05 December 2012

Network Posters

Doctor Who poster

When the poster was created for the conference, it included all the doctors and companions in one large network. That type of network is fine for certain types of analysis. But what we want to do eventually is look at how each of the seasons of the Doctors compare to each other. The following graphic displays the friends network broken down per season.

Doctor Who Social Network et. al

NOTE : Since this graphic was produced there have been slight alterations to the network. Nothing major that will affect the following discussion. But at some point the graphic will need to be updated also.

Depending on exactly what is being discussed will dictate the style for the network image.


  1. Oh wow. Not used to interpreting this type of graph, but am I right to assume that what we are seeing is that the new series features vastly more interconnected characters compared to at least most of the early stories (actually, given River Song's story alone, that is entirely believable)? Though I notice there was an uptick during the Pertwee years - is this because of the UNIT stories?

    1. Sorry, misread: uptick during the end of the Pertwee years that went up through some of Tom Baker's run. Looks like the various classic Doctors had a lot of fluctuation, but that the new series is consistently more interconnected? This is... interesting. I have seen some arguments that as we gradually gained the ability to review shows (first from syndication, then from home video, now from the internet as well), and as we gained better and better communication with each other (as fans), that shows have consistently and rapidly gotten more complex - in every aspect, from plot and mythology to character interactions. And if I am reading this chart right (I might not be, I'm not sure!), this bears it out, at least for Doctor Who.

      First place I saw this argument made was in the book "Everything Bad is Good For You" - a rather interesting little book where the authro basically argues that entertainment in general such as film and television and video games, has all gotten actually less stupid, no matter how trashy it seems, simply because it has gained and continues to gain complexity. And by complexity, the author simply seems to mean "things you have to keep track of, remember, and puzzle out". He points out that even trashy reality TV like the Apprentice requires you to keep track of lots of interpersonal scheming and alliances, and forget about nighttime soaps like Desperate Housewives - the number of character interwinings, plot threads, etc., is huge. Of course, it's easier to have such "complexity" when you can watch something over and over again or discuss with fans what you missed - and the complexity does not build forever; he points out that music seems to have reached peak complexity, having been recordable for several decades. He also argues though that requiring that much effort to fully "get" something - even and especially with multiple viewings/listenings and noticing new things - stimulates the brain a lot more than people give it credit for. To some extent he makes his argument fairly well. If nothing else, I certainly buy the idea that today's technology and fan culture both make it much easier to have "complicated" shows, including and especially lots of timey-wimey... stuff. ;)

    2. The posters here will remain as they are for now. The main thrust is to work through all the character analyses to the present. When it's all through, then I will be able to update the larger poster.

      I have read parts of "Everything Bad is Good For You". Really interesting concepts. Programs really are more complex than ever before. I feel that in addition to the complexity we see in the scripts, it's also due to advances in how the programs are put together. Reading much of the background on how Doctor Who was produced gives an excellent view of how the stories were viewed. And frankly, I'm surprised at some of the complexity I've run across when the show was designed as "Theatre on Video".

      I'm currently reading all the reviews I can for Ben & Polly's adventures and ran across some reviews about "The Power of the Daleks" and just how absurdly complicated David Whitaker's plot lines were for something from the sixties. Probably as complicated, if not more so, than many programs on today.

      We get to watch, and re-watch, these episodes and have excellent reviews and/or the scripts handy. People in 1967 did not have that luxury. They also had to wait a week between episodes which also makes things harder to put together.