Doctor Who: Looking Back at 47 Days #5 – Modern / Pop Culture References

A few years ago, I did a series of 47 daily posts which all looked at different questions related to the revival series of Doctor Who, focusing on stuff I like about the show. I worked out a series of questions in advance and then picked one randomly for each day. I’ve decided to revisit the series to see how my opinions may or may not have changed, and to bring two of my daughters into the discussion, since they are both big fans and have recently finished watching the revival series.

Why 47?  It’s my favorite number.

Why Doctor Who?  It’s my favorite show.

Why the modern day Doctor Who only?  Simply because I remember it better.

Why are we looking back at this now? Because we’re on a 47 day countdown to November 23, the birthday of the show.

Check out Day #4 here

When I first did this, it was September 2016, which means we were in between the Christmas episodes The Husbands of River Song and The Return of Dr. Mysterio, and were yet to debut Peter Capaldi’s last season on the show. Jodie Whittaker was even further away. How has the passage of time, evolution of opinions, and three further seasons of the program impacted my opinions?

Today is Day #5, and our theme is…

Favorite Modern or Pop Culture References

One of the ways that “modern” Doctor Who has distinguished itself is by being much more liberal than its predecessor with its modern pop culture references. In the old days, the Doctor seemed a bit oblivious to the actual culture of the viewer, but these days he / she is much more all-knowing. David Tennant’s 10th Doctor especially seemed particularly clued in to the trends of the 21st Century.

My choice last time:

The “iPod” playing Tainted Love by Soft Cell during The End of the World

The big deal about this is that it was so close to the beginning of the whole revival series, and it was so different than anything that I remembered from the classic series–it just made me realize that the show had evolved and grown with the times.

My choice this time?

I almost picked the bit in The Christmas Invasion, when a newly regenerated Tenth Doctor accidentally quotes The Lion King in his face-off against the Sycorax leader.

But then my daughter picked hers, and it reminded me of one I’d forgotten about…

The Doctor talking about Superman and Spider-Man in The Return of Dr. Mysterio

The Return of Dr. Mysterio was the 12th Doctor Christmas special from 2016. It’s jam-packed full of comic book references. In particular, the Doctor looks at a Superman comic and talks about a secret he’s figured out: that Superman and Clark Kent are actually one and the same person! Young Grant tells him that everyone knows that, and the Doctor retorts that Lois Lane doesn’t, and she’s a reporter!

Shortly thereafter Grant talks about Spider-Man getting bitten by a radioactive spider, and the Doctor talks about how he should have gotten sick with “vomiting, hair loss and death.”

It’s good stuff.

What do my daughters say?

Johanna (16) couldn’t really remember anything except the Tainted Love one that I mentioned before. But then she mentioned the way that Missy sings the song Mickey but with her own name in the lyrics–it happens in Death in Heaven and is then referenced again in The Magician’s Apprentice. She didn’t know that that was a pop-culture reference, but when I told her it was she picked it.

Laurelle (14) was the one who remembered The Return of Dr. Mysterio and all its references to superheroes and comic books. But she couldn’t remember a specific example that she liked best.

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