On November 23, 1963, Doctor Who premiered in England and started on the path of being the longest-running science-fiction show out there. Not that it’s been an uninterrupted journey, by any means, but today we do mark the 50th anniversary of this classic show. Odds are that, if you understand the below, you aren’t reading blogs right now but are watching “The Day of The Doctor“, but hopefully those Whovians glued to their screens now will return later on.
For those that don’t know your Who (and, full disclosure, I’m only a watcher of the new stuff), a quick recap. The Doctor is a Time Lord who can regenerate upon death, allowing more than one actor to have the role. Between his Eighth and Ninth incarnations, he briefly set aside the title of Doctor during the Time War between his people and the Daleks. We’ll learn more about him in today’s broadcast, but given that his name was the War Doctor, it seemed like with a little capitalization, we could make this baseball related……..
[Scene: The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) and the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) stare at each other in the English woods. Eleven has just dropped in unannounced and Ten is trying to get his measure.]
Eleven: It’s you!
Ten: It’s me. But who are you?
Eleven: I’m you!
Ten: If you are trying to start an Abbott and Costello routine, you are doing a terrible job of it.
Eleven: No, no. You “died”, presto bango, here I am.
Ten: Ah, so you are me. Well, a version of me. Well, an inferior version of me.
[The two doctors suddenly realize they are not alone when another, rougher, older voice speaks up. This is the WAR Doctor (John Hurt).]
WAR: Actually, depending on your measure, he has a point.
Ten and Eleven: Oh, no.
WAR: What’s the matter? Not up for a good discussion?
Ten: You can’t go boiling us down to numbers! We’ve got too many intangibles for that to be a reasonable measure. Can you count how many people we’ve saved, for instance?
WAR: With our technology, we can count anything. For instance, you [gestures at 10] have saved roughly 250 billion beings, which is about 50 billion shy of your counterpart there.
Eleven: Ha! Inferior my sonic screwdriver.
WAR: Raw numbers so rarely tell the story, however. Given that he has had more opportunities, your BSI, Ten, is significantly higher.
WAR: Beings saved per instance. It’s a pretty big factor in VORD.
Eleven: I think I met a VORD once. Nice fellow. Four arms which was a little awkward when one was a little extra handsy.
WAR: Value over replacement Doctor.
Ten: Wait, you mean there are rankings? You’ve got to tell me I rank higher than this fez-wearing dandy.
Eleven: Oh, and the tennis shoes are just so classy.
WAR: There were rankings, but they were casualties of the Great Time War. Funnily enough, when you tell beings of extreme power that they rank under other beings of extreme power, things get testy. Some wouldn’t believe the numbers, said they’d seen with their own eyes that this Time Lord was better than that Time Lord. Couldn’t be swayed at all and, when the saber sages got snarky, things got ugly.
Eleven: And here I thought it had something to do with Daleks.
WAR: Data And Legends Evidence Keeping System. That’s what we put all the information into to come up with our statistics and rankings. Some people didn’t care for the system, though really, who could be that concerned with a computer that looked like a pepper shaker?
Ten: You are a bunch of cybermen, you are. No heart, no appreciation for what we do out here on the front lines. It’s not easy being the Doctor, you know!
WAR: From what I remember, Nine did it about 3.2 times more efficiently than you did, so perhaps it’s easier being the Doctor than you know.
Ten: There’s a reason we blocked you out of our memory.
WAR: What I did, I did without choice.
Eleven: I know.
WAR: In the name of knowledge and clarity.
Eleven: But not in the name of the Doctor!
WAR: Given both of your hairstyles, I’m not sure that’s the insult you think it is. However, just remember, whenever comparisons need to be made, whenever numbers need to be crunched, I will be there.
Ten: We’ll remember, as much as we try to forget.
[The WAR Doctor begins to shuffle off. Eleven walks toward a disturbance in the woods. Ten watches him take off, then whispers to the stat guy.]
Ten: I did beat him in VORD, right?
WAR: As of right now, yes. Better catch up with him, though–it’s a tight race.