We are happy to present the lineup for Gallifrey One’s 2019 convention Discussion Panel program track. The Discussion Panels at Gallifrey One are open to all attendees to enjoy, covering the broad base of topics from Doctor Who to the SF/fantasy/media genre, fandom, cosplay, gaming and social topic discussions. Panels are open to all attendees to enjoy from the audience, as well as for attendees to join as panelists. (Occasionally some of our guests join the discussions, too!)
Please remember that this is only ONE part of our program… Gallifrey One has a very rich and diverse program that also includes Q&As, interviews, live commentaries, guest discussion panels on a variety of topics, the Academia Track, our science programming, the children’s program, presentations, workshops, demos, and much more. The items included on the list below are only the panels that are general discussions open to attendees to be panelists and moderators.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed their ideas for this year’s program track; about 85% of this list is pulled directly from attendee submissions. There were so many panel ideas we simply couldn’t use (many of them duplicates of or similar to the items on this list), but we’ve saved them all for possible inclusion in future years.
The following is our working list of discussion panels to be featured at Gallifrey One 2019:
Doctor Who Discussion Panels
- Doctor Who At the Eleventh Hour: Our annual deep-dive review of the most recent season of Doctor Who Series Eleven from the perspective of the storytelling. We’ll discuss the highs and lows, review the stories, the writing, the direction, the music; we’ll touch on the Doctor and companions (but only briefly, as we’re going into depth on that on the next panel); and we’ll take a look at each episode with a critical eye to come to some consensus about the current status of, and future prospects for, the series we love.
- Jodie and the Yorkshire Cats: Brand new Doctor, brand new companions… it’s a new era! As a companion piece (no pun intended) to our Series Eleven review panel, we’ll take a look at Jodie Whittaker’s performance as the brand new Doctor and her companions Ryan, Graham and Yaz, played by Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh and Mandip Gill. We’ll go into detail discussing what each brings to the show (and each actor, to the roles), their chemistry, their story points from their first series together, and their contributions to the overall Doctor Who mythology.
- The Chibnall Era and the Days of Yesteryear: Doctor Who fans are usually polarized about the current direction of the series… this year’s no exception. Not every show is perfect, of course, and always has something for everyone — doesn’t it? We’ll be taking a look at how the current series under the direction of new showrunner Chris Chibnall compares to the producers of yesteryear, including Steven Moffat and Russell T Davies and classic series producers like John Nathan-Turner, Philip Hinchcliffe and Verity Lambert, for a broad overview on the pros and cons of each era, and we’ll address whether ‘golden ages’ of the show exist or are simply a rose-colored reflection of yesteryear.
- All for Who, and Who For All: For the first time in a very long while, fans around the country and across the world were able to share a collective experience with classic Doctor Who, when the Twitch.TV online platform broadcast most of the series in order, day by day, on weekdays during the summer of 2018. Our panel will share their experiences as fandom came together to celebrate the best and worst of the classic series, discuss their opinions, and reflect on how sharing the series together created a new and lasting memory.
- Time Travels: Doctor Who as Period Drama: From The Unquiet Dead to Thin Ice and the recent Rosa and Demons of the Punjab, many new series episodes take place in the distant or recent past, some with famous figures like Vincent van Gogh, Charles Dickens and Rosa Parks. Are fixed historical events portrayed in an accurate fashion, or are they simply window dressing for timey-wimey shenanigans? This panel will analyze Doctor Who episodes from the past eleven seasons for historical accuracy versus science fiction storytelling.
- Axons, Silurians and Bessie, Oh My: Remembering The Pertwee Era: It was the color debut of Doctor Who, the heady days of Earth-bound intrigue, five years of UNIT ops and alien invaders and gadgets aplenty. We’ll take a look at the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who, 1970-1974: the debonair Doctor and his erstwhile foe, the Master; his faithful companions Liz Shaw and Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith; his loyal UNIT friends Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, John Benton and Mike Yates; and the alien baddies, monsters and human foes (and yes, those pesky Daleks) he faced down.
- Can’t Stop the Music: Series 11 marked a huge turning point in the musical history of Doctor Who, as Segun Akinola took over as the series’ main theme and incidental music composer, when last year’s guest Murray Gold retired from the show. Our annual music discussion panel will take a detailed look at the music of the most recent series of Doctor Who, including the new title theme, the incidental music, and the use of popular and obscure songs in the show… with a comparison as well to the music of seasons past.
- Theories of Evolution: The Doctor faces aliens and monsters across the universe and throughout time… but do we really buy it? Is it realistic that the Daleks evolved into green blobs in pepperpot travel machines? Do Cybermen really need human flesh to replace… and is it logical that gold is their foil? Can Weeping Angels procreate only under audience review? And let’s face it, what’s with Alpha Centauri’s big, big eye? We’re going to take a hard look at the various alien races the Doctor’s encountered, to determine which ones are the most realistic, which ones strain credibility, and perhaps what sorts we haven’t yet encountered.
- Doctor Who Across the Eighth’s Dimension: From his sole appearance in one 1996 TV movie (remember “Night of the Doctor” came much later), BBC Books and Big Finish Productions took the ball and created an entire mythology around the eighth Doctor as portrayed by Paul McGann. Our panel will take a look at the characters and situations from the books and audio dramas, give you some insight about the storylines and companions involved, and clue you in on the best ones to read or listen to. (Note that the panel will likely focus more heavily on the audios since they’re more ‘current’.)
- I Am The Master, and You Will Obey Me: So many faces across the decades… Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beevers, Anthony Ainley, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, John Simm, Michelle Gomez… and nobody knows who will be next. We’ll take a trip down memory lane to reminisce about the Doctor’s greatest nemesis: the best moments, the big surprises, the amazing performances, the legendary stories, and where everything went right (and wrong) during the years.
- Doctor Who Deathmatch: Companions Edition: Building on our previous Deathmatch panels. This time around, we’re going to decide which of the longtime companions of the Doctor (from both classic and new Doctor Who) is the best in the show’s long history. As always, our panelists will, at a very high rate of speed, review, then vote on, the worthiness of each companion, and declare through elimination an outright winner to crown the best of the best. (Note: this panel will run 90 minutes.)
- Colour Separation Overlay III: Shift Happens: There’s a new Doctor in town and her TARDIS is the most diverse it’s ever been! Picking up from the similarly named Gallifrey One panel that covered Capaldi’s first series, we will discuss all aspects of people of colour in Doctor Who, both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Whittaker’s first series featured companions, writers, and directors of African and East Asian descent, as well as pulsing new music from a British-Nigerian composer. Why did this happen now and was it a success? Come reflect on and celebrate the continuing evolution of ethnicity in the Whoniverse.
- The Dimensionally Transcendental Middle: From novels to audio plays to TV, we’ve seen the spaces between Doctor Who stories filled in and padded out, and our first instinct is to consider all of this part of our own personal canon. But are these stories added value (such as the third Doctor facing Cybermen for the first time) or do they strain credibility (like companion team-ups… we’re looking at you, Tegan, Turlough & Nyssa and Ace & Mel) What are the benefits and detriments of recasting parts? Are there common elements that lead to certain stories succeeding?
- Social Commentary in Doctor Who: Throughout its long history, Doctor Who has been lauded – and occasionally criticized – for putting political and social commentary into the mix in effort to tell a great story. From the dangers of pollution to common market solutions, the realities of war to the horrors of bigotry and prejudice – and even the ultimate fascism personified in the Daleks. From writers Malcolm Hulke to Malorie Blackman and every writer, producer and star in between, we’ll take a look at the times when Doctor Who hasn’t shied away from taking a stand on the issues of the day.
- Doctor Who Crossover: Musicals Edition: Hot on the heels of Crossover: Villains and Crossover: Red Shirt from prior Gallifrey One conventions comes the latest installment of the series, Crossover: Musicals Edition! The panelists will create and cast their own musicals featuring the members of the Whoniverse. Could we see Cats featuring Davros as Rum Tum Tugger? Maybe Fiddler on the roof with Missy? The choices are endless!
- Putting the Past Back Together: From fan reconstructions of missing classic Doctor Who serials, using the recorded audio with still images and rapidly-panning text, to audio CD releases narrated by the original cast members, and more modern interpretations with full animation (even color!), Doctor Who fans have been fortunate that we have been able to enjoy the lost history of the show. We’ll take a look at some of the best and worst attempts and figure out if it’s possible we could ever see a complete restoration of the series (and maybe talk about a few ‘missing episode found’ rumors along the way!)
- Doctor Who Beyond the Screen – The Year in Review: Our annual panel discussion of Doctor Who in other genres from the past year, in the comics published by Titan, in new fiction and non-fiction from the BBC and other publishers, and in audios from Big Finish Productions. We’ll sort through the rich catalog of products from the past year, as well as discuss some of the amazing stuff we see coming on the horizon.
- The Podcaster’s Guide to the Galaxy: The Doctor Who fan world is full of podcasts… so many that it’s easy to get lost. Our panel of both podcasters and listeners will take an extensive look at the varying range of podcasts that exist today, and help give you some insight about where to start (or what to add to your weekly routine).
- The First Time, Ever I Saw Your Face: Remembering Your First Doctor: Americans used to live in a time where our first experience with Doctor Who was almost always Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee… but the world has changed, the show is back, and our experiences range across the decades. We will discuss panelists’ – and our audience members’ – first encounters with the show and the allure of their first Doctors, up to and including Jodie Whittaker, and reveal what those very special sparks were that kept us coming back for more.
- Designing Classic Who: They’re the unsung heroes of classic Doctor Who: the production designer, the person most responsible for the overarching look and feel of each Doctor Who story. From Barry Newbery and Ray Cusick to Roger Murray-Leach, Valerie Warrender and John Asbridge… you may not know their names, but you’ll definitely appreciate their work. We will take a look at some of the best and most effective sets, props and designs during the classic years.
- The History and Highlights of the DWM Comic Strip: Doctor Who Magazine has been running since 1979, and one of the biggest highlights of each issue is the comic strip, which has created its own rich tapestry of characters, monsters and stories for the ages. We’ll be taking a critical look at the history of the DWM comic strip, the Doctors, the companions, the villains and much more, to celebrate the long-running independent continuity beloved by fans worldwide.
- Drunk Whovian History! Join a peanut gallery of panelist ‘experts’ during our Friday night discussion block, as they get tipsy and attempt to describe events in Gallifreyan and galactic history. For bonus points, join in the fun to help improv out some of the more interesting scenes being described by our panelists. (Note: 18+ only!)
- Mary Poppins… Time Lady?: In honor of the new Disney sequel film Mary Poppins Returns, we’re going to take a look back at the Mary Poppins books written by P.L. Travers, as well as both films, to discuss the similarities between Time Lords and the practically perfect nanny, and ultimately answer the question: is she really a Gallifreyan in disguise? SuperdalekfragilisticexpialoTARDIS!
- Midnight in the Garden of Who and Evil: We’re having a real midnight pajama party panel (pajamas optional!) where our panelists will discuss Doctor Who’s fascinating history within the far-reaching fan fiction community, including G, PG and more intimate fiction. Bring your favorite fanfic to talk about with your fellow attendees, too! (Note: 18+ only!)
- Judging a Book By Its Cover – Doctor Who Illustration: From books to comics and everything in between, the tapestry of illustration of Doctor Who is rich and wondrous. We’ll take a look at Doctor Who illustration over the years, from the Target novel covers of Jeff Cummins and Andrew Skilleter and Alister Pearson and Chris Achilleos, to the more recent comic stylings of Rachael Stott and Christopher Jones and Pasquale Qualano, to some of the great illustrators whose work is shared in our Art Show.
- Doctor Who Confession Dial – The Second Ring: A rematch after last year’s very well received panel… Do you have an unpopular opinion about the Doctor Who universe? Is there something that’s been bugging you or that you don’t understand? Maybe you love something about the show or a character so much you need to share it with the world! Have you been afraid to admit to it and it’s been burning a hole in your soul for ages? This is your chance! Our panel will hear your confessional and open up the discussion from there.
Genre and Media Discussion Panels
- Remembering Stan Lee: One of the fathers of modern day pop culture, Stan Lee, passed away in November, leaving behind a legacy of heroes & villains… and an enormous impact on the entertainment we enjoy today. This panel will commemorate the mark Stan Lee made on all of us: the comics, the characters, memorable moments, those great MCU cameos, and so much more, as we say thanks to an enduring icon.
- Thirty Years on the Satellite of Love: Celebrating MST3K: Since 1988, we’ve enjoyed Mystery Science Theater 3000, the campy, silly, wonderfully iconic tribute to film in all its forms: great, good or dreadful. Join us as we take a step back through the ages with Joel, Mike, Clayton, TV’s Frank, Pearl, Jonah, Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy, Cambot and the rest of the zanies and remember all the joy we’ve shared from the Satellite of Love.
- Why’s It Gotta Be British?: Let’s face it… most of us aren’t just fans of Doctor Who because it’s science fiction; it’s also because he’s quintessentially British, and we just love British film and television in general. Our panel will delve into American fascination with British TV and cinema, running the range from the early days to the present, discussing the best offerings from the other side of the Atlantic that you simply must make time for.
- Babylon 5 at 25: It was the dawn of the third age of mankind… on the last of the Babylon stations. Babylon 5 has been an enduring symbol of proper science fiction on television, a sprawling saga kept alive entirely through the sheer will of its creator, J. Michael Straczynski. Our panel of B5 fans will take you back through the years to discuss the history of the show, how it all played out on TV (including those cast changes!) and why B5 still endures in hearts and minds today.
- Steampunk 101: It’s a genre that’s developed into a sensation all its own… the wonderful world of steampunk, the amalgamation of science fiction and the Industrial Revolution! You’ve probably come across steampunk online, and seen its influences on mainstream culture… now you can learn all about it, what it means, what the appeal is, and where to get started!
- Orville’s Favorite Flight: If you’re not watching The Orville, you’re missing one of the most fun science fiction series on TV today. A panel of massive Orville fans will tell you why this isn’t your father’s Star Trek and that’s just fine with them. We’ll take a look at the cast, the characters, the design, the stories, the comedy, the parody… and help convert some of you who have hesitated watching, into new fans of this wonderful joyride!
- Star Wars at the Hyperspace Bypass: Love it or hate it, The Last Jedi was incredibly polarizing… and it seems to have brought out some of the worst in its fans. But is the backlash real or just hype? Did Solo ultimately fail at the box office because of it, or because of bad scheduling by Disney? And will Episode IX, the animated Resistance (and upcoming revival of The Clone Wars) and the two forthcoming live action series, The Mandalorian and the adventures of Cassian Andor, prove the naysayers wrong? We’ll take a look at the state of Star Wars today.
- The Best Shows You’re Not Watching: Everyone has their favorite TV shows, whether they be genre shows, sitcoms, dramas, police procedurals, medical shows, reality TV… the list goes on. Our panelists will lead an active discussion with the audience about the best of television of 2019: the popular ones you may not have noticed, and the niche shows most people may not be watching. Come learn about new shows and be prepared to share your own favorites.
- Once More, With Feeling: Well, the Whedonverse is apparently coming back soon… with a reboot of the cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But is a reboot the best way to go? Would a relaunch with new characters, based in a later timeline, be a better idea? And regardless of which way it ultimately goes, how should it be done? Our panel will take a look at Buffy, explore some of the things that made it so popular, and figure out how to safeguard its future.
- Day of Trekkoning: After years of television drought and a new universe film series that appears to be petering out… the reckoning has finally happened. Star Trek is back… Discovery is a huge hit, Short Treks are debuting to wide acclaim, and in the pipeline are no less than three new confirmed or soon-to-be TV shows: Patrick Stewart returning as Jean-Luc Picard, an animated “lower decks” comedy, and the rumored Section 31 series with Michelle Yeoh. Too much of a good thing? Or just the tip of the fabulously delicious iceberg? We’ll chat about all things Trek today.
- SF Television 2018: The Year in Review: Gallifrey One’s annual retrospective of the best and worst in science fiction & genre television. Our panel will take a look at what’s been on offer since we last convened, from TV series on networks and streaming services.
- Film 2018: The Year in Review: A look back at the best and worst in science fiction, fantasy, genre, horror and comic-themed films for 2018. We’ll look at the last year in film history, the good, the bad and the ugly, and discuss all the latest releases, biggest trends and hot topics.
Social Topic Discussion Panels
- #meWho: At last year’s “Gallifrey Waits No More” panel, a dramatic #MeToo moment unfolded as several female guests of our convention revealed they had been sexually assaulted and harassed throughout their careers. It was a shocking moment that provoked difficult but necessary discussions about the #MeToo moment and how the women we admire — as well as the fandom at large — have been impacted. This panel will follow up on that moment, providing a place for people to discuss what impact that we, as fans and consumers, have to support women in the industry.
- Healing through Sci-Fi: Why Representation Matters: Media has a well-entwined history of being on the fringe of acceptability, from gender-bending and race-swapping casting, to characters and depicting intersectionality. Faced with the state of modern society, the need for women representation, characters of color, LGBTQ characters and characters who are disabled and/or are open about mental illness is needed more than ever. Our panel will discuss how representation helps us come to a better place, how Britain appears to be ahead of America on the forefront of representation… and now Doctor Who among other shows is helping lead the fight.
- Know the Past, Appreciate the Present, Live for the Future: Younger fans may not realize how good they have it today… pop culture is at a peak, and its accessibility to the masses knows no bounds. But older fans remember things differently: the days before the Internet and streaming video, where fan clubs and gatherings were your fan outlets, tape-trading and libraries were your methods of consumption… and far too often, being ostracized from peer circles was your reward. Our panelists will discuss their experiences about being fans in the days of yesteryear, how things have changed, and how much better the future may be for all of us.
- More Life Lessons from Doctor Who: The self described “mad man with a box” takes viewers on a path of self-discovery, addressing topics like depression and posttraumatic stress disorder; encouraging us to constantly work at being better walking the tightrope between right and wrong, truth or consequence; thinking outside the box (no pun intended) rather than going the path of least resistance, changing the status quo and persevering despite the circumstances. That may be why so many viewers connect with the Doctor. Come join us as we discuss how the Doctor helps us better understand who we are, accept ourselves, and begin to find hope as we heal.
- Just Be Kind: A frank and honest discussion about how it has become more commonplace for people to treat others without respect by being mean and hurtful. Even in our fandom, this holds true; social media has amplified bullies and opinionated people without manners, etiquette or any sense of compassion. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” … if the Doctor can come to this realization, shouldn’t we follow that example? We’ll discuss ways we can all contribute to a better fan experience in our lives.
- How To Rock a Convention Panel: Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, perhaps you’d like to be on a Gallifrey One panel (or a panel at another convention) but aren’t quite sure where to start. This workshop will take you through the basics: from learning how to pitch yourself as a panelist to how to be a dynamic participant. Come prepared to think on your feet and participate in practice mini-panel discussions.
- Teaching Pop Culture: A frank and intellectual discussion about our mutual experiences of and strategies for teaching pop culture as part of an educational plan. We’ll look at both teaching the specific content relating to pop culture topics, and for using various aspects of pop culture to convey other topics (e.g., using Doctor Who to teach about human cognition), and we’ll branch out into other media forms as well!
Fandom, Creativity, Gaming, Cosplay & Other Panels
- Creating Your First Doctor Who Costume at Home: You don’t have to start with TV show-level workmanship… getting started as a cosplayer is only limited by your imagination. Some of our costume enthusiasts will give you some insight into how to get started on a limited budget, using stuff you have at home, can find in the local thrift shop or your neighborhood Target or Walmart store.
- The Case for Fan Activism: Fans across the world have been mobilizing for good causes, whether it’s for charitable purposes or simply to make an impact upon themselves and their communities. Come join us to hear about some of the best examples of fan outreach and positive impact, and perhaps learn about how you can use your fandom to do something good in the world.
- We’re Not In Candyland Anymore: In these days of console gaming, Pokemon hunting and Fortnite on your phone… it’s amazing to discover that board gaming is more popular than ever! Some of our avid board game fans will lead a discussion about the current state of the board gaming industry, where you can find some amazing games (and what titles they recommend), how to start a gaming group, and much more.
- Seek! Locate! CREATE!: The universe of Doctor Who is full of amazing creativity, be it knitting (such as those wonderful Tom Baker scarves), crochet, jewelry making, leatherworking and more. Our panelists will discuss the wonderful world of Doctor Who craftmaking and creativity projects, illustrating and design work, and so much more… including tips on how to get started and how best to share your ideas.
- Stop Me Before I Collect Again, 2019 Edition: Another installment of our always-popular collecting panel. From autographs to Dapol Davros figures with 2 arms all the way to the modern mass market explosion things like BBQ tongs and serving platters, collecting Doctor Who memorabilia is an expensive and time consuming hobby, There are as many different ways to be a Doctor Who collector as there are things to collect. Our panel of enthusiastic collectors will discuss their prime pieces and share tips of how to get started, what to focus on and how to find that Holy Grail item.
- Myths and Legends of the Masquerade: Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a new cosplayer, you won’t want to miss this… a panel of our most experienced Masqueraders join us to share their tips and tools on creating your entry to this year’s (or any year’s) Gallifrey One costume competition. Our panelists will explain the judging process, give you some insight on stage performance, and help you make your way from hall costumer to Masquerade sensation.
- Doctor Who RPGs Across the Generations: There have been many iterations over the years of Doctor Who based role playing games. Our panel will be discussing them in detail, talking about their experiences playing characters in various Doctor Who RPGs, and letting you know about some other great games you might enjoy… including some game systems that can be easily tailored to change the setting to the DW universe.
- The Art of Period Costuming: Whether it’s Tegan’s Black Orchid costume, a Renaissance Faire outfit, or barmaid Clara, constructing a period cosplay requires a different set of skills. We will help you balance the differences between cosplay and historical costuming, discussing Doctor Who, period dramas, and historical costuming projects to analyze various period styles and techniques.
- Beyond the Cosplay: Character Personality: One of two panels this year taking you beyond the costume… For many cosplayers, recreating your favorite character, villain or nemesis for the stage or for the hallway is much more than how you look, it’s how you express yourself – assuming the mannerisms, the language, the accents, the personality of that character. Our panelists will go beyond the looks and offer tips about the lewks you need to show off your creative style.
- Beyond the Cosplay: Hair, Makeup and Accessory: One of two panels this year taking you beyond the costume… The right wig or hair color, the signature makeup and those amazing props and accessories – they’re all things that take your cosplay one step beyond. Some of our experts will offer their insights into all of these and more, so you can take your cosplay to the next level.
Please note: due to lack of sufficient panelist interest and/or other factors, including panel space, we have canceled the following announced discussion panels this year: Fun for the Whole Family; To Infinity and Beyond; Gadgets and Gizmos a Plenty; The Next Big Thing; Building a Doctor Who Community; Turn Your Kid into a Costumed Who-perstar; SuperWhoLock IV; and Costuming for Adults.