(Secondary prompt: The Companions)
Well, you know what they say - time flies when you're having fun. I can't believe how many Doctors we've already been through and how few remain ahead of us. The Five-centric Round Seven is still in progress, but we need to press on with this Game of Rassilon we're playing; sleep, as they say is for tortoises and we haven't got a moment to lose in moving on to the next leg.
(Remember, though, those of you still working on entries for prior legs - please, please, please still post them to the comm whenever they're finished, even if it's after November 23, or indeed after December 31. Realistically, I know I'm probably still going to be working on my backlog into next year, what with time passing as quickly as it seems to be and hopefully this comm is going to be here in some form as long as there's a Livejournal, so I really do hope I see all of your stuff up here whenever it's ready!)
But to business. Although this month's Doctor probably wouldn't approve of such sentiments. I mean, what's the point in growing up if you can't be childish sometimes? It's something of a cliche to say that somebody needs no introduction, but, well, this month's subject probably doesn't. For many people over a certain age, he's the first thing they think of whenever the words "Doctor Who" are bandied about. He's the longest-serving Doctor to date, possibly the most larger-than-life Doctor of them all and generally in the years before the new series began bestrode fandom like a stripy-scarfed Colossus. And I still think he'd edge it over Ten in a straight Doctor-off for ultimate dominance. You know who it is already. This month, we are talking about - we can only be talking about...
Four is this month's Doctor. Or Doctors, possibly. I suppose it's impossible for a Doctor, and indeed an actor, to hang around for so long without going through various phases and changes, but that's also in large part down to the changing production styles as the programme went on. After a brief period of carrying on in a somewhat Three-ish vein, alternating space adventures with brief visits back at UNIT, the Four era arguably hit its stride with the Holmes-Hinchcliffe period and its rich seam of Hammer Horror pastiches. But that wasn't the end; they reinvented Gallifrey a couple of times just for fun, paired the Doctor up with one of his own species in a quest to save the universe from eternal chaos, veered off into witty comedy under Douglas Adams's brief tenure in the script editor's chair and then gave him a natty red outfit and injected a bit of hardish SF into the Fourth Doctor's swansong in Season 18. That's more reinvention than you get between some different Doctors, let alone within one incarnation. And throughout it all, even when he was bored and drunk and playing it all for laughs and fighting with the directors and writers, Tom Baker reigned supreme, inhabiting Four, selling every one of the eccentric asides and one-liners, making him by turns funny and erudite and believably alien and on occasion slightly scary. You can reel off the classic stories, including quite a lot of candidates for best Who story ever, and the well-loved, iconic companions. Sarah Jane Smith, carrying over from the end of Three's era; Leela, the intelligent and practical "savage"; K9 (he's a companion!); Romana (both of her!); and don't forget Harry Sullivan and Tegan and Nyssa at the end there, and yes even Adric. Oh, and Four went out like a hero too in Logopolis. I could go on, but I don't really need to - Four, he's the real deal.
So, friends, in honour of that real deal, here's what we're going to do: All forms of fannish endeavour are welcome - that goes for fanfic, fanart, fanvids, fanmixes, icons, podfic, and absolutely any other medium in which you want to express your creativity and celebrate your love for that which is Who. Think of Four and all the things that make him the way he was. Think of that spirit of silliness, the pride in being the square peg in the round hole, and how it tended to rub off on those around him given long enough. Won't someone think of the scarf?! Think of those companions. Think of Gothic horror and tin dogs and Keys to Time. Think of running through Paris, running through Paris...!
As ever, something that evokes the idea of the oncoming 50th Anniversary would be especially welcome, but maybe the best way to do that is by creating the most undeniably Four-like Four fanwork you can?
And as usual, we will be having a secondary theme for those of you who would prefer something less specifically Doctor-centred. And for August 2013, that will be...
The Companions. Or assistants, if you prefer. The change in nomenclature has a lot to say about the subtle, unspoken changes in outlook over the years that Doctor Who has lasted. It would be another cliche to say that Doctor Who would be nothing without the Doctors companions, and it's one you can debate among yourselves. Whatever your conclusion, I don't think it can be denied that without the Doctor-companion dynamic (or dynamics - it changes so often over the programme's history) Doctor Who would certainly be a very different series to the one we know and love. They've been there since the beginning - they're as much a plank of what Doctor Who is and how it works as the TARDIS or regeneration or Daleks, or the Master always surviving to do evil another day. And I think we all of us, old series fans and new series fans alike, have our favourites, the ones who we find especially admirable or whose "thing" with the Doctor strikes us as especially enjoyable and touching. Not to mention those who have "things" with each other. In considering who is or is not a "companion" for the purposes of this month's prompt, I think you have to follow your own heart(s) of heart(s). Is the Brigadier a companion? I would say so, others wouldn't. Ditto Mickey, Sara Kingdom, Wilf, Sgt Benton. If you think they're a companion, then I'm not going to cramp your style. And bear in mind that there are whole slews of companions that have never been seen on a television screen, thanks to the novels and audios. The undisputed champion of these is probably Bernice Summerfield, but there are the Fitzes and Anjis and Hexes and Rozes and all of the rest of them. So many. And he really does love them all, all in different ways, all special, all his best friends while they last. I would never try to influence anybody else when it came to fanworking, but some nice deep meta about the whole Doctor-companion "thing" and what it means and how it's changed over the years would really hit the spot for this round, I think.
Whatever you end up doing, though, my friends, I already know it's going to be good. :)
Hopefully the above will have you bursting with inspiration and ready to start creating. If so, please express your wish to participate in the comments to this post. It would be great if you could name a date (list provided below) as it helps spread the contributions across more of the month, but it isn't a deal-breaker.
1 - femme_slash_fan
20 - a_phoenixdragon
25 - ponygirl72
26 - clocketpatch
29 - femme_slash_fan (again!)
30 - akashasheiress
31 - praus1701
Members who would have expressed interest in participating but would prefer not to be tied to a specific date include: jjpor, knitchick1979
Oh well, I suppose before we start we'd better take a look at the alleged rules:
- Please feel free to post your fanworks directly to the community, or link to your own Livejournal/Dreamwidth account or any external archive or site you use for hosting your stuff.
- There are no minimum length requirements, but please put any large images or, in the case of fanfic, anything over 1000 words, under a cut or the other side of a link.
- There are no rating restrictions, but again please cut and provide warnings for anything over PG-13, or which might be considered triggering. Use your common sense.
- Character-bashing is in the eye of the beholder, but there are ways of critiquing or lampooning something you don't necessarily like about the show without resorting to straight-up hatchet-work that is going to cause angst on the comm. Common sense, again.
- Disclaimers may or may not actually work from a legal standpoint, but they help me sleep at night.
- Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Well, that's my bit done and dusted. The rest is up to you lot. :)