Friday, 17 January 2014

Owl City and Doctor Who

Spoiler Alert: 
The following post contains various spoilers for different episodes from the new Doctor Who Series (1-7 and Day of the Doctor) and assumes a knowledge of the events in them. There is also reference to the 1996 Doctor Who film. I have tried to avoid spoilers for that, but have included some pictures from it.

It's probably a good thing that I have no skill at making "fan videos", because if I did, I'd be really busy right now. I was given my second Owl City CD for my birthday last month (All Things Bright and Beautiful), and the more I listen to it, the more it seems to make a perfect soundtrack for montage videos of Doctor Who clips. I had already observed this tendency with my other Owl City CD (Ocean Eyes), but this one (probably because of it's implicit Space theme) seems even more conducive to the task. Since I'd rather not insult anyone with my poor video skills, I give you instead a written summary of how each song might be depicted using scenes, stories or characters from Doctor Who. (Any one who feels so inclined is welcome to attempt making these videos for themselves - just make sure I get to see them when they're done.)

The Real World

It doesn't require much imagination to see how this song could be represented with Doctor Who imagery. The line "reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there", could be applied to either the Doctor himself ("I've been running all my life"), or various of his companions trying to deal with the schism between the fast-paced adventure world of the Doctor and all of time and space, and the far more mundane, but in some sense "more real" world of their every day "doctorless" lives.

But I think the story best fitted to this song, is that depicted in the episodes Family of Blood and Human Nature. In this two-parter, the tenth Doctor makes himself human in order to escape a terrifying alien enemy family that are after him. In making himself human, he tricks even himself into believing a false backstory about his life (forgetting all his past life as the Doctor). As the disguised human John Smith, he falls in love with Joan Redfern, a nurse at the school where he teaches. When the deadly Family of Blood trace him down despite his disguise and attack the school, his companion Martha (who does remember when he was the Doctor) tries to get him to forsake his new-found human life and love and go back to being the Doctor so that he can defeat the enemy. It is an enormous struggle for John Smith to give up his imaginary life and return to (what seems to him a far less pleasant one, even if it is the real one).

Deer in the Headlights

I confess I didn't really like this song at first. That is until I found a video someone had already made using (part of) the song to tell the story of the Doctor and River. I realised then that it describes her perfectly, although if I were to make a video, I would do it a little differently.

For the most part, a video to this song should contain scenes from Let's Kill Hitler. Selected scenes from The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon, would also be suitable. For the first verse, the bit in the parking lot would need to be of Mels driving through the corn field and the line that about "pepper spray" of her holding up the gun to the Doctor.  The reference in the second verse to "black eyes and bloody nose" could be of River slapping the Doctor in The Impossible Astronaut or alternatively (and for greater emotional effect) her knocking him out in Forest of the Dead (just before she takes his place and sacrifices herself for him). In fact, there's probably time to fit both scenes in. The line "put your sunglasses on" would have to be the scene from Time of Angels where she jumps out of the Byzantium (wearing sunglasses) and is rescued by the Doctor. The line in the chorus "I never knew love could shine so bright" can make use of the scene where she saves him in Let's Kill Hitler, or the wedding kiss in Wedding of River Song.



This one seems pretty obvious. In fact it was probably this song that gave me the idea of making Doctor Who comparisons in the first place. There are two obvious things you can do with this song: use footage from Blink and tell the story of Sally Sparrow, or do a piece on Amy: either using scenes from Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone or make a farewell piece for her and Rory using Angels Take Manhattan. A combination of scenes from some or all of these would also work, and in fact, this has been done to great effect if you search on youtube.

As I was thinking over it, and listening to the song, however, it occurred to me that we could take this in a completely different direction. The angels in the song are meant to be more like traditional angels (and therefore good) and I was thinking of Madame Le Pompadour's title for the Doctor, "my lonely angel". I think someone could make a good video using this song to tell the story of the Doctor and Reinette. The line "flicker in the fake fireplace" could be accompanied by one of various scenes involving Reinette's fireplace. The reference to a note on the rocking chair that says "I've been dreaming of the life I once loved" could show the Doctor reading Reinette's final letter to him. "I believe there are beautiful things seen by the astronauts" could show the scene where the doctor pulls of the droid's disguise and comments on how beautiful it is.



Dreams Don't Turn to Dust

The obvious choice for this song, would be the episode "Amy's Choice". Not only is this episode about two different dream worlds (of which Amy thinks she has to choose which is the real one) but the decisive moment is when Rory is literally "turned to dust" by the creepy alien plants that have taken over the old people. Scenes in the sleepy countryside of Upper Leadworth, as well as of the freezing sun would fit in well with this song. The line "when diamonds boast that they can't be crushed" should show the doctor getting rid of the psychic pollen that caused the dreams in the first place. And the line "river blue", would have to have some sort of reference to River, even though she isn't in the episode.



This song makes a good soundtrack for River and the Doctor's crazy relationship. What it needs is lots of random fast-paced switches between various fun and crazy scenes of the two of them. Some lines/clips that could match up:
  • "princess in her flower bed" - River as Cleopatra
  • "the jungle" - the Doctor and Amy reading River's rock inscription
  • "kamikaze over me" - River falling on top of the Doctor when he rescues her/River jumping off the building
  • "captain on a snowy horse" - the Doctor smashing the window on Arthur (okay, that's got nothing to do with River, but it's the right scene to use)
  • "not afraid to die alone" - River's death scene
  • "Midnight melody" - Well there are various options for that



The title of this song is enough to warrant a Doctor Who video and there are numerous things we could do with it. While I was listening, however, to the bit where they repeat the word "galaxy" in the background, I thought it would be cool if someone rerecorded a parody of the song that used the word "Gallifrey" in place of "galaxy". With that (and even without it) it would make a fairly good backing track to Day of the Doctor, for obvious reasons. Lines that would be appropriate to the story-line are "tick off the time bomb" (showing the moment/bad wolf/Rose), "kiss the planet goodbye", "when the galaxies crossed and sun went dark" and "saving grace of the galaxies [or Gallifrey]". Since the song refers directly to God in some places, I wouldn't mind a few other words being changed to make it more appropriate, though for the most part I think the original words could be kept.


Hospital Flowers

At first I couldn't think of anything for this song, and then I thought it might make a good soundtrack for the 1996 Doctor Who Movie with the (7th and) 8th Doctor and Grace. I know not everyone has seen the movie, so I won't go into specifics, but the fact that the line "Grace had finally found its way to me" appears in it makes it work well. And also, there just aren't enough 8/Grace videos out there.


Alligator Sky

There are two versions of this song (with and without a rap part). Either way, it needs to tell the story of someone "left behind" while another goes off on an adventure with the Doctor - "Where was I when the rockets came to life and carried you away into the alligator sky?"

So I thought it would make a good video of Donna and the Doctor's adventures from the point of view of Wilf, her grandfather. "I used to catch a cab on a Monday now now the taxi's selling lights on the runway," could be accompanied by scenes of the Doctor trying to rescue Donna from the runaway taxi in the TARDIS from Runaway Bride. Another option for this song would be to tell Mickey and Rose's story from Mickey's point-of-view (something I haven't seen yet).

I've left a couple of songs from the CD out because I couldn't come up with really good "stories" for them. The Honey and the Bee, might make a good Donna/Doctor video showing various scenes from their adventures. Plant Life might be fun to use for a montage of all different scenes from different episodes (the Doctor and Rose waltzing from The Doctor Dances, scenes from Hide or Army of Ghosts for the ghost references and scenes from The Runaway Bride for the reference to spiderwebs). I've struggled to come up with anything good for Yacht Club.

If you aren't familiar with the songs, you should be able to find most of them on You Tube. If you aren't familiar with the episodes - what are you waiting for? ;-)