Complex TV

p. 265: DOCTOR WHO

Even when the storyworld is not realistic in the least, mapping chronology and calendars can be a crucial orientation strategy. Probably the most complicated time line on television is the “timey-wimey” playfulness of Doctor Who, especially in the title character’s ongoing relationship to fellow time traveler River Song, as discussed in chapter 4. Fans have created numerous visual representations of the bidirectional relationship experienced by River and the Doctor, attempting to match up their experiences and chart the key moments in their story, a strategy that the characters themselves perform on the program by syncing up their journals and memories whenever they meet. Of course, this is not the exclusive domain of fans, as the BBC produced its own orientation material with a video chronicling River Song’s story, narrated from her own temporal perspective. This paratextual video highlights how orientation is an element of both official and unofficial production and can be presented in a range of media, not just graphic time lines or textual lists.

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