The music video for Norwegian band A-Ha’s addictive hit “Take on Me” is easily one of the most unforgettable pop culture relics of the 1980s. The video, which used rotoscoping to combine live action footage with pencil-sketch animation, was damned impressive from a technical standpoint at the time, and it’s since been parodied and referenced countless times, including by Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy. But now I think we may finally have seen the single most brilliant riff possible on the iconic video, thanks to a pair of YouTubers who put figurative peanut butter together with equally figurative chocolate and made some magic.
It all started with the video below, created by artist Richard Swarbrick. His frenetic animation gave visuals and audio from the show a gorgeous, colorful makeover as it paid tribute to everybody’s favorite mad man in a box. But when YouTuber TheFlixx saw Swarbrick’s video, the resemblance to A-Ha’s music video was obvious, so they took the next logical step of actually putting “Take on Me” under the animation. Whammo: brilliance.
The simple combination of the song and the Doctor Who animation would have been a great idea in and of itself, but I particularly love that the video and the show resonate thematically as well. In the original A-Ha music video, a woman is flipping through comic-style pencil drawings when suddenly they come to life, with the man in the drawings extending a hand and then pulling the woman into a strange, fantastic world she didn’t know existed. Sound familiar? Seriously, A-Ha pretty much accidentally created Doctor Who: The Musical.
You can see A-Ha’s original music video below for comparison. I’m betting you’ll never be able to see it again without thinking of a certain Time Lord.