Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Book Review: Doctor Who Psychology (2nd Edition)

How does an immortal deal with death? What can an ancient Time Lord teach us about real human nature? Why does the Doctor say he and Freud “got on very well”? How do the Daleks and Cybermen reflect concerns about losing our humanity? And what new challenges loom ahead when the Doctor regenerates as a woman?

Hailed as the “most successful sci-fi series ever made” (Guinness World Records), Doctor Who has been a cult-classic for more than half a century. And though time may not be the boss—Rule 408—as times change, so too do social norms and psychological challenges, which have paved the way for a new kind of Doctor who can appeal to the modern viewer.

Revised and updated for our changing times, the second edition of Doctor Who Psychology: Times Change explores the alien in us all. Travis Langley’s fascinating in-depth collection delves into the psychology behind the time-traveling Doctor in his many iterations—as men and women—as well as his companions and his foes. With a foreword by Third Doctor Companion Katy Manning, an introduction to the second edition, and new interviews with actors who have played Doctors new and old, Doctor Who Psychology: Times Change travels through the how and why of Who.

This updated edition will be published November 7, 2023. Turner Publishing Company provided an early galley for review.

I managed to make it through my college years without taking a single pyschology courses (my liberal arts credits mostly went towards literature and creative writing electives). Needless to say, what drew me to this book was mostly the intellectual property angle of Doctor Who, a show I've watched since the late 1970's.

Turns out, this was a fun way to look at the various aspects of the mind and human behavior through the use of familiar characters and story lines. Each of the essays/chapters are well written by very qualified professionals from the field of psychology. The exerpts from interviews with cast members also are enlightening. I enjoyed the analysis on the Weeping Angels as well as the Briggs-Myers scoring for each of the Doctors.

For those who like both psychology and Doctor Who, this will definitely be a must-read.

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