Doctor Who: 10 Most Ridiculous Uses Of The Sonic Screwdriver

When recently drafting an article contrasting classic Doctor Who to the new series, there was the little matter of the Sonic Screwdriver. It actually became a difficult thing to categorize, because Doctor Who has had a difficult time with the device. Every time it serves a legitimate purpose, there seems to be another occasion that it seems to be a writing shortcut. Every time it does something that legitimately seems to be "sonically" induced, there's another occasion where it seemingly would be better accompanied by the Doctor just saying "Deus Ex Machina!" or some Harry Potteresque nonsense. Lest anyone think I'm solely picking on the new series. Nope: the classic series had it forcibly removed in 1982's "The Visitation" as it was too often used as a shortcut. Apparently. The truth is, it came down to the writer - If the Doctor needed to be incapacitated or locked up beyond the screwdriver's reach, then it was only a matter of putting him in a "deadlocked" cell, tying him up, or having lent it to Sarah Jane or something. Lazy writers used it for lazy solutions, or let Tom Baker shatter the fourth wall in ways that only his toothy grin could. There are, however, several instances where the Screwdriver is just there, and in the classic series it's not even a case of BBC Enterprises hoping you'll buy their replica complete with sound effects. I'm going to bring 10 of these moments to your attention, and I'm also going to rate them either Moffat (whimsy-fantasy, with little science involved), Davies (it's for the kids!), or Letts (We need to get from A to B, and the screwdriver can get it done!). In terms of how useless the scene is to the plot, I'll also be rating each 1-5 on the Nyssa scale. 1 Nyssa means it's inoffensive and somewhat related to the plot, whereas 5 means it could've been left on the cutting room floor. Now that we've set the ratings up with a nod and a wink, let's begin...
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In a parallel universe where game shows' final jackpots and consequent fortunes depend on knowledge of obscure music trivia and Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes, I've probably gone rich, insane, and am now a powermad despot. But happily we're not there, so I'm actually rather pleasant. Really.

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