I went to the opening of The Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff on Friday. No, nobody special showed up to the opening, lame I know, but it was still a fun day. Oh yea, and before someone goes off about this not being about movies, deal with it because you either get this or another Kiarostmai review and who even reads those things?
Before going to The Experience, I had lunch at Eddie’s Diner, the diner from the episode The Impossible Astronaut. It was okay. I can say I’ve been there. But it’s a diner. And covered with the kind of gaudy American artifacts I tend to not like looking at. The burger was rather tough. Not particularly impressed.
However, The Experience and museum were a lot of fun. What I liked the most about it was watching all the kids run around and react to what was going on. It’s a reminder that the show is very much aimed at kids and there were tons of them of all ages. Running around when one of the costumed monsters popped out, some were dressed up as Doctors, one kid wore a Dalek costume, another had a fez.
The Experience was a lot better than I thought it would be. They did some clever things and Matt Smith brought just as much energy to the video footage it as he would to an episode of show. Also, the writing was quite funny, mocking the silliness of the plot which is that the Doctor had gotten trapped in the Pandorica again and that it happened to be the same color. He also called the people going through the experience “shoppers.” Mint.
Daleks made their appearance, as did the weeping angels. *shudders* The experience had a good atmosphere, being dark helped hide the fact you’re walking through some fairly bland and square rooms. There were also a couple of rooms in The Experience I could have spent a while exploring, particularly the library and I’m sure that’s an incentive to get people to come back as the room highlights different things for different groups.
After you go through The Experience, you get to the museum, which consists of costumes, set decorations and props from the show, most of them original. Nothing revolutionary for a museum about a TV show, but they had a lot more stuff than I expected, highlighting characters and monsters I honestly didn’t think I’d see in the museum. Also, for a museum, it’s super modern, as in you could probably count the number of pre-2005 Doctor Who things to see on both your hands. I was hoping to get more history of the show and maybe some comparisons and contrast between the eras of the show.
Still, since I didn’t have much of a knowledge of the past shows, as I imagine most people don’t either, it does cater to the kind of people who would go to this exhibit: fans of the current Matt Smith run. Still I would have liked to see other Doctors have ore of a presence, maybe as cameos inside the Experience. However, reading about some of the previous Doctors does make me want to go back and watch some of the 70s era episodes. They probably won’t be as well-constructed as the new stuff, but I could see it being compelling.
Afterwards, I visited the plaza where a lot of Eccleston and early Tennant stuff happens, like the rift in time and a number of conversations between characters. I had forgotten about the pillars all over the place and seeing the theater house in person is just magnificent. The show can’t convey how big it is in person. And that was my July 20th, 2012.
Oh yea, I did get a t-shirt out of the shop because t-shirts are cool. Here’s a picture of me wearing it:
What? You didn’t think you were actually going to get a glimpse of the face of James Blake Ewing, did you?