Vlog 04.23.2011 – Tears for Strangers

Earlier this week marked the one year anniversary of the death of Robotech architect and visionary Carl Macek, and this past Tuesday Doctor Who and The Sarah Jane Adventures star Elisabeth Sladen died from cancer. These two facts put me in a melancholy mood, and I decided to reflect on the passing of these two major figures from two of my favorite entertainment franchises and the nature of the way fans mourn. A lot of thinking out loud here, and I’d be curious what your thoughts are on the subject.

The sixth series of modern Doctor Who begins today in the U.K. and North America. I’ll have some thoughts up on that tomorrow, and then it’s on to another week of Robotech, as a defiant Khyron and Miriya needle the battle fortress, we spend a day in Rick Hunter’s head, and our heroes are defeated not by Zentraedi, but by orders from headquarters.

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Spoiler: He doesn’t actually die.

Lordy, the trailer at the end of part two of this week’s second THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES actually has me tempted to watch next week. Love a good “everybody’s disappeared” plot, unless it drags out too long — and given the two-half-hour-parts format of the show, it’s not going to. Plus, the robots look cool. You know me. I love me some cool-looking robots.

As for the second half of “Death of the Doctor,” well …

Jo and Sarah Jane, back in the TARDIS as the Doctor distracts himself.

The Doctor seems to have a hard time looking back even when his past is standing right next to him. Even when he still calls them friends.

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“This song is ending, but the story never ends …”

The last time Sarah Jane Smith laid eyes on her time-traveling friend the Doctor he was standing grimly outside his TARDIS, in the midst of making his “victory lap” to visit his friends and help them all out one last time as the man they knew from four years of journeys through time and space. The look on her face as he entered the TARDIS told us that somehow she knew what we all knew at home; that the man with the spiky hair, the sideburns, and the long coat would soon die, and be reborn as … well, who knew, then? A younger fellow with a strange face and floppy hair, sure, but what would he be like?

Nearly ten months later, we the viewers at home know that the Doctor is all right; less cocky, less angst-ridden, more at peace with his unique place in the cosmos, but still continuing his crusading joyride through time and space, fighting monsters and saving people and entire civilizations with new friends by his side. And now, while his ongoing story takes a break, it’s time for him to let those he left behind know that his story, indeed, has not ended.

Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith and Katy Manning as Josephine Jones.

The Third Doctor's longest-running companion meets her successor on-screen for the first time in the latest episode of the latter's self-titled show, THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES.

Unfortunately for the Doctor, it seems he’s been trapped on some wayward red-hued junk-strewn planet, and a race of creepy harp-playing vulture puppet undertakers have decided, with the help of a stunningly gorgeous UNIT colonel, to tell two of the Doctor’s oldest and dearest friends on Earth that, in fact, the Doctor has been killed — hence the title of this story, “Death of the Doctor.”

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