Aliens, time machines, supernatural beings, and exploring new and exciting planets is just another day at the office for Doctor Who. In fact that’s what the show is widely known for, as well as being one of the oldest running Sci- Fi shows to date after its premier on the BBC back in 1963. But here’s the thing……I mean I would classify Doctor Who as Sci-Fi.Wouldn’t you? It just seems like common sense! But you may be surprised to hear that some arguments are begging to spring up over the Internet questioning the true authenticity of the shows genre. Many claim that Doctor Who is no longer ‘Sci- Fi’ but fantasy.
After hearing this strange theory I decided myself to delve online to see what this was all about. I found an interesting article posted back in July 2012 on ‘Doctor Who Tv’ and I have to say he brings up some good points. He mentions that any Whovian (doctor who fans) wouldn’t deny that the show is ‘founded on the basis of science fiction’ but as you get deeper and deeper into the show you see that Doctor Who is not purely Sci-Fi as many of us would think. ” They try and explain it in detail, like any good science fiction story would, but in the end it requires the viewers to have a willing suspense of disbelief and accept the fact that this is possible within realm of the show” this is where the element of fantasy comes in. “While Doctor Who does have science fiction as it’s basic genre, it doesn’t always stick to it, nor constrict itself exclusively to it.”
This article makes a good point. In the many years I’ve watched the show I have never really given much thought to the mix mash of other genres that appear throughout it, and now thinking about it there have been a few.But what struck me the most when reading this article was not its argument about the authenticity of the Sci- Fi or Fantasy in the show, but a much wider question it raised about the authority of genre at all. Can anything ever be purely one genre? Or is everything a mix of a variety of genres, combined into one big ‘ salad mixing bowl’ as the article put it.
To be honest its not something I’ve ever really though about. We often label films and Tv shows casually as a ‘Drama’ or a ‘Comedy’ without giving much thought to the underlaying themes that are at play within them. An excellent example is Downton Abbey, which is predominantly classed as a Historical Drama show. This is not a genre that suits everyones tastes, however this show went on to become one of the most popular at its time, reaching new audiences all across the world and engaging people who confessed to not being the biggest Period Drama fans. Why is this? Because Downton Abbey was a mix of several different genres, it was a comedy, a mystery, and a drama series wrapped up into one. It was an observation of the different relationships and dynamics people had that lived in the Abbey and this is what people found interesting. It was always so much more than ‘ a typical period drama’, and it was this assortment of different genres and themes that made it appeal to such a wide range of people, making it successful
Another great example is the Harry Potter franchise which is famously known and advertised as a fantasy film. However much like Downton Abbey there are so many other genres and themes at play within the series besides fantasy which we never seem to identify. Harry Potter is also a comedy, a drama, a mystery, and possibly even a thriller in some parts. Yet when we think Harry Potter we instantly think fantasy. Here is a hilarious example of how with a bit of editing, and a change of music the Harry Potter films can look like a Rom Com, proving that there is more than just Fantasy at play in these films.
By the looks of it it seems that nothing can be purely one genre. We would get bored if we just stuck to one theme throughout a TV or Movie. It’s the mashup of genres, ideas and moods that keep what we are engaging in interesting and refreshing. We even see this reflected back in our own lives. We too have the highs and low of everyday, the drama and the comedic moments, perhaps even moments of magic and pure fantasy. Our lives are never one ‘genre’ so why should they lives we choose to engage with in our media expected to be?
Alex Waters. (2015, August 23). Doctor Who- Series 8 Intro Credits OFFICIAL. (Video File). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rmsldy5lbUw
Doctor Who Tv. (2012, July 6). Is Doctor Who Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Retrieved from http://www.doctorwhotv.co.uk/doctor-who-more-than-just-science-fiction-35556.htm
Kinglog. (2011, September 22). Downton Abbey Season 1- Trailer (Video File). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOM3y4P8TEM
RobLive7. ( screen name) (2012, October 28) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince ( Teen Comedy Trailer) in HD (Video File). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LADCeI28YQ