I consider “Doctor Who” my favorite sci-fi piece of entertainment since the days when I used to read the Animorphs book series. I have my fiance to thank for this, as he got me into the show. And with the show’s 50th anniversary special coming up on Saturday, I thought I’d look back on what I’ve experienced so far to celebrate.
For those not in the know, I’ll summarize the show here. “Doctor Who” began in 1963 and, aside from a couple cancellations, has been on-air ever since. The Doctor is an alien called a Time Lord who travels through time and space, picking up various companions along the way (typically human females). Each week he and his companion(s) get into all sorts of trouble with other aliens, Earth-threatening creatures and trying to stop evil schemes. The Doctor has been portrayed by 11 (soon to be 12) different actors so far as he can regenerate his body when dying.
Two years ago, when I stayed with my fiance for several months, he was already a fan of the Doctor and his adventures. He had started with the 11th Doctor (the current one), so he got me started on him as well. I had only seen an episode of the 9th Doctor on Youtube once, but the context there had been lost on me. I fell in love with the show and especially the character of the Doctor a few episodes in. There was just something about the goofy fun and charm of the show that I enjoyed. Together, we went backwards and discovered the 9th and 10th Doctors, enjoying their antics as well. We even saw the 8th in his one-off TV movie special and have separately watched the 7th Doctor’s run as well. Basically, while we’ve kinda worked backwards, we’ve been expanding our knowledge of the show.
The Doctor himself will always be my favorite character regardless of who plays him, though I do consider the 11th to be MY Doctor, aka the one that hooked me onto the show and who I connected with. Matt Smith brings a bit of dorkiness and childlike fun to the role, but I enjoy when he does get upset or serious in grave situations. He’ll be leaving the role to make way for Peter Calpadi’s 12th Doctor after this year’s Christmas special, and I plan to talk more about his run then.
If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from this show, it’s a deep respect for the scope of it. Having seen behind-the-scenes features showing how episodes are made, plus knowing its long, rich history has made me appreciate it more each time I watch. While it came from a small budget and cheap effects, the writing through the years has produced some solid work. I can’t wait to continue working backwards and forwards to experience the other Doctors and their stories.
In the meantime, I’m excited for the 50th celebration and the special tied into it starring both the 10th and 11th Doctors. I also plan to check out “Adventures in Space and Time”, which is a special on Friday that goes over how “Doctor Who” was conceived and the appearance of the first ever Doctor. I’ve seen little of the first couple episodes, so it’ll be neat to see how it came to be and what it was like filming them.
“Doctor Who” is a sci-fi show that has equally smart moments for all the ridiculous ones. It’s a show where I can see why some people can’t stand it, but it has enough fun and character to it to keep me coming back. It’s helped me regain my interest in sci-fi since I was a kid, and no other sci-fi show can claim that. No matter how much longer it continues, I’m hopeful for the future of it.