There's less than two weeks to go until the new series of Doctor Who starts, and we'll be honest: we're getting twitchy. If you're feeling the same way, here's something that might help you pass the time until the Time Lord returns in the form of Peter Capaldi.
The Animated Adventures of Doctor Who is a captivating take on the series by Seattle-based art director and newspaper cartoonist, Stephen Byrne (opens in new tab), which takes the Doctor Who we all know and love and brilliantly reboots it as a Saturday Morning cartoon. Byrne describes it as the same as regular Doctor Who, "with the silliness amped up and the darkness dialled down".
So alongside the new Peter Capaldi incarnation of the Doctor – plus cameos from previous Doctors and appearances from a Dalek and a Weeping Angel – you'll find cute sidekicks in the form of old-school companion K9, Handles the Cyberman head from last year's Christmas adventure The Time of the Doctor, and a sweet little Adipose from 2007 episode, Smith and Jones.
In an inspired piece of artistic licence, current companion Clara now appears as a little girl. It's all about making Doctor Who more accessible to children, says Byrne. If he were pitching it to the BBC, he says, "I would say that the stories should focus on smaller relatable problems for young people, and less on the grander themes of the regular show (like fate and destiny). It should be about a little girl learning about how the world works. With aliens."
Byrne spent two long weekends and a few long evenings making the video, using Photoshop, Flash and Premiere. "I haven't done animation in a few years," he explains, "and so it was a little self-motivated project to relearn the principles of animation and the subtleties of the software. It was also an experiment to see if I could produce something half-decent in a reasonably limited time frame."
His reimagined Doctor Who is influenced by modern children's cartoons, particularly the ones with a wit and humor that appeals to adults too. "I would point to Gravity Falls (opens in new tab) as the current best example of a kids cartoon that appeals to adults, and that sort of treatment would work well for a Doctor Who cartoon," he says.
In five days The Animated Adventures of Doctor Who has racked up nearly half a million views on YouTube, and Byrne has been a little surprised by the positive response. "I was almost disappointed that there wasn't more fan outrage at the various choices I made," he admits. "Usually there'd be a swarm of people lining up to tell me that Peter Capaldi's forehead is too big, Clara looks too young, I omitted the War Doctor, and the shade of Tardis Blue I've used is incorrect."
So he was a little relieved when those comments started to turn up. "I usually take the negative comments as a sign that something has gone right," he says. "It means people care."