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Here’s some reference material in case this comic is causing you to have a confusion stroke. If it isn’t then we can probably be best friends.

As I delve deeper into the world of the Doctor (currently all caught up on 11, about half of 10 and just started on 9), I see more and more parallels from the rest of science fiction as a whole. It really is a sort of “everything to everyone” sci-fi series that borrows as much from Star Trek as it does from Ray Bradbury. That isn’t to say Doctor Who isn’t original. Far from it. It’s just that with a premise that has literally NO boundaries as far as what kind of stories it can tell and in what setting or with what characters, it is helpful that it tends to stay grounded in familiar sci-fi tropes. I think that helps you not to feel lost despite the fact that each episode introduces you to a new setting and a wholly unknown set of circumstances. If Doctor Who were Star Trek, Science Fiction as a whole would be the Enterprise. The genre is the comfortable surrounding that creates the “walls” of the show.

Thanks to my buddy Wil for helping me flesh out the idea for this comic. I actually came up with it while talking to him about Doctor Who a few weeks back [that sentence was nearly too geeky to type]. You should totally check out his recent appearance on The Nerdist Podcast. He is just a genuinely great guy and the more I learn about him, the more I respect him.

Regarding the Daleks: When I’m designing evil major appliances with the intent of taking over the universe, I might want to pull out the old space tape measure and jot down the dimensions of a few average sized doorways. Seems like a narrow foyer is enough to stop these demented dish washers in their tracks.

Regarding Captain Pike: Look, I know it was the 60’s, but if you can imagine interstellar travel and super computers, why can’t you imagine a world where a paraplegic can do a little more than go forward, back up, and answer “yes” or “no” questions? This “future-tech” doesn’t work as well as taping a laser pointer to his head and pointing him at a Ouija board. I rewatched “The Menagerie” in preparation for this comic. I was surprised how good the story actually was. The 60’s camp and occasional extreme over acting was still there, but at it’s root there is a very cool sci-fi idea. I do, however, think it would have been a better idea if captain Pike was told to beep once for “truth” and twice for “dare.” Also, does anyone else get the impression that if you open the hood on pike’s chair it’s basically just a Port-O-John inside? I bet they just park him over a drain and turn on the hose.

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56 Comments

  1. Yay! First comment. You do realise that Doctor Who predates Star Trek, right? It's one of the longest running sci fi shows in existence. As such, if you think about it, there have been so many episodes that other sci-fi shows can't really avoid borrowing from it.

  2. It used to be that stairs were the big defeater of Daleks, but since that's no problem anymore your narrow hallway idea is revolutionary! 🙂 Someday you'll have to go back and check out the original Daleks serial from 1963. It's interesting to learn a little bit more about their actual origin (as philosophers!).

  3. I ‘get’ that Dr Who is all about time travel, but since Dr Who predated Star Trek by a 2 or 3 years, it’s harder for it to “borrow as much from Star Trek…”, in the same way that Raumpatrouille predated Dr Who. Each built upon what could be expected (at least for the time) of “serious sci-fi” on television.

  4. Plunger arms, yeah not scary. Death ray on the other side, scary.

    Total agreement on the Captain Pike business. It's pissed off many many people since probably the day it aired. I mean even if all he could do was on and off, you could hook him into a little computer and have him send morse or something.

      • Maybe no one liked him, and that was the idea Starfleet Medical had to punish him: "Let's put him in a hover round that beeps!"
        Or, maybe that was his starter chair, before the training box came off and he got a Razor scooter?

  5. I'm not actually guaranteeing that I'd buy a T-shirt of Panel Three, because money is a little tight at the moment, but it'd be profoundly tempting.

    Profoundly.

  6. This is brilliant. There can never be enough jokes about OS Captain Pike and his awful we-have-better-tech-NOW Starfleet-HMO-provided chair. Heck, they had better tech in the 60s. There’s really no excusing it, especially when they’ve also got nigh-omniscient sensor net clothing and such.

  7. Sadly Nicholas Courtney Who played Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart passed away today. I would recommend watching his episodes

    My personal opinion is "The Daemons" is on of his best episodes.

    He will be missed.

    • Wait, what? Dammit, I was hoping he'd make at least a token appearance in the new series, or even SJA.

      *Sigh*

      Another geek hope dashed.

  8. So really, the Daleks inspired Captain Pike, who, in return, inspired the later creation of Davros, creator of the Daleks? Yep, we got us a logical black hole here, that can only be closed by invoking Disney's The Black Hole and its robot V.I.N.CENT that seemed inspired by Star Wars' R2D2 but was more of… a Disney Dalek!

    And for the Brigadier (or Brigadeer as I misspelled) http://www.metafilter.com/100830/Five-Round-Salut

    There is great potential for "five rounds" jokes but it's (a) too obscure and (b) too soon.

    • Well…People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… timey wimey… stuff.

      …got away from me there, yeah.

  9. Funnily enough, the plunger arms on the original Daleks *actually were* plungers. One of the things I didn't like about the pre-re-boot Dr Who is that the sets looked like they'd been knocked up in 30 minutes with leftovers from a demolition.

    • And some of the early Star Trek, or Lost in Space stuff didn't?
      "Cap'n! Watch out for those falling/exploding/really super duper heavy styrofoam rocks that're spray painted brown!"
      "Cap'n…don't stomp on the upper deck of the bridge like that…make the plywood creak something awful."

  10. This will prolly earn me derisive sneers from the Doctor Who fans out there, but why was Rowan Atkinson not included on that infographic chart? He did play the Doctor in the anniversary special, after all… o_O

      • Oh yeah, not to mention the Ol' Grand Moff Tarkin himself, Peter Cushing. I don't know what was sadder; knowing about the first one I listed, or looking up the other one. ~_^

    • Sadly The Curse of the Fatal Death isn't canon, as truly awesome as it is. It also had Richard E Grant as The Doctor, and Jim Broadbent. When they started talking about bring Doctor Who back, Richard E Grant was one of the names bandied around as a possible new Doctor. As a result he did do a radio series episode as the Doctor which is considered canon, though where exactly in the timeline he fits isn't clear.
      Joanna Lumley was the final regeneration of The Doctor in this spoof and a truly fantastic Doctor she would have made, even if she did try to shag The Master! It did lead to a whole debate as to whether all of The Doctor's regenerations have to be male.
      Still, at least in all of the regenerations in this, he still wasn't ginger!

  11. I have to laugh at the incensed comments that you screwed something up. I guess I'd be the same way if it was something I cared deeply about, but I don't, so it just makes me laugh instead. Treat the internet like it's Mystery Science Theater 3000 ("repeat to yourself it's just a show, I really should relax") and you'll be much happier.

  12. when i was a lad watching the old-er doctors ( Ppertwee/baker) i used to think a handful of gravel would probably stop a Dalek… theo lil wheels wouldn't of coped:P

    • Good thought, but he daleks were never actually propelled by wheels. at first it was a kind of Static Electricity/Opposing magnets, limiting them to their home city. Later it developed into some kind of anti gravity that didn't get them very high, until they added thrusters for flight.

  13. I've always wanted to see the Peter Cushing Dalek's movie (or both movies), he is always left out of the continuity I guess because he was esentially playing rthe William Hartnell part.

  14. Doctor Who is both wonderful and infuriating in its refusal to set any rules for its own universe. Anything can and will (and probably already has) happened in one of the many, many Doctor Who episodes. Doctor Who is basically the Calvinball (www.bartel.org/calvinball) of sci-fi. As long as things do not get boring, I do not mind Doctor Who re-writing its own canon ad infinitum. Glad to see you are enjoying it so much Joel.

    • Ah yes "Doctorin the Tardis"…by the Time Lords, who became the KLF Foundation, who had the awesome hit "3am Eternal" (nothing to do with Dr Who) and, with Tammy Wynette, "The Justified Ancients of MuMu" (which is another name for the Time Lords).

      Whoda thought a British Dance band and an American Country singer would have a hit singing about the Time Lords…but they did. I think it got to no.1 in the UK charts.

      The best version of the Dr Who theme music is by Orbital (a British techno band) who did an excellent electro-jungle version. Every time I watch Dr Who I'm hoping the show's decided to use it…. but it never has to date. For those that are interested, the Dr Who track, called "?" is a hidden track on the DVD version of the album "The Altogether". It might be on the CD version too.

      • Ah yes "Doctorin the Tardis"…by the Time Lords, who became the KLF Foundation, who had the awesome hit "3am Eternal" (nothing to do with Dr Who) and, with Tammy Wynette, "The Justified Ancients of MuMu" (which is another name for the Time Lords).

        Here's a link to "Justified and Ancient" with Tammy Wynette. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gzkllCIyww Lot more talk of Ice Cream Vans than I remember from when it came out…but it's still awesome.

  15. I've been a mad WHO fan since I was like, 6. My very first episode was the very first Tom Baker (Fourth Doctor) episode, "Robot". Are you going to tackle the classic WHO, or sticking with 9 through 11?!

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