The Mazes of Time

12 Blogs of Christmas: #8

One of the (many) interesting developments in Doctor Who since its triumphant return in 2005 is the expansion in to new formats. Traditionally, it was a TV show plain and simple, followed by an occasional tie-in piece of merchandise like an annual, or the landmark “Making of Doctor Who” behind-the-scenes book and, if truth be told, not much else. Later on Target would bring the novelisations in to the mainstream and original comic strips were published in various periodicals. However, it was all manageable to the average fan of the time. Original and officially licenced fiction has been prevalent since the New Adventures from Virgin publishing burst on to the scene and original audio tales have been around for ages now… and are released so frequently as to feel overwhelming. Through all this, the nit-pickers’ ideas of what formed part of the canon, even if they couldn’t agree with one another at least held some inner consistency.

It was in Series Two of the RTD era when the lines got blurred for me. Firstly, viewers of Children in Need got to see a great little scene set between the end of “Parting of the Ways” and the start of “The Christmas Invasion”. When the full series started, mobile phone users in the UK had the opportunity to send a text message to a special number and they would be rewarded with being sent a specially commissioned preview clip relating to the forthcoming week’s episode. Not part of the episode itself but new and unique material. As time has gone on we have had specially shot scenes in the Proms concerts, another momentous CiN mini episode, “Meanwhile, in the TARDIS” scenes as DVD extras, and now we also get computer games.

When Steven “The Moff” Moffat was in pre-release publicity for the first of the downloadable games available from bbc.co.uk he was keen to mention that Series Five did not contain just 13 episodes but, in fact, 17 as this set of four games to be released through the remainder of 2010 would also be an intrinsic part of it. We also have games on the Nintendo platforms, Wii and DS as well as “The Mazes of Time” released as an iPhone app. Any hope of absorbing the whole of Doctor Who’s output has all but dissappeared for all bar the most over-obsessive corners of fandom. Even delineating the lines that will define the argument of “what is canon?” have been blurred beyond recognition. Any fan worth his salt will struggle with this question in order to make sense of the Whoniverse.

I’ve been giving it some thought lately just because I want to run this blog in the most effective way. I don’t want to buy a Nintendo DS just to review Evacuation Earth, I’m not sure that I want to subscribe to the entire output of AudioGO and Big Finish because I think my bank account may implode, and the idea of driving round the country to find every last variant from the Character Options range of action figures. It’s hard work this fandom lark. Would be interested to hear how you cope: are you a completist or selective in your hobby? Please leave a comment below.

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    • Adam Stone
    • January 2nd, 2011

    Financially I have to be very selective about what I buy so I really only go for the occasional DVD and book and DWM. Other than that I have decided that I can do without them, as there is no way I could ever buy everything that is released. It would be impossible (on my bank balance anyway).

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