Wasp-Men From Mars isn’t being created in a vacuum. It’s inspired by many of my favorite sci-fi and horror films and TV shows. I will take a look at a few of them and how they inspired the short. Today’s inspiration: Doctor Who.
I knew about the original Doctor Who series when I was younger but I had never seen it. I wasn’t interested enough to seek it out. It was only when SyFy (or was it Sci-Fi at the time?) started airing the new series in 2005. I loved how the concept of an alien traveling through space and time allowed the show to tell almost any kind of story, and I loved Eccleston’s version of the Doctor, who was scarred by war and trying to find something worth living for. I’ve followed it through all the different Doctors, different companions, and different show runners. It’s had its highs and lows but I’ll keep with it as long as it goes.
I eventually went back and viewed the earlier episodes but I couldn’t really get into it. I liked the Doctors I saw but his companions didn’t register as real characters for me. The best thing Russell T Davies did was to make the companion the character the audience identified with and add family, friends, and drama that the original companions didn’t have. They had a life outside the Doctor and their decisions to travel with the Doctor impacted their lives for better or worse. The new companions have their strengths and weaknesses, but all came across as people, even if there were hurdles that had to be cleared first (like treating Clara as a mystery).
The new Who still has monsters, of course. These monsters sometimes had connections with the characters, through real relationships or thematic ties. But sometimes they were monsters for monsters’ sake, and that was still cool.
While writing Wasp-Men from Mars, I recognized that I was creating something that was like an episode of new Doctor Who, but without the Doctor. There’s the cool alien monsters determined to conquer Earth, but there’s also the humans dealing with their own issues in the center of it. Teenagers with teenager hangups and obsessions. In this case, issues of entitlement and struggles with sexuality. The Wasp-Men have a thematic tie with the teens, one I won’t reveal right now.
The Wasp-Men themselves come out of the new Who tradition of updating old monsters to make them scary. People were scared of the original Daleks and other aliens, just like I’m sure people were scared of 50’s aliens, but the audience has changed and they’re not scared of those old monsters anymore. Doctor Who had to update their monsters to make them scary again, and we’re going to take the idea of the 50’s Cold War insectoid alien and try to make it scary again.
Oh, and there’s running. These stories require a lot of running.
There’s more that I can write about how Doctor Who has changed in the 21st century, but I want to keep these articles relatively brief. I love the show, I love all the Doctors, and I hope Who fans loves Wasp-Men From Mars.
Next up: Tremors