Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 7th Regeneration of Christmas

The Seventh Doctor was played by Sylvester McCoy from 1987 to 1989.  Initially, they weren't quite sure what to do with his character, since in his first episodes he was a rather benign bumbler, similar to several earlier incarnations.  Gradually, though, either the writers or McCoy himself evolved a much more nuanced take on the Doctor -- a skilled tactician, master of psychology and manipulation, but still deeply caring, inquisitive, and humanitarian.


But yes, he did keep the question-mark themed clothing.  (Groan.)  I do remember watching a few of the Seventh Doctor's adventures on PBS in the early 1990s.  It was strange to see another actor besides Tom Baker playing the part, but McCoy pulled you in... it was fun to watch him do his thing, and it always seemed like he was keeping many more secrets than he let on.  I missed out on seeing fan-favorite companion Ace, an initially troubled teen who evolved into a skilled warrior.

Quotations:

"A stitch in time... takes up space."

"Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way."

"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."


The Seventh Doctor is an AQUARIUS.  I'm not sure how good the fit is with this sign, since many of its characteristics -- inventiveness, intelligence, loyalty, and unpredictability -- can probably be applied to nearly every Doctor.  Was this incarnation also "detached, contrarian, and perverse," as is also sometimes said for Aquarii?  I'm not sure.  He did once try to teach Ace a lesson about her truant ways by taking her back 100 years to visit the heyday of a grand mansion that she burned down before she met him.  A bit perverse, if you ask me...  :-)

From the above, it seems that textbook Aquarians are supposed to be coldly objective, with a sarcastic edge.  Thus, their New Year's Resolution is to get mushy.  No ironic hipster detachment for you!  Letting in more emotion may be messy and difficult, but it leads to a richer and more honest life.

[See the introduction for more about sources and motivations for this series of posts.]

5 comments:

  1. This is my favorite Doctor. Or perhaps, more correctly, my favorite Doctor/Companion combination. Ace was great. A pretty young woman of action, willing to take on Daleks with a baseball bat*. Also the first time (only time?) a companion was the right age for me. As if.

    BTW In Ghostlight he takes her back to the mansion so they can deal with the evil that resided there, which is what she sensed in the future and led her to torch the place.

    You should check the episodes out-many of them are available on Netflix and Hulu+. You can get free trial runs of those services.

    * OK. It was sort of a magic baseball bat, but still...
    Also, Cybermen with a slingshot.

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    1. Thanks, Stu Rat! Yeah, I'm going to have to go find some Ace episodes. People have also said that out of all the pre-2005 companions, the relationship between Ace and the Seventh was the most like how it is in the Davies/Moffatt era.

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    2. There is definitely a mentor type relationship where he is trying to show her how things work and to develop (grow-up) as a person. Most of the earlier years' companions were just along for the ride, used widely as exposition dumps and someone to ask "why, Doctor?". Ace did all that, but got really involved in the plot (frequently the center of the plot) and made major decisions. I believe the plan was for her character to go to the Timelord Academy on Gallifrey if the show had lasted another season.

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  2. "A stitch in time... takes up space."

    This, I liked.

    "Anybody remotely interesting is mad in some way."

    This, too, was wonderful.

    "There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea's asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger, somewhere there's injustice, and somewhere else the tea's getting cold. Come on, Ace. We've got work to do."

    This made me wish I was Ace. :)

    I started writing a novel about a year ago about a woman who owned a second-hand store. She wore a t-shirt that read, 'Ace and the Supersonic Mystery Caravan,' and the man who ran the store two spaces from hers called her Ace in the opening scene. I didn't know I was making a Whovian reference. :)

    I find it amusing that nearly every doctor you profile I like a little more than the last for one reason or another. I'll have to look over all of the posts at the end and force myself to pick the one which resonates most deeply. I am enjoying this series quite a bit.

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    1. Just wait till the weekend -- we'll turn you into a fan, yet.

      I had a (male) friend in high school who spent nearly all of senior year trying to cement "Ace" as his own nickname. By spring, it actually worked!

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