Doctor Who, for all its glorious attributes, suffers a single, glaring problem.
A problem that, to my annoyance is intrinsically part of the fabric of everything that makes Doctor Who unique and amazing, yet isn’t that hard to fix.
Fellow Whovians, I beg you…don’t pass premature judgment and sentence me to become a headless monk.
Even though I’m fairly new to the Whoverse and have experienced only a slice of what it has to offer, I absolutely love what I’ve found so far. The adventure, the imagination, the creativity. The storylines (some of which could be much improved) and characters (Amy and Rory are the best EVER!).
What I especially adore is the time-travel. It makes almost anything possible and when I watch Doctor Who, my imagination spins so fast sometimes I can’t keep up. I hold a special place in my heart for the TARDIS, that amazing box imbued with mind-blowing abilities. To travel backwards or forwards through time, in any point in space…incredible.
And that’s where the problem arises.
I try to pay attention to how a story is constructed, analyzing it to see what works and what doesn’t. Where the plot holes appear and where the story is as sound as the hull of a submarine.
Ironically, the problem with Doctor Who is the time travel. How’s that, you might think? Don’t get me wrong—the time travel is one of my favorite parts of the show. Nothing would be the same without it.
Yet its presence creates plot difficulties. Maybe not obvious ones, but problems I’ve noticed more than once.
I’m usually willing to overlook inconsistencies. When the story is gripping enough, the minor details fade to the background and become unimportant in the face of the narrative holding my attention.
However, this one keeps bugging me because it undermines so many plots.
Here’s my beef: if the Doctor is a time-traveler, why can’t he hop in the TARDIS whenever a crisis surfaces, hop-skip-jump back through the timestream, get a head start on the predicament, and prevent it from happening?
Other times, the idea of a fixed point in space and time is used as the excuse. Which is fine. The problem isn’t when a reasonable answer is given for why the characters have to solve the problem in the present time.
The catch comes when no one—especially the Doctor—brings it up. Everyone rushes through the course of the episode trying to solve the situation. Why not use the TARDIS? Go back. Save the day yesterday instead of now.
Did no one think of that?
I find it highly unlikely.
What irks me even more about the situation is the ease with which it can be avoided. All you need is a couple lines of dialogue here and there to explain why they’re not going back in time to defeat the problem. Use a force to disable the TARDIS or prevent the Doctor from getting to it or using it properly.
A simple fix.
I don’t know, maybe I’m overthinking and letting my nitpicky side come out. Perhaps, given my less-than-admirable knowledge of Doctor Who, there’s an explanation for this discrepancy I’m unaware of.
If so, please enlighten me.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to devour Doctor Who and hope the entertaining appeal outweighs any potential plot weaknesses. Because what’s better than gallivanting through space and time with a madman and his blue box?
Does this bother you, Whovians, or am I barking up an empty tree? Have you noticed other inconsistencies in Doctor Who that bother you? As a fellow Whovian, I’d love to hear your thoughts.