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...

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