Binge-Watching River Song

Since River Song is coming back for the Doctor Who Christmas Special (hurrah!), I thought a bit of re-watching was in order. My sister had already suggested watching the episodes from River’s perspective, so that’s what we decided to do. Selecting an order is more difficult than it might seem, though, because there’s so much wibbly-wobbly happening that you can’t just watch them backwards by air date.

We decided to start with the episode when River met the Doctor (and was old enough to know it was him), then continue from there following her adult timeline. I used the timelines on Comparative Geeks and Tardis Wikia as references. What follows isn’t the exact order we watched them in, but it’s the one I’d recommend after re-watching them all.

Warning: watching in this order will leave you emotionally compromised by the end of “Forest of the Dead.” Like, even more than usual when watching Doctor Who.

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Caramel Popcorn and Doctor Who

Caramel Corn and Doctor Who. marissabaker.wordpress.comI found this amazing Homemade Caramel Corn recipe a couple weeks ago on a blog called Gimme Some Oven. The first recipe I had tried was too sticky and burnt easily, but this one is just right. The only alterations I made to the ingredients was less salt in the caramel. I also had to use two roasting pans to bake the corn — it just wouldn’t fit in one. I had them on two different racks in the oven, and switched the pans back and forth when I stirred them so the corn would be heated evenly. The recipe says it will keep for up to a week, but we’ve never had it last much more than 24 hours. If there’s any left, it will be something to munch on while watching Doctor Who.

Caramel Corn and Doctor Who.
I have no idea who the artist is, but this is a great painting. Here’s where I found it:

Since I became a Whovian, I’ve actually been looking forward to Christmas. As someone who does not observe the holiday, my previous feelings around this time of year mainly consisted of frustration with the endless barrage of Christmas music on the radio. Now, I look forward to “Whomas.” This year, however, I dread the Christmas special more than I anticipate it. I’m interested to see what kind of Doctor Peter Capaldi will be, but I don’t want to see Matt Smith leave. With his impending regeneration, I’ll have to make sure there’s a box of tissues on hand as well as the caramel corn.

Homemade Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn and Doctor Who.
don’t be afraid to let it cook on low for 5 minutes without stirring – it won’t burn

print this recipe

12 cups freshly popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels before popped)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Caramel Corn and Doctor Who.
the finished caramel

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets or roasting pans with aluminum foil, and grease with cooking spray. Begin popping popcorn.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer undisturbed for 5 minutes. Stir, then continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is a deep golden color. Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in salt, baking soda and vanilla.

Pour caramel over the popcorn and toss until it is evenly coated with the caramel, being sure to scrape the caramel off the bottom of the pot. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets or pans in an even layer.

Caramel Corn and Doctor Who.
baking in the oven

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the caramel corn has turned a deep amber color. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and transfer to a surface covered with parchment or wax paper to cool (or lift the foil out of the pans and place it on the counter). Once it reaches room temperature, use your hands or a spoon to break up the caramel corn, then store in an airtight container for up to a week.

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Optional: you can melt about 1/3 cup of milk chocolate and drizzle it over half the popcorn. It’s pretty tasty, but I didn’t do that this time because it takes so much longer to set-up and it’s messy to eat when still melted.Caramel Corn and Doctor Who.

Why The Next Doctor Should Be a Man

If you’re a Whovian, you already know what I’m talking about from my title. If you’re not a Whovian, you are probably going to stop reading right about here, but I’ll explain anyway. Doctor Who is a British sci-fi series celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The main character is an alien and he can “regenerate” instead of dying, hence taking care of the problem of recasting an actor. The 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, will be leaving in the Christmas special this year.

Okay, with that out of the way we can get to the core issue. The past 11 Doctors have been men. Some people want a female 12th Doctor. This is the first regeneration I’ve been through as a Whovian (I started watching with the 9th Doctor, but Matt Smith was the current Doctor at the time), so I didn’t know until now that this has been a debate for years. I honestly don’t think they’ll cast a female Doctor, but I’ve gotten tired of reading the arguments without adding my “two cents worth.”

Bad Arguments

First off, I’ve seen some terrible arguments in favor of the Doctor remaining male. And they’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Oh and by the way. No.

(This is an exact quote. I didn’t add a single “no” myself.) This just makes it sound like you don’t have a rational argument. Probably because you don’t.

It’s “Doctor Who” not “Nurse Who”

Haven’t seen this one myself, but I heard someone griping about it on a podcast. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you’re only argument is a grossly outdated “men are doctors, women are nurses” idea?

It’s like casting a female James Bond

Actually, I like this argument, but I admit it has flaws. For one thing,  you can argue against it pretty easily by saying Bond isn’t an alien. Although some people think he’s a Time Lord, the roles really are different enough to make this one of the weaker arguments.

Good Arguments

Okay, on to the “serious” arguments against turning The Doctor from a Time Lord into a Time Lady.

Time Lord vs Time Lady

I’ve only watched new Who (since 2005, as opposed to classic Who from 1963-1989), but I’ve read enough to say the following with almost 100% certainty: there are Time Lords, and there are Time Ladies. They are as different as male and female humans. As far as I know, the only time we know of a Time Lord regenerating as a female is The Corsair, as mentioned in “The Doctor’s Wife.” Yes, it can happen according to cannon. No, it’s not normal or likely. Gender isn’t nearly as fluid as some people like to think. And all indications are that The Doctor sees himself as a man (1:36-1:40 in this video he is seriously freaked-out that he might have regenerated as a girl), which would make a gender change as problematic for him as it is for the audience.

Bad For Business

Doctor Who is an established show with an established character. The Doctor changes personality a little when he changes faces, but some things remain consistent, including the fact that he is a madman in a blue box who travels with a female companion. Shaking that up too much risks estranging the fan base and sending Doctor Who on another 16 year (or, horror of horrors, a permanent) hiatus. While I don’t trust Steven Moffat not to cast a female Doctor so he can go down in Who history, I don’t think the BBC will let him do that.

“I don’t think I could kiss her”

This is my personal favorite. When asked about the possibility of casting a woman as The Doctor, this is what Alex Kingston said (she plays River, who’s married to the Doctor). I think there are plenty of fan-girls who would agree.

Who Should Be The Next Doctor?

To be honest, I don’t really care who they cast as the next Doctor as long as it’s truly in keeping with the character. And that means it has to be a man. Ethnicity and age don’t even matter, so long as he’s talented enough to develop his own take on the classic character. I don’t have a specific actor in mind, mostly because the actors I’m familiar enough with to know they’d be a good Doctor probably wouldn’t commit to the 9 months of filming required by Doctor Who. It doesn’t have to be someone we recognize — Matt Smith was relatively unknown when he was cast, and turned out to be a great Doctor. I’d prefer if the new actor was British, but I suppose even that’s negotiable.