Monday, December 31, 2012

An Afterword

And then I had talked about all of the Doctor Who.

When I started this blog three years back I knew basically nothing about Classic Doctor Who and all of my knowledge was based on theoretics and things that I had read on Wikipedia. I knew nothing about any of the Doctors or the actors playing them or the companions. Now I know not just about them or even some of the returning guest stars who kept coming back because they were so excellent time and time again (Bernard Horsfall anyone?) I know a ton about the production of the show, the backgrounds, the significances, the many, many writers who came back again and again, and the directors who'd sometimes drop science on one story and never return, or the ones who came back again and again and did spectacular work each and every time they showed up.

What's funny is how it has evolved over the years. What started as a Tom vs. the Flash style recap blog to point out what I thought was silly about Doctor Who while still being reverential soon blossomed into something closer to essays and analyses of what worked and what didn't, and while I thought that would make things easier, it actually required quite a lot more thought and contemplation and what had proudly been an on-time, all-the-time blog quickly devolved into something that actually took effort and turned into a job I felt I was rarely ever good at. I mean, sure, there's entries I'm proud of, but there's other ones that reading back you can tell I was just trying to crank out so I could move onto the next story, which I knew I liked more, or at least, had something specific and interesting to talk about.

And talking about it like this quickly turned Doctor Who from one of my favorite shows currently airing on television to one of my favorite shows ever. The sheer breadth and quality across what's coming up on fifty years of history is batshit insane and there's never been a show like it for so long as there's been television. It's a remarkable thing to have experienced and if you've not gone through them all yet, I really urge you to. It's worth sitting through the the season of base-under-siege reconstructions even if it's for the Troughton or some of the rubbish Graham Williams stories even if it's to find a story you inexplicably love. I can often find myself at odds with Doctor Who fandom, and there's always a number of stories in a season that I'm supposedly crazy for liking while I always find I look down on fandom for liking some of the stories they for some reason think are good.

More than that, though, this blog changed my life. When I started it I still had over a year left in college and about halfway through I moved from my hometown of San Diego to Los Angeles in pursuit of a career in film and television. It saw me through numerous relationships, people who were here when I started, who are not here now it's ended, and people who I've only met in the last few months who could never understand just how massive a part of my life this blog has been. When I started this whole thing I didn't know my writing partner and now I know we're stuck together forever. It's because of this that I initially contacted him asking if he would check it out and see if he liked it. It's because of this and weird discussions on Twitter that I joined what had previously been his podcast "The Doctor's Companion". It's because of this (and that) that I became a co-host (now host) on the show, talking about Doctor Who and getting to revisit all the stories I'd previously covered for an entirely new audience who didn't know I existed, at times re-evaluating my previous experience, other times amplifying and magnifying my long-standing thoughts.

Needless to say, it's not always been easy, but it's always surprised me. Sometimes I'd walk into a story with nothing to say and end up writing thousands and thousands of words, and other times I'd come into a story I loved and find there was next to nothing to talk about. There's only so many times you can say something is great before you get tired of repeating yourself, whereas when you're deconstructing a story that was never completed, that has been adapted to a novel and an audio production without even that story's original Doctor, you're gonna get a lot more mileage out of that. It's frustrating, I know, because at the end of the day sometimes you just want someone to say "I liked this" or "I hated this", but that's really just the start of the conversation. It's a hundred minutes long, surely there's something more and/or new to say.

So what next? There's plenty more Doctor Who to cover. There's hundreds of novels and hundreds of audio plays. Action figures, toys, cosplay, all that. And part of me (a large part, really) always wanted to cover the entire Big Finish catalog, but at this point we're looking at a main range of stories that's already outstripped the number of stories they did in the initial run on television. And that means on a weekly schedule we're looking at a good solid four years of more blogging, and while the thought appeals to me, I find I need to take a break from blogging forever. I have... well... other things I want to do. Reading back the introduction I talked about doing audioplays, but... I just can't do it now. Sometimes you don't need to write about them to enjoy them, and I find I quite enjoy those as their own sphere of entertainment with none of the stigma of "work" attached to them.

As for Nu-Who, that was never in the scope of this blog. Classic is in the title, you guys. For my thoughts on Nu-Who you should just listen to "The Doctor's Companion", because really? That's where I'm covering it and I don't feel the need to retread any more than I already have between that podcast and this blog.

What we're left with here, now, this entry. This is a signpost on a door, the first thing you'll see on an archive that encapsulated three years of my life, and covers way more ground than I ever could have imagined. It stands below an index that quick-links to any story you might want to find, which, by the way, covered from our very first introductory entry to this, our very last afterword, 1,034 days, 161 entries, close to 1,000,000 words, and upwards of 20,000 screencaps. I never could have imagined one day having this whole thing completed and now it will collect dust, the relic of a fool who decided he would finish just a week before the show's 50th Anniversary year kicked off, but free to peruse forever.

Seriously, though. You should see some of the screencaps that we had to leave on the cutting room floor. We really did leave out quite a few good ones.

But to those who read everything, thank you. To the people who duck in to get some thoughts on a story they just watched, thank you. To everyone who ever just showed up, saw how long these entries were, and said "hell no!", thank you. To everyone who comes here to raid screencaps, thank you. To all the people behind the scenes who encouraged me to finish, thank you. And to all the people who say "Why?" and "Maybe take a break?" and "That's so much work", thank you. To Cassandra who stuck around way longer than she had to, who put up with all the rubbish stories I ended up giving her, who turned in some great entries with her unique insights and came up with things I never would have come up with, who edited and looked over every single entry before I published it, who dealt with all my insane bullshit over the past three years, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It's been a hell of a ride and while I might at times have wanted to quit and walk away, sitting here now, being done, I couldn't possibly ever dream of trading it for anything in the bloody world. Now I set my sights on other things. Like... god. I don't even know. All I know is I really have loved doing this blog and it's made me appreciate this show more than I ever thought possible. And even though this blog is done, the show goes on forever and the discussions you can have about it are seemingly limitless. I'm just happy to be one small corner of the discussion-verse. It's been totally fantastic and wonderfully surreal.  

Oh! And? Holly boy howdy, you guys! It's done!

-Matt Smith
(But Not That Matt Smith)
December 31, 2012


  1. Thank YOU (and Cassandra!) for all your hard work, all the care you've taken in putting together each post, for all the research and the little production details that reveal so much more about each story, for the good-humoured way you've dealt with some of the atrocious stories, and the unabashed love you've shown for your favourites. This blog has been, and will continue to be, one of my very favourites, it's an amazing resource and I pray it never comes down... I often refer back to it when watching classic stories, and refer my Nu-Who-loving friends to it if they want to know something. And yes, I've plundered a whole ton of the screencaps - really grateful for those! I've also tuned into teh podcast because of this blog, and love it too, so thank you, thank you, thank you, for bringing a lot of happiness and laughs into the life of one particular DW nerd in New Zealand. Congrats on a monumental achievement!

  2. Thank you very much. I'm relatively new to this blog [finding it about five months ago]. I recently began a project of my own and am finding your work, along with a few other writers, extremely useful to my own work. I can't thank you enough. This is making my life and my project easier to deal with. I will continue to come and "raid the blog for information". This is one excellent volume of Doctor Who material and you should be extremely proud of it.

    Thank You and Stay well...

  3. I've really enjoyed reading these. Thank you.

    Dave Wrote This

  4. Thank you for providing a great series of articles on Classic Who, Matt. It's thanks to you that I've gotten into not just Doctor Who, but more focused film-watching and media consumption as a result. I dare say it's even turned my personal life around—just a little, maybe, but it counts for something!

  5. I'm so proud of you, and you've saved the best for last.

  6. Well done. It's been a pleasure reading your thoughts on Classic Who. I've been surprised how closely they almost always align with my own,excepting a couple of Pertwee stories. I'm sad it's come to an end, though you saved some great adventures and entries for last. Now, I'll just have to cope with my fix of TDC fortunately that near enough makes up for it!

  7. My family is just getting into Doctor Who at our teenage son's behest. I remember it a bit from when I was a child, but nothing substantial. We started with the Eccleston Doctor because that's easily available. The earlier ones we may have to dig up disk by disk, but we're going to. I'm really enjoying your blog--thank you!

  8. I just wanted to say that I love your blog! I am a HUGE FAN of Dr Who myself ("Doctor Who???") and am very grateful for all of the inside information I get from you guys about my all time favorite TV show. Great stuff!

    I just made a really cool Doctor Who infographic on my site featuring a new timeline including all twelve doctors. You can check it out here: