Doctor Who meets Magnum P.I.

Today we delve into the 1980s, and to a TV theme that’s so unspeakably cool, it spent the better part of two years serving as my ringtone.

I know, I know. There’s no sign of the helicopter, no Ferrari – there’s not even a moustache, largely because there’s no sign of Tom Selleck. (Never mind, of course, that this is Doctor Who, where the only people allowed to have facial hair that isn’t entirely fake are the Brigadier and the Master.)

Good old reliable Tom Selleck. The man who would be Indy. It’s a shame, really, because I could just about see him in the fedora, running away from a fibreglass boulder or pulling out Kate Capshaw’s tongue (all right, so Harrison Ford never did that, but I suspect that after The Temple of Doom a good number of people wanted to). But Selleck was busy trying out the floral shirts and running around Hawaii. He was a veritable heartthrob for a decade, whereas these days I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything since the Friends season six finale. (His CV tells a different story, of course, but I’m not convinced anyone this side of the Atlantic has actually heard of Jesse Stone.)

I confess I’m not the world’s biggest Magnum P.I. fan either. But I did love that theme music. Everyone did. It’s generally accepted that Mike Post is as much as a genius as Bellisario and Larson. And yet it wasn’t my first choice for this little venture. That honour went to The Dukes of Hazzard, which I thought was ripe for a Doctor Who-style re-imagining. As it turns out, someone else had the idea first. It’s not bad, although I could probably have done it better. At some point I probably will.

In the meantime (and given that someone’s already done The A-Team as well) this seemed to work. It was only when putting it together that I had the idea of a shot-for-shot remake, or at least as close as I could get. Because it would be comparatively easy to grab hold of appropriately gung-ho images from New Who and stick them together in a visually pleasing montage, but that would be horrendously unambitious and probably a bit dull. Far more interesting, as an exercise, to match as closely as possible.

It wasn’t the most straightforward of assemblies. I had to do several reversal shots, as well as a little slow motion here and there. What’s more, the integrity of some of the ‘character establishments’ bits has been compromised (see for example the bit from ‘Human Nature’ dumped in the middle of the Captain Jack scenes, purely because it fit). I’m convinced that had I spent more time on it, I could have found more precise matches. But given that this came together in a day or so the results are reasonably coherent – the footage of the Vinvocci ship heading inland during ‘The End of Time’ was a gift, and the ready (and free) availability of the Magnum P.I. font was a welcome bonus. It also gave me a chance to go back and look at some old episodes and lament how much I miss Jack, who has been conveniently airbrushed out of Moffat’s Who. I often wonder where he is, and what he’s doing, and what happened to Torchwood, and whether he watches himself on YouTube. Which is silly, but you can get attached to these people, even if they do have a thing about standing on roofs.

I’m breaking in a new video editor at the moment. I typically use (and will continue to use) MPEG Video Wizard, which is entry level but easy to work, and which allows me to do most of the things I want to do. It doesn’t, however, cater for split screen, which is an effect I particularly wanted in order to do a side-by-side comparison of this montage with the original Magnum titles. So I branched out a bit, and sometime later, this is what we had.

As I go to press it’s Halloween, and the hit count for the side-by-side comparison is at eight thousand and rising. This is chicken feed in YouTube terms, of course, but most of those hits appear to have arrived in the last two days, which would suggest (in the absence of pending stats) that someone has been sharing. Which is nice, particularly in a world where I struggle to get views and depend on luck or timing for something I’ve produced to even touch the outside cusp of what may be considered ‘viral’. Eric Schmidt once said that every two days – that’s every two days – we’re putting as much information on the Internet as we created in the entirety of human existence. I don’t know if this is true, of course, and even if it is most of this user-generated content is pictures of cats or giraffes, but it’s clear that the daily upload is colossal.

So for the most part you’re shouting, shouting against a raging storm, and most people don’t notice. And that’s fine, because you latch onto the ones that do and you value them and respect them. And besides, there are occasional bonuses, as I discovered the other day when I opened my inbox.


It’s the little things that count.

Categories: Crossovers, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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