31 December 2013

Are The Holidays Over Yet?

No, I'm not dead. But this has been one of the most hectic holiday seasons ever. Haven't been home like I wanted to be and that meant not being able to work on projects I needed to.

But one thing that did happen is I seemed to have crested over the ridge and am finally getting a hold of programming d3. The coding is beginning to make sense and with that knowledge, the charts are coming a little easier. There are still some kerfuffles in the coding but at least something is appearing on the screen. The last piece I did is non-Doctor Who related so I won't be posting it here but I'm looking at doing more Doctor stuff now that the mapping piece is finished.

I finished collecting references for the network analysis paper Jürgen and I are writing. It's a little slow as Jürgen took off on vacation to Europe and we won't be getting back together wil after the 17th. But that gives me time to verify the final dataset of all the important connections in the first 50 years of Doctor Who. The dataset needs to be Set in stone so if any further analysis needs to be done it will be run on the exact same dataset as the original. Those data scientists are just so damn picky...

I'm also finishing up the sonic screwdriver dataset but the d3 fixes will be a little more difficult. Mainly there's the inclusion of the War Doctor and the fact that there were three sonic wielding Doctors in one episode. That's going to make the chart fixes a joy.

Then to top it off, three books I had ordered on Inter-Library-Loan come in within a week of each other. And since I have two weeks for each on that means I've had my nose stuck in a book a good bit of the time.

But charts are on the horizon and some additional analysis will be forthcoming in 2014...

09 December 2013

Sonic Device Usage Chart

Sonic Screwdriver Usage Chart

Well, the first round of the Sonic Device chart is done. The code still needs a little tweaking but all the data is there. This chart includes all the sonic devices, not just the screwdriver, used in the 50 years of the show. I've also included everyone who has used a sonic device from all three shows, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures.


The chord chart on this page, as well as the interactive bar chart I did previously, are the types of charts I've always thought ever since I began this project and am glad that I found d3.js. I'm hoping to be able to put more of the data into charts such as this.


Hovering over one of the outer bars will make all other chords translucent and reveals only the active chords. Updates to the chart will be in the form of hover-over tooltip with more detailed information about the person or function.









I little more detail on how this particular chart came about
Some time ago I ran across some lists saying they listed all the the sonic screwdriver uses in the show. Problem was, not one of the lists matched. Not good. But it did give me the idea that it would be great to have a comprehensive list of every use. But I wondered how I might achieve that. I knew it wouldn't be easy so... I decided to scrub through every episode after Fury From The Deep to find firsthand where every sonic use was.

I didn't realize just how difficult the task was going to be.

In The Beginning
My first run through was for a video I did and it had a total of a little under 400 and went up to A Christmas Carol. But I soon ran into a problem when on a re-watching of some classic stories, I saw a few uses I had missed. Obviously scrubbing through the episodes caused me to miss some of the more hidden uses. One in particular I missed was in, I think, Parting of the Ways when Nine was examining an exploded Dalek and I caught the telltale glow near his hand. Upon stepping through one frame at a time, I realized there was a use I missed. That meant I was going to have to go back and do the entire series slower. This resulted in many hundreds of new uses. I hadn't realized there were so many.

Later on, near the end of the search, I was watching Inferno. The Doctor had taken the TARDIS console to a geothermal drilling site to use the nuclear reactor to power the console for his experiments. The console was kept in a garage and the only way in was with the sonic screwdriver or doorhandle. There was no other way in or out. Upon his return, he was in bad shape but told Liz to go to the control room to try and stop the drilling. There was a quick cut and Liz is in the control room. Another quick cut showed her back in the garage. Now, she wasn't shown to have opened or closed the garage door but the story was adamant that you needed the screwdriver to get in and out. That meant I had to include having Liz open and close the garage door twice.

It was little bits and pieces like this that helped accumulate the uses to nearly 900.

Subjective vs. Objective
Some of the controversial uses are the ones where the Doctor pulls out the screwdriver and threatens someone with it. In this list, I count that as a use same as I do if the Doctor pulls it out for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

A list such as this is purely subjective and no two people would construct the same list of uses. But this project is purely for the fun of it. Have fun with it...

07 December 2013

Networking Final

This week was the final week of the Social Networking class I'm taking. That means I haven't had much time for anything else. As with taking any final, I needed to go back and review everything from the class. Although much of the information was a rehash of what I learned while working at the university, there were concepts which were explained in different, and better terms.

Much of the information from this class will be used for the Doctor Who analysis. The descriptions of these concepts were done in a simplistic manner and these are the ones I will be using in my descriptions. That means, no math...

So after Sunday, I will not have a load of studying to do and can devote more time to the project.

I definitely need to get Jürgen the citation list so we can carry on. And that means we can actually get back into the writing portion of the project. There's also work on the interactive d3 portion of the project and that's making progress also. I'm considering rearranging my website to give it a section of its own. After all, that's the main thrust of the work I'm doing now.

04 December 2013

State of the Blog Address

With the 50th anniversary special done it is time to start work both the Doctor Who 50 year network paper and the 50 year sonic screwdriver use infographic.

The Paper
For the start of the paper, Jürgen had me find as many scholarly references to Doctor Who as I could. He says before we start, we need to know what is out there to cite. Makes the job easier later on when you need a good citation. He introduced me to a citation program, Zotero, which creates libraries of citations from web pages you find. And if there is book metadata if pulls that into the bookmark. Makes it quite simple to create a citation library. Also it can be shared between multiple people.

The next step is to write a one sentence description of each reference I found.

When that's over, we can finally start with the writing portion of the program.

Jürgen said that after two pop culture articles for Whotopia he'd like to concentrate on a more scholarly paper. One with proper citations and conclusions. Not that we didn't have conclusions in the tow Whotopia articles. And he's looking into journals which he will be able to submit it. So I'm really not sure on the time table for that project.

The Chord Chart
I've decided that a good interactive visual for the sonic uses would be the Chord Chart. I've been waffling about the style of chart that might work best and settled on the chord as I can place all the people and uses around the outer edge and as you hover over any of the exterior bars it will reveal all of the connections. Below is an example of a chord chart.



I've got the basic chart done and am in the process of getting the labels placed around the edge properly. It should take anywhere from a day to a decade. Never know when you're dealing with a programming language.

Future Essays

Articles on tap are a look at how Whether the setup of An Unearthly Child still holds true for 21st centrury Who and one I've been thinking about, Doctor Who's most Experimental Episodes. And surprise! Neither of them contains harping on how I feel about the direction of the show. Who would have guessed...

01 December 2013

Mystical Rationalizations


One thing I've discovered about Doctor Who fans is their ability to rationalize the most insane set of circumstances (probably no different than other fandoms though). This is mostly about one particular article but it's a general truth as stated by the Eight Doctor in the TV Movie. "I love humans. Always seeing patterns in things that aren't there.". It's also the reason that Moffat can get away with as much unfathomable loose plot threads as he understands that no one will really call him on it. The fans will create a set of circumstances to explain away the problems.

I will be taking things out of context as the article I'm taking them from is long. If you're interested, you can read the article in its entirety at The Day of the Doctor: Sorting Out The Time Differentials. Remember, this is from one article but it's a pandemic through most of Who fandom.

Complainers, You're All Complainers
As often with Moffat storylines, people tend to become fixated on “plot holes” and “gaps” in the storytelling. For some, it’s just a case of not being able to fully comprehend the use of time travel. For others… well they just want something to complain about.

That's what is said when some problem is pointed out in the narrative. Plot holes and gaps in storytelling are a problem and all stories should be written well even if it is science fiction/fantasy. Science fiction shouldn't give writers a reason to be sloppy. The nature of Doctor Who is entertainment but that's no excuse for bad storytelling. And on the subject of understanding time travel, how many people on this planet truly understand time travel. It's not like you can take a course on it at your local community college. Some of us do not complain just to complain. But if there are plot holes constantly popping up then people have a right to complain.


Who Cares! It's a fez
The reason why entropy doesn’t kick in is unclear, but who cares right? It’s a fez!

Who cares? is not an answer, it's a blind rationalization at its worse. It doesn't even bother to try to make something up, it just points to some iconic item and makes believe it's alright.

Of all the explanations for anything that's every happened, this is the one I have the most trouble with. Take a reasonable question and then inquire how anyone could have a problem with it cause it deals with a fez. I have nothing to say here as anything else would just be a waste of my breath.


Technobabble
As for why the Moment behaves like the TARDIS… well it is a Time Lord creation with consciousness. It’s not that far fetched that they’d both behave in the same omni-scientific relationship to time.

The show has a reputation for some insane technobabble and for Doctor Who, that's normal. Unfortunately, this has rubbed off on the fans who don't necessarily understand the term. Ah, let me try. A is equal to the Rain in Spain cause ice cream don't have bones. That about covers it...


Show Some Imagination
This one takes some imagination, but it isn’t that hard to imagine the TARDIS has a copy of the “current” calculations. After all, software is useless without hardware and it’s already been confirmed that the Doctor gets his screwdrivers from the TARDIS (at least from his later lives on), so presumably the TARDIS installs the necessary “One Size Fits All Usage” software, along with the calculations when the Doctors upgrade.

James Burke he is not and the connection is unclear. This one takes some imagination is on par with the Who Cares? reason. Although the screwdriver is not a deus ex machina, that whole idea of having the War Doctor tell them he's started the calculations and make things automagically appear in a later incarnation. And it's not the first time Moffat pulled this out [i.e., getting the screwdriver back after being locked in the Pandorica]. Sounds a lot like of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure... AGAIN!

They Forgot. Yea, Selective Memory
The most logical explanation would be that the Doctor will only forget about the lion’s share of this adventure – specifically his interactions with his other selves and what they did together.

To explain away why the Doctors won't remember this is, is... wait a minute, something logical will come to me. Oh yea, the logical reason is it's a big gaping plot hole that is completely out of place that only by having the Doctors conveniently not remember the adventure is the only way to maintain the slightest shred of sanity. This is a fan's standard way to erase a plot hole. Give a character something they need at the present time but just wave your hand and they forget when they return to their own time. I'm smelling a deus ex machina here.

What? Were You Asleep Or Something?
It was a stealth explanation, but it was the Moment who let the Doctors back in if you missed it. If you’re wondering how it was able to do it…who cares?

And here's that Who Cares? explanation again. If you can't explain it, don't worry about it. Guess nobody can be bothered to read Jason Mittell's work on narratives.


Timey-Whimy. I Don't Know Where They Get This Stuff
The First Doctor must’ve been told of the Time War by his far future self at some point in his life and started the calculations in his TARDIS. After which, he forgot about the foreknowledge. But these calculations continued to run up until they reached the Eleventh Doctor’s TARDIS. All the Doctors presumably learned of the Time War just long enough to play their part in saving it before the knowledge was deleted from their memories and history was set back on track.

So all of the Doctors had been given future information so they could participate in the future time war and then all traces of these memories would be lost once the situation was concluded. The past Doctor's got their information to save the day and then it automagically disappeared from their brains and they went along on their merry ways. Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat. This is not a good narrative, this is plain and simple sloppy writing. Better yet, every Doctor has met every other Doctor. Really, that's your answer?

Moffat Created This Solution Before He Ever Became Showrunner
The Doctors didn’t change history. It may be hard to wrap your head around it, but this ontological paradox has always been present, ever since Rose back in 2005 – unbeknownst to the Doctor – until now.

Ontological, I do not think it means what you think it means. And unbeknownst to the audience and unbeknownst to Russell T. Davies but most of all unbeknownst to Steven Moffat when be began writing for the new series. It's so paradoxical that it was unbeknownst to everyone until it happened. 8P
They didn't change history cause it was always like that. So what we viewed, what we were told, what the entire new series centered around was the lone survivor of a great war suffering from PTSD was all a myth. Well there go all my fondest memories of classic Who.

Time. Don't Talk To Me About Time
If you want a timeline, then: The War Doctor messages the Time Lords before joining his future selves on Earth. Rassilon, fearing the worst, escapes to Earth on Christmas 2009. Tenth Doctor sends them right back into the war. Doctors Assemble saves Gallifrey. This is the order in which the events take place.

I can't recall any part of the entire 50 years that could explain this one. ALl that explanation just to get out of one gaping plot hole.

After Ten and Eleven helped the War Doctor fix the whole Time War that instead of destroying Gallifrey and the Daleks, they just tucked the planet away... somewhere. Then Ten continues with his life becoming fully unaware of what transpired only to face this Rassilon character who claims to be ruling Gallifrey and wants to destroy the universe. One of two points needs clarification. Either the Gallifreyians are the good guys, not led by Rassilon, and the Doctors saved Gallifrey in order to find it later on OR the Gallifreyains, led by Rassilon, were the most evil, vile creatures in the universe which needed removed from the universe for everyone's well-being.

Pick one cause you can't have both.

This is just the tip of the iceberg on how fans rationalize the plot problems. When people ask me what I have against Moffat, it isn't that he's a bad writer. He has created some of the best ideas the show has ever seen. Moffat's problem is his inability to resolve those brilliant plots he starts. And he gets away with it because the majority of the fans allow it. In fact they encourage it but turning a blind eye to the problems.

Doctor Who will never be classed as high literature but surely the fans should be a little less tolerant toward some of his shenanigans.

28 November 2013

Charts, Infographics, and Scholarly Papers.

Now that the 50th anniversary episode has aired, Jürgen and I are on our way to do the Doctor Who network analysis paper. We needed to wait until the last episode aired in order to have a complete network. And no, the Christmas special won't be completed as it is actually in the 51st year. I know, semantics...

In our initial discussions, and reviewing some past networks, it appears there is a large difference between the pre-Moffat and the post-Moffat networks. Jürgen thinks this might be a good comparison to focus on. Another point might be the classic vs. new or the classic vs The entire 50 years. We're not sure yet and talks are still under way.

But for now, the research into actual scholarly papers is underway. This is the first thing Jürgen says needs done. You want to know what's out there already before we decide on our final course. So I'm plugging my way through tons of Google and Yahoo searches looking for any and all papers and essay written on the subject of Doctor Who. And believe me, it's probaby more than you'd think. I even found a woman in Australia who did her thesis on the Doctor.

We're also looking over journals to submit the article to. It won't be a pop culture article so Jürgen doesn't want to be constrained with doing a pop culture pieces. He wants to create a serious analysis of the show. And that's fine with me. Doing the Whotopia pieces are great but being part of a scholarly work on Doctor Who was something I originally didn't think about.

But Wait, There's More...
But the 50th anniversary also brings to a head another dataset. I will be finishing up the 50-year dataset of sonic screwdriver uses. That one will be more for the pop culture scene with accompanying charts and infographics.

I also hope to have the d3.js moving along and be able to put the material up as a interactive web page.

It all boils down to time. I'm still looking for either a full-time job or getting my freelancing started. Which ever comes first I guess.

24 November 2013

Why You Can't Trust On-Line Polls

I understand why web sites do these but honestly, you can't take them seriously. No matter how many well-meaning fans vote, there's always a group of people that think it would be funny to get the dark horse... not, the horse that shouldn't even be in the race over the finish line first.

And so it goes with Doctor Who TV's Your Ultimate Doctor Revealed Poll

Let's forgo the total list and take a look at the winner and the runner-up. This tells the whole story in a nutshell.

 photo Idonttrustpolls_zps4a539f33.jpg

Yes, that's Peter Cushing from the two movies beating out Tom Baker. Seriously, there's only one way that could have happened. A bunch of fanboys thought it would be funny if Peter Cushing would win this poll. Thinking this, they needed to garner a lot of assistance from friends and egged those friends to get other friends to vote and so on and so on and so on...

Cause really, isn't the funniest thing you can imagine on the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who is to see the non-canonical Doctor, an Earth man who invented a TARDIS in his garage, win the ultimate Doctor poll? And from the comment above his picture it appears that the surge of votes came late in the day to push him over the finish line first.

No, never trust polls on-line as there are most certainly people who would love to see something funny happen and see the impossible happen.

That's why we can't have anything nice...

20 November 2013

Dr. Seuss, The Doctor Who Edition...

And a quickie art piece before bed time. I ran across this during a web search and and instantly I read the title wrong. That meant I needed to actually make the new cover.

 photo AreYouMyMummy_zpsf6a33d17.jpg

16 November 2013

Doctor Who Friends, Family, and Best Enemies Network

 photo 07a71d98-281e-4527-87ff-1c799d0421bc_zps0ffb737a.jpg

Key :
Light blue : Doctor
Red : Companion, Companion-Lite, Associate, Family
Green : Story
Orange : Villain
Brown : Time Lord
Magenta : Famous people/God-like beings [yea, I lumped them together for this graph]
Teal : waffle [were either villain of associate depending on the episode]

Before we get to the 50th anniversary episode, I decided to do a quick preview on the network as it stands. This one charts the main characters connections to the stories they appeared in, not the connections of each character to other characters. That will be coming later. Jürgen will be creating that graph when he starts the analysis.

What You Immediately See
The above network shows just what Steven Moffat's writing has done to position his Eleventh Doctor creation directly in the middle of the entire network. He has connected to nearly every facet of the Doctor's history and that has pulled the Eleventh Doctor, as well as all involved with him, to be the center hub of the Whoniverse. The large blue circle represents the Eleventh Doctor and the large red circle represents Clara. Much of this centralization can be, even without a full analysis, chalked up to events in The Name of the Doctor when it was revealed that Clara went into the Doctor's time line and met all his previous incarnations. For the sake of brevity, as well as sanity, I made connections from Clara to the story events I saw on the screen. That pulled Clara to the center of the chart and since she is closely connected to the Eleventh Doctor, pulled his hub to the center. Thus, the Eleventh Doctor is the center of the Doctor Who network.

Moffat Now The Center of the Whoniverse?
Now some people may think that's great as it unifies everything together. Others will think that's horrendous as, well... they just don't like the man very much. Here, we are mostly interested in how all the connections fit together. And as it's known I'm not a Moffat supporter, I do enjoy the program more than any other. And the motto goes, Any Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who...

And FINALLY!
I'm in the stretch of final tweaks to the current network waiting for the 50th episode to air. All the work from the past two years will be put into use. As others got to post week after week about the show, we had to wait till the the 50th episode airs. But I hope you think it will be worth it...

15 November 2013

Little More Than A Week Away

Next week begins the countdown to the 50th anniversary shows. And with that, the last of the changes to the Doctor Who Network and the Sonic Screwdriver Usage Dataset. When those are complete and settled, the analysis will begin. The last tweaks are now deciding if anymore of the characters listed in the dataset should be removed from the ultimate Friends and Family network.

Currently, the sonic screwdriver network contains almost 900 uses of the screwdriver. I expect it to crest 900 after the 50th anniversary special. The Night of the Doctor added two more uses that I wasn't expecting.

So I'm going to post what my criteria are and if anyone has any suggestions on this, I welcome the input.

  • All the Doctors are separate nodes in the network, even when he seemingly met himself. This makes many more Doctor nodes that you might expect but it assists in keeping the networks tied together correctly.
  • People who are friends are divided into three categories :
    1. Companions : People who had one of more adventures with the Doctor and traveled with him in the TARDIS. In the Classic series it was much easier to discern. In the new series, there was more margin of error.
    2. Companions-Lite : People who had one adventure with the Doctor with or without traveling in the TARDIS. Some of the one-shot companions never saw the inside of the TARDIS but that doesn't mean they don't qualify to be a companion. A term I use is One-Off Companion. [i.e., Jackson Lake] Entries describing this term is at This Entry and That Entry
    3. Associates : People who were involved with the Doctor but not intimately even if they did travel in the TARDIS. [i.e., Madame Vastra]
  • For the most part, famous people have been excluded except if the appeared in more than one story [i.e., Albert Einstein].
  • Villains who only appeared once were automatically excluded. They were considered unimportant in the overall scheme of the network.

This is a fairly subjective list and I took many liberties in the categorizations.

If you're interested in seeing how the Doctor interacted with everyone over the past 50 years, and help me get this dataset finished, then please, drop me a comment.

14 November 2013

Night of the Doctor

 photo EighthDoctor_zps2fab12d9.jpeg

By now I figure everyone has seen this minisode. But this means much more to me in regards to the Doctor's Friends and Family Network and the Sonic Screwdriver Usage dataset.



What This Minisode Means To The Datasets
First, it adds uses to the Eighth Doctor's smattering of uses... make that one use, of the sonic screwdriver. When the network is sized by uses, it's difficult to find the Eighth Doctor on the network. At least now, he'll be slightly larger on the screen and in the metrics.

Second, if connects another classic group, The Sisters of Karn, to another Doctor. Each time a new connections is made, the network pulls ever so slightly tighter. When Jürgen and I did the first network in 2011, both the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors clusters were very visible. At present those two clusters, though still separate, show signs of being pulled closer to the main body. And knowing that the Zygons are in the 50th anniversary, there's another link helping to tighten up the network.

The 50th Anniversary
After the showing of the anniversary special I will clean up the dataset and send it to Jürgen and he will decide what the best set of metrics will be for an analysis.

The Final Analysis
I will be posting selected parts of this analysis as he would like to turn this into a paper for submittal to a respectable journal. I like that idea but that also means I will be unable to let loose the full analysis till after we get it published [if at all].

13 November 2013

BBC Challenged over ownership of TARDIS



Such a grand idea to endear yourself to the fans of the show by demanding payment of every use of the blue box since your father's death in 1977. The timing of this is nothing short of a grandstand for attention. Two weeks before the 50th anniversary, the family of Anthony Coburn are now demanding to be paid for every use of the BBC should stop using the image.

I believe the London Metropolitan Police attempted this same maneuver back in 1998—and lost and even after the appeal ended up paying the BBC for court costs.

Not that I wish the family ill, but with the self-centered timing of this demand may they understand the possible consequences both legally and how much the fans will really, really, dislike them from now on...

Doctor Who News.

10 November 2013

I Got Accepted to...

...be a contributor to WhatCulture.com. Most of my time lately was cleaning up the article I submitted for review. That article has been accepted and I then got to work making it presentable.

So What Does That Mean?
It means that some of the essays I would have posted here will end up on the WhatCulture site. With time constraints, it's difficult to produce enough for two sites.

Will There Be New Material Posted Here?
Yes, I will still be posting stuff to this site as well as links to what I'm writing on other sites. The material posted here will be material that is in a format different than what they like. They prefer those lists of things style posts rather than long, involved essays.

Why Post On WhatCulture?
It's mainly for the exposure. I can usually get one to three hundred reads on my blog. There should be quite a bit more on a site like WhatCulture. SInce I'm not really planning on making a living with this, it doesn't matter where I post it. So going over to a higher traffic area makes sense.

05 November 2013

Damn That's A LopSided Chart...



Something interesting I just found out about coding with d3 on a blog. You have to remember to rename you svg container to a new name or else any other entries looking for the same ID will stick their code in all of them. Got so confused I accidentlly overwrote the last entry and had to delete it. Now there's a lesson learned...

After a little work I have gotten the interactive sonic use chart to a usable condition. Click on the buttons atop the chart and it will display the number of uses for each Doctor. Click the All button to show the entire range. Each of the Doctors are colour coded and the translucent chart in the background shows the entire chart as you transverse the individual charts.

Things still in the works are the TV Movie both the Seventh and Eighth Doctors used the screwdriver. I'm investigating the creation of a stacked graph for that season.

Any Analysis Here?
There is no analysis of the chart currently. Time was spent on the learning of d3 and getting the proper numbers of the dataset into the code. Now that the code is working, I will be checking with my colleague and figure out some interesting metrics to run.

Doctor Who Sonic Uses

Click a button—Choose your Doctor

















About This Chart

When you click a button, the chart will transition all the bars except for the Doctor chosen but it will leave a translucent background image. Since it is a comparison chart, the background image will give you a point of reference. The chart is also set up for the 50 year period, not per Doctor and not per season. For this chart I had the years start out, more of less, on the 23rd of November [The date of the first episode]. But sometimes the year started sooner— and sometimes later. The years marked with 0 mark the years which the screwdriver was not used during the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctors.

And other inconsistencies include David Tennant's third season which consisted a full set of 13 episodes and a Christmas special and the four specials done in the following year. In this chart, these specials were separated into their own grouping as they all were shown in the succeeding year. Likewise, Matt Smith's season occasionally straddled more than one years and his three seasons ran from April 2010 to December 2013 [a total of 44 months].

Still a Working On...
Clicking on the Seventh and Eighth you will see a single use in 33. That is The TV Movie where both the Seventh and Eight Doctors had one use each. Clicking the All button will display a 2 for that year [Correction: it only displays one after the revamping of the data structure]. Attempting to locate coding for stacked bar charts.

That Bar Chart Certainly Makes It Clear...
By far the most noticeable item is the disparity between the uses in the classic time and the uses in the new series. Everyone knew it was used more in the 21st century but the chart really show how much more. But when you look at it on this bar graph, it's a little more heavy-handed than originally thought.

Future Improvements
One addition item I'm looking at is turning the buttons into toggles.

29 October 2013

Did I Take Another break?

I guess real life got in the way once again. And working on a social network analysis class. And attempting to find another publication/web site to submit our next article to. And looking for a new job. Yea, life is a bit hectic right now.

As much as I enjoy posting to my own blog I'm well aware that this is not a universally read blog. We have been submitting articles to Whotopia but after the review of Adventures in Space and Time they will be taking a break. *sigh*

I did get contacted by one blog in the UK and am still waiting to hear what will be coming down the pike.

Jürgen and I had an article committed to WhatCulture. It's in the final stages and will be going out any day. If accepted I'll link to it from here. If not accepted might shop it around elsewhere. If not, I'll post it here.

But I will continue to post the majority of the smaller essays here unless/until something drastic changes... or I get a job which demands all my time... or the apocalypse happens.

I have a few things in the early stages which keep getting put aside. Probably because I don't have an absolute timetable. That happens when you're not working a regular schedule. That just means I need to be more attentive, maybe mark things on a calendar so I will publish on a more consistent schedule.

25 October 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Looking For More Sonic Uses

The Trials and Tribulations of Looking For More Sonic Uses

Ever since I started this project people have asked where did the data come from. Was there a list somewhere on the internet detailing all the uses. That would have been nice if that were the case but alas, no such list existed. No, it basically just turned into a brute force method of actually scrubbing through all the episodes. And even at that, some of the uses were so quick that they evaded my initial review.

 photo Nearly50YearsofSonicUse_zps195b62cf.png

NOTE : The tweaking is still in flux and some of the categorizations could still be changed before the finalization. But in general, the numbers are fairly stable and the chart shouldn't see much alteration.

From the chart you can see that Open is the top ranked use. Not Open Door but Open Anything. It is what most people suspected. But I was surprised at how closely Scan followed. This particular function was boosted in the ranking from the Eleventh Doctor's love of scanning everything he sees.

The Second Time Through
But there was a nagging thought. Had I caught all the uses the first time through all the stories or were there still some missing. My count was at 792 at the beginning of October 2013 and there was still some time to take a look at afew stories before putting this to bed. Since the bulk of the counting was my responsibility [Jürgen is the data scientist] I began a re-watch of some of the episodes I suspected had additional sonic uses.

Re-Watch of Inferno
I began the re-watch with a thought, "Did I catch all the uses of Liz using the screwdriver as a door handle in Inferno?" So I went back and re-watched Inferno. Yes, there were instances I missed. But, I found out to my chagrin, there were uses that weren't even shown on the screen. The garage where the TARDIS console and Bessie were stored was accessible only by use of the sonic screwdriver used as a door handle. In episode seven, after the Doctor returns from the alternate dimension and is dazed and out of commission, Liz tells the others she needs to go to the control room. She gets up and the camera does a quick-cut to Liz in the control room. After she completes her business there another quick-cut back to the garage. Seeing that it was completely necessary to use the screwdriver to open and close the garage door twice, these four instances needed included even thought none of those uses were shown on screen.

I began to wonder what else I had missed.

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop
I was curious about Old Amy's sonic probe in The Girl Who Waited. On the re-watch I saw a very quick clip of young Amy at the door of the room with multiple doorways. The door closes and she turns around. Originally I didn't see that she was actually holding the sonic probe which she had obtained from old Amy.

The Big Change For The Sonic
The craziest moment of these re-watches had to be in Day of the Moon during the firefight at the end of the episode. My assumption was the Doctor was merely creating a distraction for River as she mowed down the Silent with her blaster. But after closer scrutiny I found a clip of 1-3 frames clearly showing a green beam emitted from the sonic screwdriver striking, and collapsing a Silent. Upon a frame-by-frame review of the sequence I found the Doctor taking out multiple Silents which meant that each time he fired the sonic, it was counted as a particle beam shot whether he took out a Silent of not.

I'm currently at...
The sonic use count now stands at 852. That's 60 more than I had at the start of October when I thought the dataset was finished. Sure, people remember most of the most obvious and well know uses. But it's the little one during the course of an adventure that are forgotten—until someone goes through every show and finds them.

It Never Ends
So the process continues for more of those not so obvious uses. This will continue up to the showing of the 50th anniversary so there's time to find even more undiscovered uses. And if the trend continues I will find a few more to add to the list. This process has been going on for a while, but not as quickly as I'd like. I will not have the opportunity to re-watch every single episode unfortunately. I'm just one person working on this project and my relevant other and the house demand a certain amount of time.

But as the 50th anniversary approaches I are attempting to pin down the definitive list that will be used for future analysis. And after watching the 50th-year episode, and listing all the sonic uses from that, the final analysis of the screwdriver's use.

24 October 2013

Everything Wrong...

...with the Doctor Who Movie in Five Minutes or Less.

I'm not sure if you've seen this but I still get a kick out of this. It's the highest rating I've ever seen for a movie on that site...

23 October 2013

Sorry, I've Been Busy—Have Some Networks.

Busy, yes but most of it comes from complications in my real life and nobody here want's to hear about those problems. What you want is Doctor Who and right now, specifically stuff about the sonic screwdriver. Okay, here's the good part of my business.

New Networking Software
After I departed Carnegie Mellon my colleague told me I needed to wean myself off ORA cause it's not a free program and anything we do might just be claimed by individuals in charge of the program. So I'm taking a course using a new program called Gephi. It's a little harder to use and contains less functionality but it will still make pretty networks out of my datasets. Here are the sonic networks for the Ninth and Tenth Doctors. The sonic paths travel from the Doctor node [green] to the What did it seem to do [purple] to the acoustic sciences [red] and finally to the physical sciences [blue]. This is the dataset I've been working on lately. And you can see there is still tweaking that needs done on the labeling but it's pretty much done and I'm just waiting on the 50th anniversary episode in order to finish my 50 year sonic data visualization.

 photo nine-sonicnetwork_zps75fb477c.jpg

 photo ten-sonicnetwork_zps6af7ee9d.jpg

I will be producing one of these for each Doctor for the first round. Companions, and other characters, will be getting something else in the future.

And what is this all for? It all comes back to that one statement I've made previously that, "Open door is not a function of the screwdriver, it is merely a result of some acoustic function." These, and the charts that follow are my attempt to put all the uses into a logical order. And seeing that this subject matter is completely subjective I understand that many people will have differing views on the matter and would, quite frankly, have done it completely different if it was their project. To wit I say, That's nice. Let me know when your charts are finished. I'll gladly take a look at them like the Doctor Who fan I am.

More on the dataset and networks coming up as work progresses...

19 October 2013

They Say The Sonic Is Harmless...

For decades it's been said that the sonic screwdriver is harmless. And for decades, that was the case. But it appears that could be changing. Sure, it's been used to threaten people in the past, but it's always been an indirect threat. The Fourth Doctor,for instances, threaten to detonate the explosives he had placed on Davros' travel machine.

 photo DestinyoftheDaleks_zps65a06e9a.jpeg

But that used to be the extent of the non-harmless nature of the sonic screwdriver.

But in the relaunch, that seems to have changed. Not immediately, but there are instances that point to it's change. The most prominent instance was when the Tenth Doctor and Rose first encountered the Ood in The Impossible Planet. As the Ood were advancing on them the Doctor pulled out his sonic screwdriver and waved it at the Ood in a threatening manner. It lite up and buzzed, but nothing really happened. My first thought was he was only trying to get them to stop by making it seem like he might use it.

 photo TheImpossiblePlanet_zpsfb2d4206.jpeg

But it was not the way it would stay.

When Matt Smith came in as the Eleventh Doctor, we see the first instance of the sonic screwdriver being used as an actual weapon. In Cold Blood the Doctor, on multiple occasions, shoots the weapons out of the Silurian warriors hands. The action is directed at the weapon, and not the Silurians, but it is still actively being used as a weapon. But at this point, it still does not damage to any living entity.

 photo ColdBlood_zps01e9a28e.jpeg

But where the sonic screwdriver finally crossed the line was in Day of the Moon. During the final battle with the Silent, The Doctor and River were fighting back-to-back against the enraged Silent. During the first viewing I thought the Doctor was only waving it around as a distraction while River shot the Silent with her gun.

River: What are you doing?
Doctor: Helping.
River: You've got a screwdriver, go build a cabinet.
Doctor: That's really rude.

And right after he says this, he shoots down one of the Silent.

 photo DayoftheMoon_zps1041bdfd.jpeg

It's at this point that the sonic screwdriver can no longer be called HARMLESS!

NOTE : And this also relates back to The Gentrification of Doctor Who showing how Moffat felt the need to use a typically American shootout scene where the heroes are surrounded by baddies which is, weirdly enough, set in America.

16 October 2013

Screwdriver Update

Another revamp
Sometimes this project can get so convoluted. Once again, I'm looking at the best way to organize the data to give me the best possible display. This approach will try using the standard terminology people think of when talking about the screwdriver functions then directing the graph to show the acoustic styles that could explain them. This time I think it will work the way I originally thought it should.

More Uses Found
And while casually going through the list I like to periodically check a few things by actually scrubbing the episode again. This time was to make sure that the number of times the Liz opened and closed that garage door were counted correctly. Found I had missed a few of them. A couple were on screed for such a short time I actually needed to watch parts of the episodes to get it straight.

Then there were the implied uses for Liz. In episode 7, after the Doctor has returned form the alternate universe he mumbles something about reversing the pumps. Liz finally gets what he means and bolts off. The next scene is Liz in the control center taking care of business. When she done she races out of the control room and it cuts back to the garage.

What that means is that her opening and closing the door, twice, were never shown as it is required to get in and out of the garage. And because I'm attempted to make this as correct as possible I put those in.

In Time For The 50th
I'm working rather hard to clean up all the uses I have in time for the 50th anniversary. As soon as I view that and have collected all the uses there work will begin on the infographic and the article itself.

13 October 2013

A LIttle Update

Been a hectic week here in Real Life. The end of the summer means a ton of work in the garden and that, unfortunately, takes me away from my writing and art. But i have another infographic and article in the pipeline and it's a continuation of the sonic screwdriver material we've been doing.

The New Infographic
I have described how the so-called physical science uses of the sonic screwdriver can be explained in acoustic sciences. But now it's time to see which Doctor, or companion or villain, was the first to make the screwdriver do some of those various functions. It's commonly known that the Second Doctor was the first one to unscrew a screw but who was the fist one to actually scan something. That seems to be what Eleven is best know for but he wasn't the first. We've seen it used as a flashlight, a tool for building and repairing equipment, and even tuning into someone's brain.

So I'm putting together a graphic to navigate through all those uses and show who did what first!.

We're putting together a companion article but since Whotopia is taking a break for a while, we'll be looking for another magazine/web site to send it to. If we don't find any takers quickly I'll just post it here.

Classic Who Episodes Found
I just downloaded my copy of The Enemy of the World from iTunes. It doesn't seem to have the nest reputation but it was one of the stories I was always hoping to see. So I'm happy. The only thing that would have made me happier would have been if Power of the Daleks had been found. But I'll take what I can get since it's two Troughton stories previously unseen in 45 years. And I'm only watching one episode a day rather than gobbling it up in one sitting. I want to enjoy this a little bit at a time. Not often you get to do that since many of us have seen the classic multiple times.

10 October 2013

Missing Doctor Who Episodes

Every fan has their favorite story they'd like to see found in the latest lost the BBC is going to reveal. ANd this time it appears to not be a hoax. At least I hope not. My vote has always been to see The POwer of the Daleks. From the audio it felt like Troughton was at his best. I took a poll that asked which story readers would like to see the most and guess what came up on top?

 photo missingepisodespeoplewanttosee_zps78a3e5ef.jpg

Go head and vote. What's the harm...

The Telegraph | Doctor Who: the missing episodes

A New Program—A New Chart

I had previously said that I would have to wean myself off the program I was using at Carnegie Mellon as it is not open-source and has a pretty hefty price tag. And as Jürgen says, I need to be able to post whatever I do without having to worry about any repercussions about using a program that isn't free. So I'm embarking on the use of Gephi. I was going to start using Pajek but the MOOC I'm taking has all the work in Gephi.

So I started working on another part of the dataset. I want to design something to show the first use of each of the acoustic functions. Since I needed to practice with Gephi I thought this might make a nice network.

 photo sonicnetwork-131009_zpsdf438a70.png

This is by far different than my last one [and the one before that]. This dataset has been getting tweaked for the past few months. Every time I learn something new about one of the sciences, seems like I need to make changes in the dataset. But I feel it's coming to an end and some real graphs can start being produced along with a general analysis of the situation.

So if I disappear for a couple of days it's usually cause I have my nose stuck into the computer trying to either create the graphs or write up what the graphs have told me. Either way, I often lose track of time. Or maybe real life just got busy and the job search heated up. That definitely takes priority.

I will be passing this off to Jürgen and see what he has to say about it.

05 October 2013

The Gentrification of Doctor Who



Gentrification : The restoration and upgrading of deteriorated urban property by middle-class or affluent people, often resulting in displacement of lower-income people.

So what do I mean when I say The Gentrification of Doctor Who? Let's rearrange that explanation a bit. The restoration of a deteriorated TV show by people who used to be fans but are now running the show, often resulting in displacement of older ideals for something that is bright, shiny, and new.

The Change
Yes, The show certainly has changed since coming back in 2005 and the changes are immediately visible. I, and the many classic Who fans, were surprised at the look and feel of our beloved favorite show. We couldn't believe the BBC was actually spending money on our show, that made us feel good. But little did we know just how much longer we could actually still call it, Our Show.

Early Doctor Who was a sometimes unpolished mess. When you're dealing with a no-budget show you come to expect it. Monsters had an unnatural look (but you didn't mind). The scenery was set in a studio most of the time or in a quarry (so we used our imagination). And the special effects (when there were used) were generally so-so (so why bother). But we who loved our British sci-fi cult show and ignored the masses as they laughed at us. Generally, it was the message behind the show we loved. The Doctor, with a companion or three, took on some of the most deadly challenges and in those very early days the danger was mostly local problems.

Then after the wilderness years, onto our screens came Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Doctor; Britishness with so many British references. As an American who has watched all the British shows I could, many of these references still went over my head and I had to look up many of the jokes I didn't originally get. But that was part of living in the Whoverse and I think that's why a vast amount of Americans don't like British shows. They don't get the jokes.

I Thought It Was A British Show?
Then a Funny thing happened after David Tennant took over as the tenth Doctor. Something that made some of those snickering masses take another look at the show. And they saw something they liked. Looking back I can see what it was. In Tennant's first series they had begun the gutting process of the Britishness from the show. Yes, there was no mistaking it was still British, but not as much as Eccleston's series or classic Who. And this became favorable to more fans worldwide as most were previously disposed to looking down on it. And the inhabitants of the Whoverse thought this was a good thing. More viewers was good.

By Tennant's second series the world seemed to have caught Tennant-fever. Not Doctor Who fever, that was just a side benefit. The mass effect seemed to point directly at David Tennant. By the end of Tennant's third (plus 4 specials) series, the show had spread more than any old fan could have imagined. Now, the premiere of a new series was broadcast on the same day as it was shown in Britain.

When I look back, there's a dark cloud that began looming over that time. I encountered a few classic Who fans that said the Doctor had become too human like, too knowledgeable about the day to day workings of the human mind. After all, the Doctor is supposed to be an alien. For myself, he gave the impression of a slightly manic James Bond.

How It Changed
But the bigger, and potentially worse, problem I saw was the change in story telling style. Having been brought up on the slower, 4-6 parters which took weeks to unfold, I began to recognize the change that was reshaping Doctor Who. The show had gone from a standard British serial to a Hollywood-style procedural and it had to cram not only the story, but place-setting it into a shorter version. At first you could see the difference when the British version was 55-60 minutes but the American version was 42 minutes. What oh? What did they cut out? As the Matt Smith era began, it seemed like there was now only one version. The one that would fit neatly into any TV network around the Globe. This is when it was painfully apparent that Doctor Who had gone from a quirky British cult show to a Hollywood knockoff procedural show.

So what is one of the factors that leads me to this conclusion and just where did this all stem from? First let's take a look at where this all began and go back to the Jon Nathan-Turner [JNT] era. JNT was the first of the fans to obtain a position of power in running the show. Russell T. Davies was third following Philip David Segal, the force behind the 1996 movie. So JNT was loving his show but not doing it very well. JNT wanted the show to survive so much, he stayed on when the BBC said they'd cancel it if he left. This was a career killing move on his part. But the start of attracting new fans by change started there.

Where Are We Now
So, where does the whole gentrification thing enter for the 2005 series? The new fans, who had never seen the classic show enter the Whoverse expecting much more from their entertainment. The last two decades of CGI and production values elevated what they expected from their TV shows. I have talked to many of these people who have watched the classics and enjoy them. I have also encountered near fans which denigrate the classic show as not worth their time. It's too slow. The sets are too wobbly. The acting is crap. And so on… All they want is their new show cause, in their words, "The classic shows aren't as good as the new series."

And there begins the process of gentrification. I have seen this cause rifts on Doctor Who forums having segments of fandom become alienated toward one another. Many new fans are sanctimonious about how much better the new series is than classic because everything is so much better now. If the special effects aren't epic movie level they're disappointed.

Summary
So is the gentrification of Doctor Who a good thing? Depends on who you ask. The fans who took up the show in the last eight years say it's fantastic and many say are glad it's not that crappy old 20th century show (though some new fans embrace the shows' roots). Fans who grew up with the classic show mourn the loss of something that will never be regained (though some feel that's a good thing).

I feel the show has reached more people than ever before by sacrificing part of its soul. Not its entire soul as it's still the most quirky, genre-hopping show on television today. But there's no doubt, it's made a deal with the devil. Some people feel that was necessity in order to keep it on the air. Maybe it was. Do you think JNT would have struck up the same deal given the opportunity? I believe he would have. In the end I'm just glad to have some version of Doctor Who on the air, even if it isn't exactly the version I'd like to see.

Any Doctor Who is better than no Doctor Who.

If anyone agrees or disagree I'd love to hear your opinions and how you see the change.

04 October 2013

Artist = Mathematician


In order to make pretty pictures there's a need to learn more math. It's all part of the process. That means I need to turn to my cohort-in-arms, Jürgen, for help. He does have some specialized knowledge in that field and does all that networking stuff for a living.

In programming languages there's often code to set a domain (finding the minimum and maximum numbers in a set) and the range (setting the upper and lower limit to display. In those fancy math terms it's called normalizing. i.e., your numbers range from 5 to 280 but you need to scale them from 0 to 10.

I know that the area of a circle is Area = PI * r2 and I needed it to scale up on a set of values for a table I'm building that will compare the physical sciences to their acoustic counterparts. There wasn't much math in art school. Well, there used to be no math in art school as it was mainly putting paint on canvas. But with the advent of all the programming that graphic designers are expected to do, math has become a much larger subject. But that's a different story.

Anyway, the maths I didn't have was converting that to scaling areas. So Jürgen, being the helpful genius he is, quickly gave me the needed maths for Excel in = SQRT(A1 / PI()). Nice! Now all my values scale up properly.

And why do I need to do all this math stuff? Cause Illustrator doesn't really do that sort of thing (at least I don't think it has that capability). So when constructing networks and graphs in Illustrator it's necessary to manually size the circles to reflect the numbers in Excel.

If I could only get the hang of d3.js I could let that handle all the maths as it does contain a domain and range functionality...

30 September 2013

Sonic Offenders—By The Numbers

 photo tenhighestsonicwriters_zps0bfe735f.png

Everyone knows that in the new series, the sonic screwdriver might be a bit over used... just a little. But the closest anyone gets is, "Moffet writes too many sonic uses for Eleven." or "Davies never let Ten put the thing away." But is it really true that these two are the worst of the bunch? Or could there be other writers which are more horrendous? Merely counting the number of uses is only one aspect of this problem and doesn't reveal the whole truth. Not only do you need to count the number of sonic uses written but you also need to take into consideration just how many hours/minutes a writer submitted to the show. Ahh, you need their ratio of uses/{story time}.

The dataset uses the writers from the shows Doctor Who [classic and new], Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. All sonic devices from all these shows are included [i.e., the Doctor's sonic screwdriver [et. al.], River's sonic screwdriver, Ms Foster's sonic pen, Sarah Jane's sonic lipstick, Jack's sonic blaster, etc.]. It does not use the Master's laser screwdriver [it should be obvious why]. A complete article and list will appear in a forthcoming entry. Don't you love coming attractions.

So maybe they are the worst offenders and maybe they aren't. I invite you to Take a look at the numbers and then decide.

The Charts

Let's start with a simple one, the one everybody normally thinks of. That is, which writers are guilty of writing excessive numbers of sonic screwdriver uses. Of course we know the answer for the top two slots—Davies and Moffat are a given there.

Top Ten In Writing Sonic Uses

Top Ten Offenders of Sonic incidents
Writer# sonic uses writtenFailures
Russell T Davies1709
Steven Moffat16715
Phil Ford742
Gareth Roberts463
Chris Chibnall460
Mark Gatiss311
Toby Whithouse264
Helen Raynor224
Neil Cross192
Stephen Thompson180

The top slots are populated with writers from the new series. Seeing that when the show came back, the sonic had an even bigger comeback. Christopher Eccleston in 10 stories/13 episodes had as many sonic uses as Tom Baker [the Fourth Doctor] had in all seven of his seasons. But this chart really doesn't tell us much except that many of the writers for the new series are, in essence, screwdriver crazy.

Davies tops the charts due to the totally excessive use of the sonic lipstick used by Sarah Jane. But then again, all the writers on SJA were over-active lipstick users...

Most Prolific Offenders

So what do you need to know in order to find the most prolific offenders? The number of uses is useless without comparing it to some other reference point. It needs to be charted against something to show whether a writer's number of uses is out of whack. This can't be the number of stories/episodes because stories/episodes are different running length and in the case of this analysis, two-parters are considered as single stories, as are the multi-parters from classic Who. No, stories/episodes won't do. Instead, it was decided to work with the total amount of time that their writing was shown on screen. That removes the problem of the classic Who stories be three, four, six, or even twelve parts. Time is time no matter how many stories it encompasses.

So writing a lot of story time with lots of uses is where we're headed. So I calculated the amount of time each writer contributed which enabled this next table putting the numbers from the first table [number of sonic uses written] into perspective.

Top Ten Prolific Writers
WriterHours of show written# sonic uses written
Russell T Davies36.85170
Robert Holmes [C]29.369
Terry Nation [C]25.1613
Malcolm Hulke [C]24.3310
Steven Moffat21.20167*
Bob Baker [C]15.2815
Dave Martin [C]13.6811
Terrance Dick [C]13.235
Gareth Roberts12.9846
Phil Ford12.5474

[C] denotes writer for classic Who

* I expect this to change as of 23 NOV 2013


NOTE : The above table has been reordered to show descending order by number of story time written.

Ahh, that seems to change things quite a bit. Davies and Moffat is still at the top but six of the other slots are filled with new people, many of the writers from classic Who. I find it interesting that Russell T. Davies wrote only seven more hours than Robert Holmes yet Davies' sonic use number is over 18 times larger. It's nice when the numbers tell their story.

The number of classic Who writers also shows how much of the show was contributed by classic Who writers. Are you surprised by the amount of story time contributed by Terry Nation? And how many of you recognize the names Bob Baker and Dave Martin? It's surprising that those two actually wrote more than Terrence Dicks. Being a script editor was not factored in to these calculations. If it was Robert Holmes might just be most prolific writer.

But even this doesn't necessarily tell us who the biggest sonic offender is. We need to do another calculation on this information first.

Highest "Sonic Uses/Storytime"

A big consideration has to be just how much story time did each writer contribute compared to the amount of sonic uses they wrote? I had the hours each writer contributed, and yes, it was a massive undertaking but necessary for this analysis. And it wasn't just the stories In the new series there were many other little tidbits, especially during Moffat's reign. So the TARDISodes from Ten's first season and all the little Minisodes from Eleven's time. I was surprised how much it actually tacked on to some writers.

So after all the times were compiled I was able to get an accurate measurement of who might be considered the worst offender by finding out the ratio of story time written / number of sonic uses.

Ten Ten Offenders Uses/Time
Writer# sonic uses writtenHours of show writtenMinutes / sonic uses
Neil Cross191.480:04:41
Clayton Hickman10.080:05:00
Stephen Thompson181.520:05:05
Phil Gladwin50.480:05:45
Neil Gaiman151.530:06:07
Toby Whithouse263.160:07:18
Stephen Greenhorn121.50:07:30
Keith Temple60.750:07:30
Steven Moffat16721.20:07:37
Mark Gatiss314.50:08:43

Moffat still reigns as writer the most uses but with the number of hours of story time he's written, story time/sonic, his use ratio is actually a lot lower than you might think. I know for all you Moffat dislikers out there, this isn't what you want to hear. But there are the numbers. Seems like Neil Cross, with a ratio of a sonic use for every 4 minutes 41 seconds of story time is our worst offender. Moffat is almost twice that ratio clocking in at one use for every 7 minutes 37 seconds. That's still pretty bad, but you can see there are eight writers with worse scores than Moffat. As much as it saddens me to say, Moffat is by far NOT the worst sonic offender.

Highest Failure Rate

And just because I had the data available, I figured I'd find out who was the most prolific writer in terms of having the screwdriver fail. Well, we have to go back to the early days of Who to find Malcolm Hulke. He is not the person who would have come to mind to top this chart, but you never know. He is the only writer from classic Who to appear on this chart.

Highest Failure Number
Writer# sonic uses written# of failuresFailure %
Malcolm Hulke [C]10220%
Helen Raynor22418.2%
Toby Whithouse26415.4%
Steven Moffat167158.9%
Gareth Roberts4636.5%
Russell T Davies17095.3%
Neil Cross1925.3%
Mark Gatiss3113.2%
Phil Ford7422.7%
Terry Nation1332.3%

[C] denotes writer for classic Who


So once again Moffat does not achieve the number one spot ending up fourth. But then again, I never remembered the Doctor's screwdriver failing that much in the episodes he wrote. Still, fourth position is still in the top ten...

And In Conclusion

So what did I learn while compiling the information for this dataset? I learned that this information was not to be found all in one place. I needed to watch [or at least scrub through] every episode which could have had a sonic use. It needed to be compiled and finally beat into submission till it gave up it's answers.

So what did you learn? Given the numbers shed some light on the facts about the Doctor's screwdriver I hope you learned something too.

In the weeks ahead I will be putting more charts and graphs together and, hopefully, a few more networks to give this more of a visual display. Cause it's always easier looking at pretty pictures than columns of numbers.

Till next, take care.