Mae Govannen, everyone! Time to start a new fandom! This month, the honour goes to one of the most amazing TV shows of all time: Doctor Who!
So what is it?
Doctor Who is a British sci-fi show that started in 1963 and was rebooted in 2005 after more than a decade of hiatus. In a nutshell, it’s about the adventures of an alien called the Doctor, last of the humanoid race of Time Lords, who travels around time and space in his ship, the TARDIS, which is disguised to look like a 60s-era police public call box. He usually has a human companion or two traveling with him, and together they fight monsters and save civilizations in the past, present and future. Oh, and the Doctor can “regenerate,” that is, get a brand new body and a slightly different personality whenever he’s near death – which is what has allowed the show to last for so long. So far, eleven different actors have played the Doctor, and by the end of this year, it’ll be twelve.
I use the term “sci-fi” loosely here. There’s not much actual science in Doctor Who. Most of what goes on is really magic given a science-y name – for example, Time and Relative Dimensions in Space really means “magic box,” as some characters on the show have pointed out. Doctor Who is, at heart, a fairy tale. And a really fun one, too.
To clarify: I am a “New Who” fan. I am not nearly old enough to have grown up with the original TV series, even if I had lived in the UK or been allowed to watch monster shows as a kid. I found Doctor Who on Netflix after even the new series was pretty far along, and the old episodes are a little tough to find. So, although I still hope one day to find time to watch some “Classic Who,” right now I’m only an expert in the new series, and that’s what my posts will deal with this month.
What’s cool about it?
Where do I even begin? Doctor Who is one of the most original, creative, and witty shows ever created. It’s founded on a brilliant premise: the Doctor can literally go anywhere in time or space, and just about anything can happen to him. The storytelling possibilities are endless. And the writers have come up with some pretty amazing stories.
Of course, some of the episodes are just wacky and ridiculous, but that’s another thing I like about Doctor Who: its variety. Not only can every episode be set in a different place and time (though the Doctor does show a preference for 21st-century London), but the tone of a story can range from hilariously cheesy to dark, sad and serious; and both work equally well.
Doctor Who has everything you want in a science fiction show: robots, dystopian societies, space ships, evil computers, weird aliens, and of course, time travel. But ultimately, I watch it for the characters. The Doctor is one of the most complex, layered characters I’ve ever seen onscreen, and he’s had some very interesting companions as well. Both the acting and screenwriting are top-notch; although Whovians tend to argue about who the best Doctor is, all three of the actors who’ve portrayed him since 2005 are great at what they do.
Of course, Doctor Who can’t really be described to someone who hasn’t seen it; it has to be experienced. So if you haven’t watched it yet – you should! Like, right now.
Coming up this month: best episodes, the best Doctor debate, cool toys, 50th anniversary speculation, and more. Namarie!