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'Doctor Who' Confidential [Part 1: TV]: Pop Culture's Secret Time Lords Exposed!
It could happen at any time, and most often does when you least expect it. You are watching television, seeing a movie, playing a game, or reading a book. All of the sudden it hits you:
"That's a Time Lord!"
Suddenly, all the pieces of character-building background now make sense!
While Time Lords may have first appeared in Doctor Who, we can now see that they've infiltrated nearly every corner of pop culture – and for some time now.
As any Doctor Who fan could tell you, Time Lords are an ancient alien race from the planet Gallifrey. They have the ability to travel through time and space in a special craft called a TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) that is bigger on the inside. While they appear humanoid, Time Lords have two hearts, special abilities to restrict respiration, telepathy (in limited cases), and an increased ability to heal via coma. But the most remarkable aspect of a Time Lord? Their ability to regenerate when damage to their body is too severe. After regeneration, a Time Lord has a new face and body, as well as slight changes in personality, but all of their previous memories.
So to pass the time as we slog through "The Year Without Who" and with the aid of the keen investigative skills of the intrepid team of Bleeding Cool reporters, I've compiled an expose on "hidden Time Lords" who have been living under our noses for year ("Operation WHO (Tar)DIS?").
Part 1: Television
John Munch (Richard Belzer): Multiple, first appearing in Homicide: Life on the Street – A man who seems to have been born middle-aged. Munch is a conspiracy theorist who has showed up no less that 11 television shows in multiple locations, always as the same character. Heck, most characters don't go from Law & Order to The X-Files to 30Rock.
Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg): First appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation – She's from an alien race that travels through space and time, knows all sorts of things about the past and the future that she can't share, never seems to age, and knows everyone.
Q ( John de Lancie): First appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation – A seemingly omnipresent being that can travel through time and space and can transport itself and humans to a different dimension and enjoys teaching humans moral lessons the hard way. Has appeared at multiple different points in the Star Trek timeline, sometimes at key moments or when things are about to get really bad.
Ms. Frizzle (Lily Tomlin): The Magic School Bus – A teacher who travels through time and space in a TARDIS disguised as a school bus that is bigger on the inside. The chameleon circuit on hers still works, as it can disguise itself as different animals and vehicles in order to accomplish missions.
Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan): Twin Peaks – While it would be easy to rattle off a dozen or more reasons that would make the case as to why FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is clearly of the Gallifreyan persuasion, these three moments from the real series' run (we don't acknowledge the Showtime thing) prove that actions (and Cooper's words) speak much louder than our words… this time. – Ray Flook
Dwight Schrute (Wilson): The Office – A man that is both everywhere and nowhere all at once, he seems to have endless energy and time, and a strange personal mythology where no one is sure what is true and what is not. It has always been obvious Dwight was an alien, so why not one from Gallifrey? – Jeremy Konrad
Michael (Ted Danson): The Good Place – A being who exists outside of time and space but is obsessed with humans, human culture, and human things. He has a love-hate relationship with the humans he interacts with and hides how connected he is to his denizens from others of his kind. – Jeremy Konrad
Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney): Sesame Street – A grumpy being of unknown origin that lives in a TARDIS disguised as a trash can. As seen through multiple films and specials, said trash can is much larger on the inside and can transport beings to other realities/universes.
MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson): MacGyver – Time Lord is basically the only origin story that makes sense for MacGyver. He has unlimited technical, mechanical, and scientific knowledge as well as intense fighting skills but a preference for non-lethal methods. He recklessly throws himself into life or death situations to solve overly complicated plots, always at the last minute. – Tom Chang
Cole Hawlings (Patrick Troughton): The Box of Delights – First, the character was portrayed by the same actor that played the Second Doctor. Second, he is a kindly time traveler that has a box that is bigger on the inside and can travel through time and space. He then entrusts the box to a boy he meets and has an instant friendship with, taking the boy on travels through time and space. – Rich Johnston
Bobby Draper (Mason Vale Cotton and Jared Gilmore): Mad Men – This kid only pops up when something big is going down or the show needs to make a point. Additionally, he disappears for what seems like years at a time on the show, only to pop up looking completely different and being portrayed by a different actor. – Adi Tantimedh
Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy, Olivia Colman), Prince Philip (Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies) and Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby, Helena Bonham Carter): The Crown – Between seasons 2 and 3, an unseen assassination attempt was made on the Royals during a dinner (the only time the three of them saw each other since Margaret was estranged from Elizabeth) using an exploding corgi caused the three of them to regenerate from Claire Foy, Matt Smith and Vanessa Kirby into Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies and Helena Bonham-Carter. The mess was cleaned up, the assassination attempt was covered up by the government and the non-Timelords who died were quietly disposed of. – Adi Tantimedh
Make sure you check back with us for Part 2 of 'Doctor Who' Confidential, as we look at the Time Lord "sleeper agents" we've uncovered in… film!