Those of us who were Doctor Who fans back in the day—you know, before the reboot, the era now known as classic Doctor Who—suffered during the long hiatus when the program was not on the air. Spin-off books and comics were interesting but somehow, I don't know, derivative.Doctor Who fans had a long wait: the last classic episode aired in 1989 and the reboot aired in 2005, with only a single canonical Doctor Who text in the interim to sate us: 1996 saw the airing of the made-for-TV backdoor-pilot movie. There was joy—they did it and the Doctor rocked! There was despair—it was kinda bad and wasn't picked up as a TV show! The despair was further compounded by the lengthy rights-related delay between the movie's airing and the region 1 DVD release in 2011: 15 years.
What about the classic-era sensibilities die-hard fans like me loved? How to get that classic Doctor Who fix? Answer: Since 1999, Big Finish Doctor Who audio dramas. Once I gave them a listen, there was no going back. Here they were, blasts from my past, Doctors and companions, and not only were they good, they were in many ways even better than the original show, particularly in terms of character growth. One hundred fifty episodes have been released in the Doctor Who series, the tagline of which is, "Classic Doctors. Brand new adventures."
As I've mentioned before, I've been catching up on Doctor Who episodes from the reboot, and one of the things that I have really enjoyed is the theme music. It's distinctive, it has an eerie quality that matches the nature of the series itself, and the brief modulation to a major key (that happens in the version of the theme that runs during the end credits) is interesting and emotionally evocative.
Here's the version that I was first exposed to:
But then, at the beginning of the fourth series, the theme music changed a bit--it added more drums, piano, and bass, giving it more of a "rock music" feel. To be honest, I didn't like it as much. While some comments that I've read say that the fourth series theme matches well with the adventurous nature of the Doctor, I think the added instrumentation takes away from the distinctively eerie quality of the 2005 version of the theme.
All of this also made me wonder: what other changes has the Doctor Who theme music undergone since the show's beginning?
Eugie Foster is one of the best writers of speculative short fiction currently working. She has great facility for language and structure, an ability to see beauty and terror in equal measure, and consistently crafts stories that are both harrowing and satisfying. Her fiction lingers in the mind of the reader long after the story is finished.
Happy Friday! We hope you all had a great week, and that you had the chance to read, watch, or play some great science fiction or fantasy.
I'm currently reading Dante's Inferno for a class--not quite fantasy as we know it today, but certainly fantasy-adjacent. And I have plans to watch some Doctor Who this weekend. What about you? Let us know what you're reading, watching, or playing in the comments!