There’s a fascinating moment that seems to come around every season or so in Doctor Who, when The Doctor is asked about the exterior of his TARDIS and has to explain what a Police Box was. Fifty years down the line from “An Unearthly Child,” the iconic blue box is probably better known as the Doctor’s ship than for its actual (now entirely defunct) function. Of course, when the producers fixed the broken Chameleon Circuit during three tenure of the Sixth Doctor, the fan outcry was overwhelming. A similar problem is evident in my favorite Star Trek spinoff, Deep Space Nine, where the fixed location of the station leads to little actual trekking. (Don’t even get me started on why the phasers had to be switched to look more like guns in the original Trek.)

The MD-QOTD (pronounced “ta-rock nore”) reverses the polarity of the neuron flow, asking: What is your favorite no-longer-relevant or archaic “artifact” in pop culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Frank
    November 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    Spaceships must be sleek and aerodynamic, even when it never enters the atmosphere.
    I guess its a hold over from the 40’s serials where the film makers designed their spaceships on concepts from WWII fighters.

  2. Dave
    November 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm — Reply

    Justice League Signal Devices. Or, as we have called them for the past 20 years or so, pagers and cell phones.

  3. Frank
    November 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm — Reply

    Along the same vein as Dave’s comment, the TOS Star Trek Communicators.
    Also, running a starship using sliding switches, buttons and dials seems strange.

  4. Christina
    November 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm — Reply

    My favorite has to be the old cartridges the old TOS Star Trek used that were probably meant to replace computer punch cards (or as I called them as a kid, memory sticks that looked like 90’s and early 00’s Game Boy video game cartridges).

  5. Oldcomicfan
    November 30, 2012 at 8:11 am — Reply

    I vote for the PADs in STNG – which are larger and bulkier and less functional than modern iPhone and iPads.

    Also, The 7″ floppy disks and dial up modem that you have to put the telephone receiver into from War Games.

    Or, in the old Roy Roger TV series, a reversal – the thing is set in the old west, everybody riding horses and shooting Colt Peacemakers, and then Gabby Hayes drives through in Annabelle, a WWII vintage jeep. WTF?

  6. Shush
    November 30, 2012 at 9:12 am — Reply

    Money bags with dollar signs on them. Though you don’t see them so often anymore.

  7. KVH
    November 30, 2012 at 11:28 am — Reply

    Along some of the same lines as others, the wrist communicators from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Cell phones have “ruined” a lot of those old gadgets. Although my cell phone has yet to teleport me to Zordon….

    • November 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm — Reply

      Your cell doesn’t have the Command Center Teleportation option? I thought that was standard.

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