Absentia: The Eighth Doctor (Doctor Who)

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Robin
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Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:02 pm

Still hard at work on this site, by the way! Have had a few days of necessary laziness following the Doctor Who convention, but I also got lots more ideas for stuff to add to my articles as I visited panels at the convention. Also, my boyfriend and I have been working together on modding the Eighth Doctor into Magic: the Gathering and HeroClix...lots of geeky fun :D

What is stopping me from working on this right now is that I'm still not really sure how to arrange the content on my TV Movie Plot article--I feel like it's way too long but I didn't want to miss any details either, and aaaa. Also, I'm not sure if my Who history article is an info overload with all those lists. Any opinions would be VERY helpful! :D
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Destinie
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Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:02 am

That is pretty long! Maybe you can chop it up in to sub pages?
You could have a page for the short version OR You could write out the short version and then break up the long version into scenes/acts?

I'm also really impressed with how you've written the long version and included all that dialogue!

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Robin
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Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:56 pm

@Destinie: OOOOOO I hadn't thought about breaking the long version up into separate "acts" on their own pages... SNAPPPP that would actually be pretty amazing!! Thank you! :D :D

(I'm still going back and forth over whether I want to do list form or paragraph form for the Who history articles, though... ack)
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Robin
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Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:50 pm

WOOOO I fixed up the TV Movie plot article, breaking the movie into 11 (!!) sections that are easily clicked through--now that part of the site is not quite as embarrassing, LOL.

(This is legit how I put a site together usually--it's just that all this tinkering usually happens behind the scenes. You should have seen what a mess my Jessie x James site was in its first drafts LOLOLOL)

Also, I started using Google Fonts and WHOAMYGOD WHY HAVE I NEVER USED THEM BEFORE MY EYES ARE OPENED ~~~haaaaallelujah~~~
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Megan A
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Wed Jun 08, 2016 1:12 pm

Hey, Robin! I haven't been here in awhile, but I am catching up on all of your updates. I wanted to pop in and say that everything looks fantastic! I'm especially loving this TV Movie plot article you just plugged! So organized, and it's been really fun to read through. :)

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Robin
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Wed Jun 08, 2016 5:44 pm

Megan A wrote:Hey, Robin! I haven't been here in awhile, but I am catching up on all of your updates. I wanted to pop in and say that everything looks fantastic! I'm especially loving this TV Movie plot article you just plugged! So organized, and it's been really fun to read through. :)
Awesome!! Glad you're enjoying it! :D

I'm still deciding how I want to organize and display the info in the "Doctor Who Primer" section--I really really like the third history article's organization (in paragraph form), but I wasn't sure if the list formats of the other two articles were easier to read. xD What are your thoughts?
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Megan A
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Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:58 am

I do think the lists make the first two history sections a lot easier to read, especially since there's so much information on each page. However, I think the third history article, in paragraph form, works really well too.

I think that the bullet format really works because you're discussing things by date, and it really gives a sense of a "timeline" which is the feel I get from reading these two sections. There's so much information on both of these pages that I think they really benefit from the list format.

I really do like the paragraph format for the third section because it presents the information as a story instead of a timeline, but I'm wondering if your first two sections have too much information to make paragraph format look like too much information to read. The third section is still rather easy for me to follow, so it's difficult for me to imagine in my head. If you really, really like the format of the third one, I say give it a try! Your writing is really good and straight-forward, so I'm sure you can make it work somehow.

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Robin
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Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:13 am

I'm gonna try to draft out a paragraph form of the info in the first two sections and see if I like it--though I might be able to do some other format, like an actual visual timeline...still turning this over in my brain xD

Also, I am DEFINITELY gonna do some other articles today. Got my list of stuff that still needs doing and I'mma get on that. xD
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Robin
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Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:17 pm

Here's my rough draft of the first Who-history page in paragraph form:

Rumbles of Trouble: 1977-1989

Many Doctor Who historical articles summarize the show during the 1980s something like this: "In the '80s, Doctor Who ratings got poorer and poorer until the BBC finally put the kibosh on the whole project in 1989." However, the real history is a lot more complex, as I have just recently discovered, and the troubles run back a little longer than just the '80s.

I read through much of the Doctor Who Production Diary, lovingly compiled by Shannon Patrick Sullivan, and in between the numerous listings of "location filming", "recording," and "script submitted," I saw another story emerging, a tale of growing divisions in the ranks behind the scenes, divisions which ultimately doomed the show to cancellation despite having fantastic actors and a premise that was still excellent. I started piecing it all together, and the following article is what I learned.

The Problem Behind the Scenes of Doctor Who

Before the late 1970s, Doctor Who had been a show more like The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, its contemporaries in many ways. But by 1977, rumblings of problems between script writers, editors, and producers were afoot; scripts were getting submitted, heavily edited, and then abandoned at a rapid rate.

The biggest problem was that different people wanted to take the show in different directions; some wanted to keep the lighter, more high-flying sci-fi tone, and some wanted to shift the show to a much darker, more "social commentary/character deaths" tone. The powers that be wanted Doctor Who to be able to compete with the bigger-budget American sci-fi shows that were on at the time (including Star Trek: The Next Generation), but in so doing, it seemed they'd lost contact with their audience. They knew something was wrong, but not really what yet. Result: writing, planning, and filming episodes became a giant mess, to put it lightly.

Tensions Rise to the Surface

Several secondary character actors started jumping ship around this time, probably because of all this tension and confusion backstage. The tensions finally reached a head in October 1978, when Tom Baker (the actor portraying the Fourth Doctor) threatened to leave Doctor Who if he didn't get more creative control over the show. In doing so, he drew attention to the problems bubbling away underneath the production, perhaps trying to get them resolved, but this only fed the flames. By the end of 1979, director Alan Bromly and producer Graham Williams had left the show, leaving behind unfinished plans for filming and a slightly truncated season, and it wasn't long before Baker left the show as well.

Circling the Drain

By the early '80s, several other key actors for Doctor Who were already expressing their dissatisfaction (and some had already left). A new producer, John Nathan-Turner, had taken over, but his new, darker direction for the show did not please many. Not to mention that many of the studio's future plans for the show, such as possible filming in Australia, had fallen flat. Finally, in 1983, John Nathan-Turner and his script editor, Eric Saward, planned out Season 21 of the show, writing as graceful an exit as possible for Peter Davison (the Fifth Doctor), plus Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson, since all three wanted off the show.

Colin Baker was hired on as the Sixth Doctor, Season 22 started filming, and the cast seemed mostly okay with everything for a while...but then some things began to go haywire at upper levels. Filming for Season 23 got delayed to the fall of 1986 instead of January of that year, resulting in a hiatus and lots of cancellation rumors swirling. The reason behind this? Ratings for the show were falling steeply, and in the hurry to prop the show back up, lots of quick behind-the-scenes changes were being made, including shortening Season 23 to 14 episodes. However, Jonathan Powell, head of Series and Serials at BBC, was still not pleased with Doctor Who's metamorphosis in Season 23, becoming ever more critical of the show's writing and direction. Tensions flared between Eric Saward and John Nathan-Turner, resulting in the former leaving the show before August of 1986. Not too long after, Colin Baker found out he wasn't going to be returning to the show, either...he was fired, barely three years after being selected for the role.

Is It All Over?

1987 through 1989 heralded what appeared to be the dying breaths of Doctor Who as a television series. Even though Sylvester McCoy was portraying the Seventh Doctor by this time, ratings were still falling as the show's plotlines got ever further away from its sci-fi beginnings. It appeared that no one at the BBC believed in the show's ability to keep its audience anymore; by the end of 1989, BBC had quietly let go of McCoy and his co-star, Sophie Aldred (who portrayed Seven's companion, Ace).

Yet even among the flickering embers, there were a few sparks of hope remaining. One of them was in the person of Philip David Segal, who was working with Columbia Pictures at the time--in July of 1989, he made his first call to the BBC inquiring about a co-production deal for Doctor Who. Though the BBC would ultimately decide to put the co-production offer on the back burner, Segal was undeterred, even when the Doctor Who production office officially closed its doors on August 31st, 1990. This was certainly not the end of his efforts to revive the show he had adored since childhood...
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Robin
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Sun Jun 19, 2016 12:40 am

New articles for this week:
- Eight in the Audios, Books, and Comics
- A Bittersweet but Triumphant End: Night of the Doctor

Let me know what you think of these! Also let me know what you think of the draft of the article I included in the previous post--is the paragraph form easier to read and absorb than the list form, or vice versa?
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