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Changing Times & Dr. Who

A couple of weeks ago I had "purchased" a Dr. Who comic book from Amazon (purchased, but free then).  And as I was trying out such a book on my Kindle to see how well it works (and it did work fine, although the zooming took a bit of practice). It made me think of a few things, first was that the comic book was based on the last three Doctors versus the "older" Doctors. I had watched one of the older shows from the 1960's just recently with Tom Baker and do enjoy the new ones Saturdays on BBC America.

While thinking of the two and the involved plot points in the modern show reminded me of Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter. And I think that this show is another good example that the premise of that book is true. Things today are more complicated that those from that "Golden Age" of television. I think that Dr. Who is an excellent resource for comparison as it is a show that has been in broadcast for the last 50 years.

So to test this I access two of the scripts, one modern Big Bang (2010), and one older The Brain of Moribus (1963). Next I stripped everything that wasn't dialogue and did word counts.  The Brain of Moribus was a multi-part episode that was shown on BBC America over three hours, and The Big Bang on the same channel was shown over one hour. Which gives the following (not counting commercials):

The Brain of Moribus: 8454 Words (3 hours) = 2818 words/hour = 46 words/min
The Big Bang: 4641 Words (1 hour) = 4641 words/hour = 85 words/min

The world has changed and us along with it. Today's students, their reading, behaviors, and such are different that previous generations, as I'm sure that those were also different from before, but lately we have been changing pretty fast. Just something to think about while reading or enjoying some TV.


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