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ALIEN - Attack

Why I like Doctor Who: How he came at the right time and place, in the right way when I needed him

Posted on 2012.02.26 at 22:59
Mental Status: nerdynerdy
Tags: ,

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.


Ami Yuy
amiyuy at 2012-02-27 04:50 (UTC) (Link)
(All I see are short YouTube links, not actual videos. The HTML editor is the same as it was before, although I do think the Rich Text editor has had a complete makeover.)

We actually got pulled into the series from the last episode of 10's run and the first of 11's like you did. We were over at a friend's for New Years when it premiered and they watched them both and it got us curious enough to finally start from the beginning (with 9) this last month. I'd seen a few episodes here and there, but it seemed hooky and silly, so I never pursued it.

I'm glad we started with 9 though, as it gave us a firm background in this series at least, and 9 still has a special place in my heart. The writing isn't the best all the way through, and some of the episodes are just dumb, but some are outright amazing. We've got something to look forward to now with 11 as we can't wait for Steven Moffat to be the main writer. XD

Watching about 5 episodes per week we just started 10's last season this evening. The series watches surprisingly fast with only ~14 episodes per season.
Robert G. Barker
bobbarker at 2012-02-28 02:41 (UTC) (Link)
Don't forget you have the 5 one hour specials to get through before Starting the fifth season and the 11th doctor.

The Next Doctor
Planet of the Dead
The Waters of Mars (my personal favorite)
The End of Time Part 1 and 2.
cure_marine at 2012-02-27 05:18 (UTC) (Link)
Icon related!

I've always liked reading your posts on politics and faith. You have years of insight and that's something I gotta give respect knuckles to!
Robert G. Barker
bobbarker at 2012-02-28 02:39 (UTC) (Link)
I have a few coming up. :D
Ambrosia Krys
ryoko at 2012-02-27 05:48 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad you enjoy DW. I started out with the first episode of the 2005 revival, but Season 5 is still my favorite. It feels like a genuine sci-fi storybook adventure.
Robert G. Barker
bobbarker at 2012-02-28 02:37 (UTC) (Link)
I just really like the overall feel of Series 5. There just seems to be a real geek sensibility to it. "I am like Gandalf, space Gandalf".
1ucifer at 2012-02-27 12:56 (UTC) (Link)
Minor mentions here. Next year is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who (the first episode was scheduled to air the same day Kennedy was assassinated).

The budget for Doctor Who (now) is actually not all that much more than in 2005, technology has just gotten better really. There are some wonderful episodes in the prior seasons (primarily those written by the now show runner, Steven Moffat).

My husband collections all the DVD's of both new and classic series (including DW's spinoffs), and while the old series definitely was on a show string budget, there are some absolutely fantastic episodes that even rival the quality of the new series (ever want to dabble, let me know and I can recommend some).
Robert G. Barker
bobbarker at 2012-02-28 02:38 (UTC) (Link)
I would like to hear your top ten that I can get of the classic on DVD. :D
1ucifer at 2012-02-28 13:08 (UTC) (Link)
Below are my top ten, for various reasons. If you want, also look up the Top 200 Doctor Who episodes. The DW magazine yearly does a poll to determine the best episodes amongst the fans.

1. Caves of Androzani (5th Doctor's last episode)
2. City of Death (4th Doctor, written by Douglas Adams)
3. Terror of the Autons (3rd Doctor, intro of the Master)
4. Genesis of the Daleks (4th Doctor, origin of the Daleks)
5. Mark of the Rani (6th Doctor, intro of The Rani, an evil Time Lady)
6. Rememberance of the Daleks (7th Doctor)
7. The Mind Robber (2nd Doctor)
8. Doctor Who TV Movie (8th Doctor, its all he had of screen time btw)
9. The Romans (1st Doctor, just a fun episode)
10. Tomb of the Cybermen (2nd Doctor)

There are other good episodes, but those are ones I tend to watch on a regular basis.
a_lonewolf at 2012-02-27 18:51 (UTC) (Link)
"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." -- Me too , Bob, so if you ever find that job, let me know! ;-P

I started watching Dr. Who back in the Tenth Doctor days and really enjoyed it; however, I've yet to get back into it and really keeping meaning to do so.

Glad you're back on LJ with the intention of writing longer entries. SO am I. Miss you!
Robert G. Barker
bobbarker at 2012-02-28 02:38 (UTC) (Link)
YOU HAVE TO GET BACK INTO IT!!! and spread the word.
a_lonewolf at 2012-02-28 04:35 (UTC) (Link)
I totally put my money where my mouth is and put up the longest entry I've made in the last few years. ;)
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