Comic-Con 2011, Part 3: Who’s your Doctor?

Parts 1 and 2 posted on Monday and Tuesday

This is NOT the Doctor!

We were up early again on Sunday for the last day of Comic-Con, loading up the car and driving back to the Convention Center, since we’d be heading straight home at the end of the day…but at the beginning, we headed straight for Hall H. Once again, we had a 12:30 panel as our goal, and this was our last chance to actually make it. We were far from the first people in the lines that morning, but we were far from the last either. I left for another line – the one waiting to get into the Starbucks at the Hilton across the street – while Tall Paul stayed in the queue outside Hall H, and when I returned to rejoin him, the crowds had grown, but he’d moved up a few rows. And when they opened the doors to Hall H 15 minutes before the first panel at 10:00 AM, we were in the wave of people who made it through. We’d be squatters sitting through two earlier panels, but we were guaranteed that we would not miss the one we’d actually come to see.

The Gleeks were out in force for the first panel of the day, but I have to wonder if some of them were disappointed; most of the Glee panel was made up of writers and producers, and they were primarily there to talk about their upcoming 3-D concert film. I’ve been to panel discussions where I haven’t known too much about the show or movie or book being discussed, but by the end I was interested enough to want to check it out for myself…but the Glee panel didn’t do that for me (sorry, Gleeks, don’t hate me!). The panel for Supernatural that followed it did pique my interest, however. It was more balanced between creative staff and stars, and they had the chemistry that comes from being part of a long-running show (and several prior appearances at Comic-Con) together. We had a good time with this one, even though we’re not fans.

We’re technically newbie fans of the show whose panel we’d been waiting for – it’s been around in one form or another for almost 50 years, and we’ve only watched it for the last year or two (plus catching up with several prior seasons on DVD), but we were in excellent company. The BBC is putting a big push behind Doctor Who this year, which has included splitting the current season – the sixth of the revival, the second of the 11th Doctor, and the forty-somethingeth of the entire show (it’s tricky to count) – into two parts and panel presentations at Comic-Con and the Television Critics Association (TCA). The Comic-Con panel was missing showrunner Steven Moffat – which was a loss during the audience Q&A, because there were some questions asked that no one else could really have addressed – but we got two producers and one writer. More importantly, we got Amy Pond and the Eleventh Doctor. Both Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were very engaging panelists who seem to love being part of the show, and with them in the cast, the BBC has picked an excellent time to try to raise its profile.

David Tennant as the Tenth DoctorImage via Wikipedia
This is not the Doctor either…any more. Sigh.

And I say that as a devoted fan of the Tenth Doctor. However, it’s fascinated me to compare and contrast the ways in which the Doctor remains the Doctor regardless of who portrays him and the aspects that seem to be specific to a particular incarnation. David Tennant’s Doctor seemed a more mercurial and romantic character, one who made strong attachments and yet spent significant time without a companion in his travels. Matt Smith’s Doctor still strikes me as more reserved and measured, and yet less alone, in part because his companion has a companion of her own. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory – and River – are something close to a family, and that’s a very different dynamic. And I love both interpretations. Tall Paul will answer the question “Who’s your Doctor?” with “The Eleventh,” but it’s a lot harder for me to make a call on that.

(The previous discussion will make no sense at all to non-Whovians. Whovians are invited to debate it – politely, and keeping in mind that I’m a Who noob with a narrow frame of reference – in the comments.)

Trust him. He’s your Doctor.
Amy Pond, listening to the Doctor
Hey, how’d that Dalek get in here?
Don’t blink during the Q&A – it’s a Weeping (and talking) Angel
This is not River Song, but it’s as close as we got at the Con (no Alex Kingston!)

In addition to show discussion, behind-the-scenes stories, and questions from (mostly costumed) members of the audience, we got some sneak peeks during the panel – and the trailer for the second half of Season Six looks amazing. I believe you can join the Doctor’s travels at any time, but once you do, you’ll probably want to backtrack and get some context, because some elements of this show’s mythology have been in place for decades (although you don’t necessarily need to go to the very beginning). And before you pick up the current season in midstream (at the end of August), I’d suggest watching the first half of the season, which is already available on DVD. (And because of the way BBC America chops shows up to get the commercials in, you’ll probably find you prefer watching on DVD anyway – I certainly do.)

After our hour with the Doctor, there wasn’t much more to do aside from another short visit to the Expo Hall, where Tall Paul snagged one more poster – and then we got on the road home. It was a bit disappointing to leave Comic-Con 2011 without having secured our 2012 tickets, but assuming we can get those tickets online a few months from now, we will be back for more next year – maybe even four days’ worth!

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