existed before the one we know
  • race: "Eternals", immortal, transcendental, elemental beings of terrible power, amorality, and limited creativity who pretend to be cosmic gods
  • race: "Chronovores", denizens of a black void outside of space, who feed on stars and time
  • race: the "Ice Warriors", ancient, reptilian, Martian warrior-conquerors found frozen in glaciers on Earth and Mars
  • race: Yetis, robotic servitors of the Great Intelligence ("Yog-Sothoth")
  • race: Silurians, roughly equivalent to Serpent People
  • race: Sea Devils, roughly equivalent to Deep Ones
  • race: The Wirrn, long-lived, parasitic, space-borne insects, loosely comparable to Mi-Go
  • race: Krynoids, space-borne weeds
  • race: The Rutan Host, immaterial, glowing, jellyfish-like alien warriors
  • race: The Fendahl, a psychic, vampiric, gestalt being consisting of thirteen organisms - a skull possessed by an astral spirit, and twelve worm-like creatures
  • race: Great Vampires and Lesser Vampires, collosal parasitic humanoids from the Dark Times who could drain an entire world of lifeforce; in the Dark Times, the Time Lords fought the Great Vampires using "bow ships" which could fire vast iron bolts into the Vampires' hearts
  • race: Gelth, gaseous, ghostly creatures from another dimension who can re-animate and inhabit corpses
  • race: Carrionite, alien witches in the form of humanoid ravens
  • race: Weeping Angels, "quantum-locked humanoids" from outside normal time and space which are "frozen" when seen, and move when unobserved, until they spring upon their victims and cause them to vanish into the past
  • race: The Silents, a rogue faction of alien, time-meddling heretic priests genetically engineered to be forgotten moments after being seen
  • race: Shakri, they semi-mythical "pest control of the universe", who arrive in the form of small black indestructible cubes, which seem to do nothing until their victims get used to them, at which time they active, gather information for a few minutes, then begin counting down to the extermination of their targets...
  • race: "The 456", a mysterious alien race that negotiated secretly with the British government in 1965 and 2009 through radio wavelength 456 regarding the abduction of Earth's children
  • race: The Bane, a race of tentacled cannibal invaders
  • race: The Bodach, a race of incorporeal dream-eaters associated with Celtic obelisks and regarded as evil spirits
  • race: Time Lords, immortal, reincarnating, humanoid aliens who can perceive and manipulate time and relative dimensions in space
  • race: Fairies, loosely comparable to Mythos Faeries
  • character: "The Great Intelligence", claimed in some Doctor Who media to be another name for Yog-Sothoth
  • character: "The Nestene Consciousness", a disembodied collective hive-mind intelligence capable of controling or animating "plastic" (sent to Earth in the form of meteors) and of manifesting in multiple places and times simultaneously; claimed in some Doctor Who media to be a child of Shub-Niggurath
  • character: Azal, a Satyr/Demon-like alien who crash-landed on Earth in the distant past, and survived in suspended animation until freed by cultists
  • characters: Weng-Chiang, Li H'sen Chang, Magnus Greel, Mr. Sin (a supposed evil Chinese god of abundance and criminals, a Chinese sorcerer/cultist, an time-traveling war criminal, and a cyborg "houmculus", all involved in a cult organization known as The Tong of the Black Scorpion)
  • character: Fenric, claimed in some Doctor Who material to be Hastur.
  • character: Nyarlathotep, claimed to be identical with Nyarlathotep
  • character: Lady Cassandra, the "Last Pure Human" from billions of years in the future; in fact, "she" has had hundreds of plastic and genetic surgeries performed, and resembles a sheet of skin stretched over a frame attached to a brain in a jar
  • characters: The Beast, Pwccm, Abaddon, The Light and The Dark, "Halogen" entities resembling devils and angels
  • location: "E-Space" (or "Exo-Space"), a darker extension of the "normal" universe that exists in negative coordinates
    • location: "The Hydrax", an aesthetically gothic space ship launched from normal space and lost in E-Space, where it was commandeered by alien vampires, and left on their planet for aeons until partially buried under a stony hill
    • location: "The Gateway", a pan-dimensional gothic structure located at the mathematical boundary between E-Space and normal space; the castle-like building contains mirrors used to travel across the universe
  • location: planet Mondas, a "twin" of Earth that sometimes re-appears and vanishes again due to weird science
  • location: Devil's End, an eldritch, witch-haunted village of rural England
  • location: The Dark Times, a time of chaos between the end of the previous universe and the formal beginning of this one
  • location: The Cardiff Space-Time Rift, a (perhaps sentient) hole in time and space through with the alien debris of "time storms" could occasionally drift, casting strange alien technology and monsters upon the "shores" of Earth
  • location: Flat Holm, an island facility where victims of exposure to alien abomination are cared for in secrecy
  • organization: Torchwood Institute - a "Gaslight" era organization established by Queen Victoria for investigating alien artifacts and other evidence of alien incursions on Earth; persists into the modern era
  • organization: LONGBOW - a "Classic" era organization established under the League of Nations for investigating evidence of alien activity on Earth; disbanded after the League of Nations failed to prevent WWII
  • organization: ICMG - operated during the 1960s before being reformed into UNIT
  • organization: UNIT - a Cold War era organization established under the United Nations for investigating evidence of alien activity on Earth; persists into the modern era

Keeper Notes

  • Doctor Who stories tend to look a lot more like Call of Cthulhu scenarios without the intervention of the Doctor.


External links, See Also