More whining about science fiction technology

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I've been watching the new Doctor Who lately. Generally, I'd say it's pretty solid, with much higher production values and a hipper tone than the old series. One thing that drives me nuts, though. The Doctor is constantly getting into various kinds of scrapes where he gets trapped, chased, etc. The Tardis seems to be extremely resistant to nearly all forms of attack: why isn't it fitted with some sort of homing device so it can jump to him and get him out of trouble. I appreciate that this wouldn't always work—maybe it can't work across different time periods for instance—but you'd think a simple radio transmitter with a homing beacon wouldn't be out of the question. Obvously, there are plot reasons for this; Gallifreyan technology is already way better than practically everyone the Doctor encounters, and if he could just jump out of trouble, where would be the drama? [Though it's worth noting that Iain Banks's Culture novels seem to do just fine despite a similar set of technoligical gap challenges.] Still, it would be nice to have some explanation of why this isn't possible.

Bonus gripe: the Roku also has the original Hitchhiker's Guide TV series. In the second episode where Arthur and Ford get picked up by the Heart of Gold I saw a bank of computers with what sure looked like a 9-track tape drive. You'd think the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation could do a bit better.


That may look like a 9-track tape drive but the BBC TV version of the Hitchhikers is still a 100 times better than the recent hollywood movie so I am willing to overlook that.

(have it on laserdisc)

(the doctor frequently "just jumps" out of trouble so I don't really understand this gripe - most of the drama stems from his companions)

The last three episodes I've watched have al had the Doctor trapped in some inconvenient location which he could have gotten out of by having the tardis jump to him.

The Doctor doesn't have access to the full technology that produced the TARDIS - he cannot repair all the faults that occur in it, still less extend its functionality. That's why it still looks like a 1960's police box.

It emerged at the end of the last series that the TARDIS was intended to have a larger crew - so the sort of remote control that would be so useful to The Doctor's one or two-person operation would not be a requirement if it was normally left manned.

Banks does manage to create drama in a very-high-technology civilisation, but doesn't interact with 21st century Earth in the process. (Except once, in the short story The State of the Art, which I haven't read).

The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation maintains an entire planet for its complaints department. You can doubtless write there to bitch about the tape drive.

Having just watched Voyage of the Damned again, it sure would have been convenient if he'd had a wristwatch or something that he could use to call the TARDIS to him. Jeez, in Blink he was able to get a DVD produced from the past that activated the TARDIS and not only moved it in space but in time also.

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