Why I like Doctor Who: How he came at the right time and place, in the right way when I needed himPosted on 2012.02.26 at 22:59
Mental Status: nerdy
I wanted to make a return to Live Journal and back to writing long entries. It was always a way to organize my thoughts and keep a writing discipline. It is relaxing. If I ever found a job where I could write when I want on any subject I want that would be the job of my life. I WILL get to those personal subjects that I do want to talk about, topics that don’t shy away from religion and politics and life in general, but that is not what I will start out with here. I will start out with something a little lighthearted.
It is both an exciting and dark time for science. It is not bad or uninteresting, but it is decidedly dark. The last decade was decidedly dark. Battlestar Galactica dealt with the end of the world and mass genocide… holding onto humanity desperately. Star Wars capped off the prequels with its hero killing his wife and being burned alive. Add to that you have fans in a proxy war over who are “real fans”, the people that criticize or those that accept everything. Star Trek saw the rebirth of the franchise, but movies are spaced years apart.... it hasn’t been this dry for Star Trek fans since 1985. And what we have is just dark in subject matter. I can’t wait for Prometheus, but does anyone think it is going to be a feel good movie? The same can be said of The Hunger Games. Fringe and The Walking Dead two of the best we have on television and they are great too…. But difficult too.
I need something to lighten my mood. To make my eyes look up to the horizon, something that inspires me. Something that isn’t dumb or insults my intelligence. Something that make it feel like going to Outer Space isn’t like going to the 7-11. I want to like the good guys. I want to see them grow. I want a story that builds to something. I want to be able to step into things without having to watch 1000 hours to figure out what is going on… and yet have a rich back story. I wanted something to make me feel good as I did when I was a kid…except I wanted that feeling now as an adult. And that turned out to be Doctor Who.
Doctor Who is been around for 50 years. It has a LONG pedigree and frankly a reputation for a being a low budget British science fiction series. I used to watch some of it when I was a kid. It teetered back and forth between being very boring and being extremely scary. They may not have had much of a budget, but the show makers could definitely make it scary. It took a 16 year hiatus between 1989 and 2005 (except for one movie) and for the most part was forgotten about. It came back in 2005, but even then it just didn’t grab me. The budget was still low it was still a bit odd. Then came 2010 with the appearance of the 11th Doctor and my brother introducing him to me.
Let me give you a little bit about the premise of the Doctor Who. The Doctor, as he is called is a time traveling alien. He looks human, but is very different, stronger, smarter, with two hearts and at 908 years old he is very long lived. He travels the universe and time in a time machine spaceship he borrowed from his people called “the TARDIS”. He is the last of his kind, the last Time Lord and he seems to have a very special affinity for Earth. He usually takes a human with him on his journeys and gets into all kinds of adventures. He famously does not carry weapons and refuses to hold guns (except in extremely rare instances). He uses a special tool called a “sonic screwdriver” that allows him to unlock things, work on things, analyze things. The Doctor CAN be mortally wounded. When it happens he does not die, but regenerates. When he regenerates, he turns into a different looking person with a different personality, tastes, manners, etc. He retains the same memories, but for all intents and purposes, he is a different person. It is very much the death of the last doctor and the birth of a new one. There have been 11 different doctors in the 50 years of the show played by different doctors.
So how did I get into it and why did I like it? Three things happened. One, in 2010, they got a brand new doctor played by Matt Smith. Two, the show got a big boost in budget and a new show runner. Three, my brother sat me down and showed me the very first episode of all of this. Episode 1 of Season 5, I was completely blown away. It was a genuine portal episode that could bring in new person and yet it was so well written it was just what I needed: A happy light hearted adventure that didn’t insult my intelligence. I loved the characters and genuinely cared about them. I got enough of a background with them that I wanted more and more.
Is there a guiding philosophy for the series? Late Night Talk show host Craig Ferguson once said it was “the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism”. The doctor travels with a companion to all of these places in time and space because with them he can see it with new eyes. Characters do develop and change and there is a tragic quality to the Doctor. Start season 5, epsiode 1 and it will HOOK you.
Side note: It is going to take a while to get re-familiarized with this interface. Going to try to make a post a week...maybe more than that. So hard remembering how to do all of this.