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first_img HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster From survivor’s guilt to the action girl, Doctor Who‘s cup runneth over with repetitive motifs.Each week, I’ll tackle another trope, examining its use, effectiveness, and relevance to the long-running BBC show. Motley crew, assemble!RAGTAG BUNCH OF MISFITSMeaning: An odd mix of hastily assembled or second-rate characters Usage in Doctor Who: The Doctor habitually acquires plebes with whom he travels across space and time, repeatedly saving the worldThe Tenth Doctor and his ragtag team (from left): Sarah Jane Smith, Mickey Smith, Jackie Tyler, Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Captain Jack Harkness, Donna Noble (BBC)When Amelia Pond first meets the Doctor in “The Eleventh Hour,” he is the literal definition of ragtag: shabby, mangy, tattered; wearing clothes ravaged during a violent regeneration.But her Raggedy Man more often epitomizes the other meaning of the term.A sort of anthropological pack rat, the Doctor travels through space and time, amassing a random collection of friends and allies to help fight evil and defend humanity.A literal star-gazer, he stole a time machine and ran away from home, along the way indiscriminately picking up space pilots, 18th Century Scottish Highlanders, journalists, cavewomen, flight attendants, shop assistants, lunch ladies, and even a weaponized robot dog.Historically, the phrase “tag and rag” was commonly used in the 16th and 17th Centuries pejoratively, referring to members of the lower classes. By the 18th Century, the expression broadened to mean the lower classes or “the entire lot of something” (as opposed to just its more desirable parts), according to Merriam-Webster.Eventually shortened to “ragtag,” the adjective now usually describes a motley crew of sorts.Like the one, the Eleventh Doctor assembles to rescue Amy, and her baby in “A Good Man Goes to War.” The 900-year-old time traveler is joined by companion Rory Williams, a 2,000-year-old Roman Centurion; Commander Strax, a Sontaran nurse; Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint, a Victorian crime-fighting interspecies couple; and Dorium Maldovar, a large, blue, immoral humanoid. Oh, and there were space pirates, too.The Time Lord similarly recruits companions, Amy and Rory, along with Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, Edwardian big-game hunter John Riddell, and (inadvertently) Rory’s father Brian, for a mission in “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship.”Despite decades of adaptations—the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, The Mighty Ducks, Pitch Perfect, The Dirty Dozen, Little Rascals, Legends of Tomorrow, every Dungeons & Dragons party ever—the trope has persisted, often with hilarious, charming results.After all, who wants to see a special team of experienced, skilled professionals save the day when a group of undisciplined low-lifes can do it instead?Stream all of Doctor Who now for free with your Amazon Prime membership. Stay on targetlast_img

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