2MTL 63: Solving the "Dalek" Dating Controversy

So the Series 1 episode "Dalek" is set in 2012. But "Doomsday" and "Journey's End" happened before them. HOW CAN WE RECONCILE THIS CONTRADICTION???

Very easily.

(Also check out my early thoughts about the Time War and continuity in 2MTLs 8, 9 and 10.)

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  1. I have to say I disagree with you on this one, Chip. I'm more inclined to accept that history was changed and that Dalek never happened. But I also say that Dalek having never happened is by no means an "invalidation" of it, because the alteration of history is just what sometimes happens in Doctor Who.

  2. Chip,

    I want my money back! The podcast promised to solve the dating problem.

    Instead your solution is to ignore it!

    I can however see your point – on the one level Doctor Who can be enjoyed as an adventure show, story by story. Don't worry about the multi-story continuity/dating problems. Just watch the stories.

    But the fun of continuity is trying to work out the supposed problems with dating. To try and work out just which version of Atlantis being destroyed in Doctor Who history is the right one. Just when did those pesky UNIT stories take place? Why is the 10th Doctor only 900 years old?

    Though it wasn't your intent, you were quite dismissive of a fans attempts at making the stories all fit together. Using the Superman example is just as bad as using The Simpsons; those two franchises don't use the ongoing timeline approach to storytelling. They have their own internal continuity within a story or series, but then they reboot/reinvent. Heck, the Simpsons doesn't even try to do it – Bart has been eight years old for twenty years, and Ned Flanders in that time has lost his wife and spent time mourning her.

    Doctor Who is a series where (hopefully) things can all make sense when bumped up against each other. And with problems like Dalek its fun to try and be able to work them out.

  3. Tom: I can definitely see that, and I think that was also Katrina's point on your Bridging the Rift episode.

  4. Trevor: I apologize, but I have already spent your money. If it's any consolation, the Merlot was overpriced.

    One of the hazards of my format — the Twitter of podcasting — is that I can come across as more dismissive than I mean. With the exception of, say, fans who personally attack other fans or creators, I have no beef with anyone appreciating the show differently than I do, and I certainly hope I didn't sound like I was mocking folks who like playing with continuity. The Simpsons clip is as much poking fun at myself — I was that guy, only thinner, several years ago.

    For the longest time, though, especially in the Marvel comics universe there were massive attempts to make 25 years of stories entirely internally consistent — not just by No-Prize seeking "Marvel Zombies" but by the company itself. Tony Isabella wrote a column in an old Justice Machine comic — and with that citation you see just how much trivia I've accumulated about that fandom of mine — complaining about the Marvel problem of nothing being thrown away. Doctor Doom inexplicably develops hormones for Storm of the X-Men and it never gets thrown away. Lately that's changed (for the better, IMHO), as both major superhero publishers have been more willing to jettison things that didn't work. Now if they'd just write stories that catered to more than JUST the graying comics veterans and tried to GROW their audiences, but that's a rant for a different podcast….

    If fans can make it all work out and that increases their enjoyment of the show, more power to them. In my case, I prefer to apply a bit of purposeful cognitive dissonance and, yes, ignore the contradiction. Or more properly, put on my "behind the scenes" hat and say, Rob wrote it this way, Russell later contradicted it, and move on.

  5. I'm with you on this one, Chip. I'm sure it's not gone un-noticed that 'Dalek' featured @ no. 15 in DWM's mighty 200 which is interesting. 84% of people polled seemed to think it's 'invalidation' is, umm, invalidated. Or maybe the dating 'issue' just didn't occur to them. Or they chose to think like you or me that it was set in the year "&Jj9*$" and that fact didn't (and still doesn't) marr their enjoyment. If people want to insist it doesn't exist then it's position in said poll means that DWM 413 featured 'The Mighty 199' and Seeds of Doom was no. 15. In fact possibly the latest DWM doesn't exist and by reading it nor do you or I.

    Dr Who is full of continuity mishaps and anomalies. It's maybe fun to try and make this 'problem' work (parallel world, localized time-eddy, a side-effect of the Time War, Van Statten being a little intemperate with his mind-wiping device, etc.) but if you are like me (a committed fan and moderately intelligent person) it's kind of interesting but ultimately it just doesn't matter that much.

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