Let’s say you own a TARDIS and are taking some of your friends for a relaxing trip around the universe. Suddenly, the unexpected happens! Your TARDIS runs into a tractor beam and gets pulled to a place with no televisions…. or, for that matter, any other ways to watch episodes of Doctor Who.
How would you still get your fix of Who-goodness? And what Who-related media would you recommend to your friends so that they could pass the time until the real Doctor comes to save the day? Here are a few of my suggestions:
Doctor Who Magazine
The unstoppable force that is DWM is almost required monthly reading for all Whovians. The magazine itself has never looked better, with full-color photos and exclusive interviews. A person can sometimes lose hours reading a full issue’s contents! It also has the popular comic strip pages which usually feature the current Doctor.
(I would recommend Children of the Revolution, an Eighth Doctor story, that appeared in DWM #312-317.) DWM is rocketing toward issue #500 and shows no signs of slowing down.
IDW Comic Books
IDW was the home for Doctor Who comics for several years in the 2000s, until recently losing the license to Titan Comics. My favorite IDW-published comics were The Forgotten mini-series (all ten Doctors team up) and the Prisoners of Time mini-series (one different Doctor per issue until the final issues).
Sadly, The Forgotten suffers from wildly erratic artwork, including an atrociously drawn Fourth Doctor story. Prisoners of Time #2, featuring the Second Doctor, is one of my favorite Who comics ever, with a kooky Ice Warriors story and fantastic art (a great balance of cartoony and great likenesses) by the underrated Lee Sullivan.
Let’s file this under too early to tell – but you have to read the first issues in order to get some idea, don’t you? Titan publishes on-going series for both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors (the Twelfth series is coming soon!). So far, the covers are fantastic, the dialogue is good, the stories are okay, and the new companions take up most of the issues. I love Elena Casagrande’s Tenth Doctor artwork, although David Tennant is dangerously veering toward looking like actor Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern). The less said about the horrible big nose-no eyes likeness used for Matt Smith in the Eleventh Doctor comic, the better.
Big Finish Productions
The kings of all audio adventures. There are so many great and lovingly-produced Big Finish titles that it is almost impossible to choose just one or two. I’m just going to choose to recommend the two-part Blood of the Daleks adventure. Introducing Sheridan Smith as companion Lucie Miller, and with Paul McGann at the top of his game as the Eighth Doctor, this showdown with the Daleks is hard to beat. It’s also a short adventure that is easy to get into.
Released in 2007, the two-parter also features a pre-Marvel’s Agent Carter (coming to TV screens soon!) Hayley Atwell as Asha. Also recommended: The Light at the End (the 50th anniversary!) and The Rocketmen (an Ian Chesterton companion story).
Back in the 1990s, when some of us were young teenagers with not much money, Doctor Who VHS tapes were the only way to see old episodes (unless you were lucky enough to live near a PBS station in the USA). The problem was, the videotapes were too darn expensive to afford (well, usually about $20), especially for a teen with no money. So the Target novelizations were the way to experience episodes that you hadn’t been able to see.
Prisoners of Time #2, featuring the Second Doctor, is one of my favorite Who comics ever, with a kooky Ice Warriors story and fantastic art (a great balance of cartoony and great likenesses) by the underrated Lee Sullivan.
And I still read them from time to time! Last year, I read The Highlanders (just to know more about Jamie) and Galaxy Four (missing episodes). Actually, the Target book I read the most in my teen years was The Doctor Who Programme Guide by Jean-Marc Lofficier. It was invaluable when it came to figuring out which order the stories happened and finding recurring actors (and characters).
I have to mention my love for two oversized Doctor Who-related books from the 80s-90s. The first is Ace!: The Inside Story of the End of an Era by Sophie Aldred and special effects-guru-slash-novelist Mike Tucker. Ace will always be my favorite companion and this book is packed with photos and great behind-the-scenes info from “Sophie & Mike”.
The other is Doctor Who: The Time-Travellers Guide by Peter Haining. My grandmother bought this book for me just as I was becoming a huge Doctor Who fan. Just to give you some idea, the book ends with a look at upcoming “new” Doctor Sylvester McCoy and ends with a programme guide for the Sixth Doctor. Am I officially old now?
In the early ’90s, when Doctor Who was nowhere to be found on our TV screens and things did not look good for the show, Bill Baggs and Nick Briggs (yes, the same one that is the voice of the Daleks!) made several Who-related videos. They even got many of the Who actors (one video, The Airzone Solution, featured four Doctors!) and licensed villain characters (Sontarans, Zygons, Cybermen) to be in the cheaply-made productions. But in order to avoid BBC lawsuits, they had to be very careful not to get too close to being “real” Doctor Who.
My favorite of these is probably the Auton series, which featured a Doctor-like Professor Lockwood (Michael Wade) and his UNIT advisor-companion, Natasha (Jo Castleton).
Kasterborites, what are your favorite non-television stories? I haven’t even mentioned the videogames, the New Adventures Novels, BBC Books, YouTube videos, and on and on! So let’s hear your favorites – whether classic or NuWho – in the comments below!