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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who thing of the day: how to relax and learn to love continuity errors

Doctor Who facepalm Matt Smith

Andrew Blair at Den of Geek! loves Doctor Who’s continuity errors:

Growing up and having a greater understanding of a show comes with a downside. With great power comes great responsibility. And also a sense of impotent rage. Why can’t I watch Pyramids of Mars now without just enjoying an old man being brutally crushed by Sutekh’s gift of death to all humanity? Is it because I know Sarah’s jarring line about coming from 1980 is coming up and I won’t be able to stand the confusion in my mind?

No, really, he does:

Fortunately, after the initial grieving period for the passing of an episode’s internal logic, fans are remarkably good at coming up with their own explanations for things. It is international law that at this point I should make a joke about humans seeing patterns in things that aren’t there (We’re working on getting Paul McGann to provide an Audio Descriptive version of Den of Geek. Just, y’know, slowly). This is why I quite like continuity errors. They don’t have to be an annoyance that ruins an episode, rather a lateral thinking puzzle where the reward is a fundamental satisfaction with your newfound universal order.

Oh sure, the universe is full of holes and has been rebooted a couple of times now, but that’s not where the fun is…

Rather than tiresome faults, continuity errors can be embraced as a challenge. Obviously we don’t want to have too many of them (unless the BBC wants to put fandom on a retainer as ‘Creative Consultants’), but if they do exist it’s more fun to make sense of them. All of them. Even the ones that blatantly and deliberately contradict the others. Let’s be grown-up enough to notice them, but childish enough to have fun with them.

That’s how I feel about the matter as well: it’s fun to think about how continuity errors aren’t actually errors at all but merely hints to other adventures we just haven’t heard about yet.

(Do go read Blair’s full essay. It’s just amusing in its own right.)

Do you embrace contuity errors as a dare thrown in the face of fandom? Or do facepalm them away?

(If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)



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