Thursday, January 22, 2015

Doctor Who Team-Up Infographic Redesign

A few years ago I made a Doctor Who Team-Up Infographic. It was OK, but it didn't come out the way it looked in my head and I never really liked the design.

So I finally took the time to redesign it, and add the additional team-up episode that aired in 2013 (timely I know, but hey, I'm busy).

It's tall, so prepare to scroll. If you want to read the text, you'll have to go to this link:

Please forgive the quality of the image below. Apparently the large dimensions of the infographic are discombobulating the impeccably designed Blogger glitch-fest, er, I mean interface, and it insists on displaying this blurry image, no matter what I do to embiggen it.

The old infographic was 12" x 18." I knew I'd never fit all the additional info onto that size, so I decided not to worry about it, and just let the material dictate the dimensions.

For non-fans of the show, those circular symbols in the background are Gallifreyan words.

There was a lot of moving around of elements and rewriting of text to get everything just right. I'm a lot happier with this version.

As fun as these team-up episodes are, historically there's always been some sort of problem with each one, making them less than perfect. For example, in The Three Doctors, actor William Hartnell (who played the First Doctor) was in poor health and was only able to interact with the other Doctors via view screen, so it was really just two Doctors running around. Pity.

Then in The Five Doctors, Hartnell had sadly passed away and was replaced by actor Richard Hurndall. He did a good job, but naturally it just wasn't the same. Tom Baker, who played the Fourth Doctor, declined to participate, and appears for a few seconds through the magic of stock footage. Baker has recently said he regrets his decision.

In The Two Doctors, actor Patrick Troughton had aged visibly since his tenure on the series, and his hair had gone almost completely gray. This was distracting to say the least, since he was supposed to be the same age as the last time we saw him. This would have been such an easy fix— all they had to do was dye his hair black. Does hair dye not exist in England?

The Day Of The Doctor is marred by problems as well— namely the absence of the Ninth Doctor. In the episode, The Moment brings the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors back in time to show the War Doctor the massive guilt he'll experience if he destroys Gallifrey. 

But Ten and Eleven don't seem all that guilt-ridden or damaged, seeing as how they spend a good amount of screen time joking around with one another. The Ninth Doctor was the one who closest to the tragedy and had an air of sadness and tragedy about him. He'd have been a great example for The Moment to have used. So why wasn't he in the episode?

Unfortunately for the fans, actor Christopher Eccleston, who played the Ninth Doctor, has some sort of beef with the BBC and refuses to reprise the role. That's his business of course, but you'd think he could set aside his differences briefly for the sake of the fans. Story-wise it makes no sense for him to not be in the episode, and hurts it overall.

I knew that show runner Stephen Moffat's plots were overly convoluted and needlessly complicated, but nowhere was that more evident than when I started writing up the synopsis for The Day Of The Doctor. I was able to distill the other episodes down to a few short paragraphs. It took many times that to explain Day, even after leaving out a ton of stuff.

I kept whittling away at it and slashing elements until I got it down to a manageable size. You may notice that the Zygon subplot, that takes up a good amount of the run time, is barely mentioned in my synopsis. That's because I realized it's completely superfluous. It has absolutely nothing to do with the overall War Doctor plot line and could be edited out of the show completely without harming the episode one bit. Such are Stephen Moffat's scripts.

Hopefully there won't be any more team-ups for a while, so I won't have to update it again.

Drawn and designed all in InDesign.

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