Please be sure to read all the participatory panel descriptions before signing up. We suggest you make a list prior to visiting our submission form, or even opening up this page and the sign-up form in two different browser windows.
Classic British Television
Most fans of Doctor Who inevitably have some interest in exploring other British television shows, and there’s a lot worth seeing. Join expert Greg Bakun (“From the Archive: A British Television Podcast”) as he leads the discussion about British television preservation, restoration, archiving, and missing episodes, focusing mainly on classic shows from the 1950s to 1990s.
Targeted! Doctor Who Novelisations
A discussion of both the original Target (that’s a publisher, not a department store) novelisations and the nostalgia that goes with them and the new ones (such as ‘Rose’ written by Russell T Davies), and how the style remains unique and relevant.
The Doctor Who Positivity Panel 2
The sequel to last year’s successful Positivity Panel in which we find only good things to say about random episodes of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who Fan Fiction
A discussion about the history of fan fiction, the role that fan fiction has played in keeping Doctor Who alive, and the ways in which it can explore the narrative possibilities beyond licensed work.
Big Finish Turns 20
Join other fans in talking about the highs and lows of Big Finish, keeping our love for older incarnations of Doctor Who alive, and how much we enjoy getting stories in an audio format.
Doctor Who Podcasts
How you can spend all your free time listening to other fans talk about your favorite subject, Doctor Who! Our panel will discuss what’s out there now, and about the other side of the microphone: the mechanics of podcasting.
Exploring Doctor Who Beyond Television
Books, comics, audio dramas, and more – the BBC has permitted a large number of Doctor Who stories that stretch beyond the televised series. But what’s the best way to get acclimated to these new worlds? Panelists will present an overview of the different realms that official Doctor Who stories have appeared in, and provide their own insight into how one might approach and enjoy these new stories.
How to experience video games of the past on modern equipment – a discussion of emulators, clones, homebrews, and new systems as well as good places to acquire all of these things.
Doctor Who Turns 55
We challenge our panelists and panel attendees to find a way to cover 55 years of Doctor Who history in 55 minutes, one year a minute starting with 1963, in a frenzied shout-out of topics and themes. Bring your ‘A’ game and a cheat sheet, because we might record this panel’s audio for later public release!
Babylon 5, Doctor Who, and the Art of the Arc
A discussion on Babylon 5, the impact of having 5 years to tell a story, and how Doctor Who and other shows have adopted the story arc.
Laughing While Hiding Behind the Sofa
Exploring the role of humor in Doctor Who. Is it an essential element, a tasty flavoring, or a distraction? Can we trace the origins and evolutions of comedic elements through the Classic Series into the New Series? What types of humor has the show used, and how effective have they been? What’s the funniest moment, story, character, companion, and Doctor?
Some devoted fans spend vast amounts of time on the painstaking reconstruction of film and video – not just Doctor Who episodes, but other television and feature films as well. We’ll talk about the history of recons, techniques, and stories from reconstruction experts.
Religion in Doctor Who
Science fiction is a wonderful medium to discuss and analyze questions/realities in life that otherwise are left unspoken. Throughout Doctor Who, but especially beginning with the “new series,” interesting situations have arisen which cross the usually guarded border of the sacred. Our panel discusses examples of this, and explores how Doctor Who has affected their approach to religion.
The DC Universe
Last year we talked about DC at the movies. This year we talk about the explosion of DC television series – Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, Gotham, Batwoman on the way, and their new streaming service full of shows. We talk about DC’s strengths and their opportunities for improvement.
Jon Pertwee at 100 – His Life and His Era
The Third Doctor’s 100th birthday: July 7, 2019. Join us as we discuss Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor era, as well as his life and characters beyond Doctor Who.
Regenerating Lost Doctor Who Episodes
All about the animation, re-animation, and re-release of classic Doctor Who episodes. Topics discussed include the episodes themselves, the behind-the-scenes process, and some fun audience interaction.
Doctor Who Choose Your Own Adventure!
This should be fun – back in the ’80s there was a series of Doctor Who “Find Your Fate” books released in the US and the UK. The whole room will participate in making the decisions as we go through as many chapters or books as we can in just under one hour! Designated narrators will read aloud to the room. Bring your own copies of “Invasion of the Ormazoids” and “Search for the Doctor” if you want to look savvier than your fellow attendee.
The King of the Monsters’ long and rich history continues to expand in exciting ways. In this panel we’ll talk about the past, present, and future of Godzilla and his friends and enemies.
Young Fans Panel
Last year we had some teenage attendees take the panel positions and lead the discussion on their unique perspective on Doctor Who. This year we’re once again encouraging young fans to take their place on this panel so the adults can learn more about what younger fans think of their favorite show. If you’re a parent of a teen who’d make a good panelist, please encourage them to sign up!
Take a Stab at Buffy!
Discuss the universe of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Robert Smith?, whose latest book “Outside In Takes a Stab” (ATB Publishing) examines the series in detail.
Disability and The Doctor
Davros is typically in a wheelchair. The Eleventh Doctor was blind for a time. “Before the Flood” featured a deaf character played by a deaf actor. Doctor Who has dealt with those living with disabilities in the past. But what is it actually saying (intentionally or inadvertently)? What does it get right, and where can it improve? This panel will look at matters of representation and consider text and subtext as it relates to the disabled community.
They Aren’t Rules, They’re Guidelines!
Roleplaying games as a whole can be very liberating and expansive. A lot of gamers get caught up in how many rules come with a game, and that can be detrimental to a gamer’s experience. We will talk about the freedoms of RPGs and how to take the next step into the world of gaming.
The Invention of Regeneration
James Bond, Batman, Spider-Man, Sherlock Holmes, always the same character portrayed by many different people. What if there was no such thing as regeneration in Doctor Who? How would the franchise be different? How might the series have evolved differently? This panel looks at an element that’s unique to Doctor Who, ponders a world without it, considers the ways this plot device affects the series, and compares it to similar-but-not-the-same situations in other narratives like James Bond.
Doctor Who Collecting
Just one visit to our dealers’ room shows you that the world of Doctor Who merchandise is massive. Our panelists discuss their own stories and collections, and how to help new collectors find gems out there.
The Star Wars Universe
We discuss the latest films in the saga and the controversies surrounding them, and weigh in on what’s in store for the future of the franchise.
Starting Out Classic
Always a popular topic – what’s the best way for a fan who’s just discovered Doctor Who to take their first steps into what’s called the ‘Classic’ series?
Paranormal investigator Greg Bakun (founder of MN GhostBox, a paranormal team based in Minneapolis) leads a discussion on the study of the world beyond scientific understanding.
Doctor Who: The Theme Park Years
One of the least talked about times in the series are the so-called Wilderness Years from 1990-2004. The misnomer is unfortunate, because even though we didn’t have a television series, this is when Doctor Who branched out and became a universe – they were more like Theme Park years, to adopt a phrase coined by Paul Cornell. This panel talks about the novels, audios, the television movie, comics, and even the attempts at animated versions that occurred during those years.
The Marvel Universe and Avengers: Infinity War
Millions of people around the world were shocked by the ending of Avengers: Infinity War. We discuss the events of that movie, as well as the future for the Marvel Universe in motion pictures.
Roads Not Taken
Between television, movies, novels, audio dramas, comics, and more, Doctor Who has existed in some form for 55 years. For all the great stories, there are plot threads and possibilities the franchise – for whatever reason – didn’t or couldn’t pursue. Our panelists look at these opportunities and discuss what might have been.
The Star Trek Universe
This panel discusses the state of the Star Trek universe, and focuses attention on both Star Trek: Discovery and The Orville – how they both carry the legacy of Star Trek, and how they differ.
Doctor Who Music
Every year our music experts tackle a fresh perspective on the music in Doctor Who, don’t miss this year’s panel!
Pop Culture Fandom Itself
Is fandom broken? We will take a close look at topics within fandom itself, such as toxic fandom and what can be done about it. We’ll also discuss how to communicate acceptably and how we interact with creators/celebrities.
The Red Dwarf Universe
With Hattie Hayridge on our guest roster, how can we not take some time to talk about Red Dwarf? Our panelists discuss the show, its recent continuations, its future possibilities, and its general appeal. And we’ll almost certainly discuss favorite episodes!
Recasting Doctor Who
Last year we talked about the upcoming First Doctor Adventures and this year we’ve had a chance to listen. Do we feel that recasting works? What about other cases where a new actor is brought in to an established role? Do we want to see more recreated TARDIS teams? Do we prefer them doing new interpretations or trying to recreate the performances of the original actors?
A Question of Gender
It has taken decades for the Doctor to switch genders. This panel takes a close look at the positives as well as the challenges that this gender change will pose for the new Doctor. Be sure to join us for this panel – such a significant change in the history of Doctor Who will undoubtedly be discussed and analyzed for years to come.
The Big Bang Theoryverse
The Big Bang Theory is concluding with this year’s 12th and final season. Its long run has been chock full of Doctor Who references, so there’s a lot of crossover appeal. This panel will discuss the show, its popularity, and why we think it works.
Exploring Big Finish
So many ranges, so many new releases – how does one choose? Come with your opinions and recommendations for those of us lost in the weeds of indecision, even if your perspective is “Listen to ALL of it!”
Movements in Time
Hit the right stride with this interactive panel and workshop. Find out the difference between needing a choreographer and a movement coach, and how just picking three iconic steps of a character can change how they are perceived or recognized, and how it helps the actor or cosplayer get into character. Be ready to get on your feet, or do what you can from your seat.
Happy Face Costuming
Let your cosplay give you a smiley face emoji! Screen accuracy is sometimes hard to come by, but the enjoyment you get out of your cosplay should not come from just being 100% accurate on the exact Pantone shade of rust yarn used in your scarf. Take a look at how to research your cosplay and how to be happy with the costume you put together.
Getting Wiggy With It
The right wig can make a costume pop. Learn about what goes into finding that perfect wig, and then the different ways it can be styled.
How To Get To “Master”-Level (Without Killing Off Entire Planets)
Thinking about competing in the Masquerade, either here at Chicago TARDIS or at another con, but not sure what goes into it? Our expert panel will talk about what goes into putting together a good entry for a costume competition, from preparing for workmanship judging to the best way to strut your stuff on the stage.
Weekend Workbench on This Old TARDIS
What does a sonic screwdriver, Handles the dashing cyberhead, a vortex manipulator, and Nitro-9 have in common? They are all props that can give a costume a much needed edge, provide many fun photos and stories, and may make the rounds at a convention (with permission of course!). Find out what goes into researching and building some interesting Whovian props.
Primer and Sigils
Feeling blue? Or is it just some leftover makeup from cosplaying Dorium Maldovar yesterday? Learn about the care of makeup instruments and products and what it takes to create some basic makeup looks, along with an iconic design or two.
Diversity in Cosplay
The Doctor has traveled with and met a diverse set of people over the decades. Unfortunately being blue is not the only racism he has seen. Likewise, cosplayers of the Doctor and companions are a diverse set of people. A roundtable discussion led by our panelists on the issues facing diversity in cosplay and fandom.
The Yarns of Mister Clever and Doctor Crafty
Do you love crafting? Love Doctor Who? Love combining the two? This is the panel to talk about the fun of creating original items with a Whovian flair! Bring your favorite crafts to share with everyone else.
TARDIS Wardrobes of the Cheap and Thrifty
Cosplay doesn’t have to be expensive! While some cosplayers may be off sourcing the perfect screen accurate fabric and re-drafting patterns to precisely recreate their favorite costume, we’ll be here talking about how to pull together a recognizable look on the cheap. Between thrifting, coupon crunching, and a bit of creativity, you can have a cosplay without breaking the bank.
Game Mastering DW
Discussion on tips, tricks, and techniques for running Doctor Who role playing games.
Who Are You and What Are You Doing?
Doctor Who Roleplaying Game Character Creation. Create your own character for the Doctor Who Role-Playing Game! You are free to use these characters in the RPGs over Chicago TARDIS weekend (with GM consent). Get tips and tricks on how to best shape an original idea into a great playable character!
The amazing thing about the Doctor Who universe is that it’s so expansive, anything could fit! We will talk about the ways the Doctor Who Role Playing Game, as a framework, allows you to explore other worlds and brings them all together.
Doctor Who Board Games
Have you ever found a game and thought “this would be so cool if it had a Doctor Who twist on it!” So have we! Let’s discuss! We’ll also talk a bit about the Doctor Who board games that are out there already.
Role Playing Game Immersion
Gaming doesn’t have to be just about sitting at a table with a group of friends with your pencil and character sheet, going through a game. It can be so much more! We’ll talk about the many ways you can get your players involved!
Please contact us if you have any questions!