SO, WHEN I WATCH SOMETHING really good, it inspires me to write and to draw. One such show that sparked the hell out of my imagination is Doctor Who.
A Bit of HISTORY…
DOCTOR WHO DATES BACK to 1963, when the 1st Doctor, played by William Hartnell, crashed his TARDIS – that’s an acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space – and the Chameleon Circuit broke and gave birth to the Police Call Box that has been a primary icon of the show ever since. If this all sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry, Doctor Who has a long running continuity that can make new fans shy back at the massive undertaking of understanding everything this universe has to offer. But those willing to suspend reality to take a journey through time and space will find the trip well worth it. To date, there are 12 Doctors, 12 incarnations of the same man! Unless you count the War Doctor. The it’s 13.
LONG TIME FANS WILL KNOW this as simple trivia, but those new to the Doctor will find it odd and fascinating that he is the same character from 1963. Since then, 12 actors have portrayed the beloved Doctor, after each subsequent “regeneration”.
THE DOCTOR IS a Time Lord, from the Planet Gallifrey. Time Lords are alien, but look very much human, aside from having two hearts, and the amazing ability to change their face and appearance after a bout with death. Essentially, they die and become a new man. Every Doctor is as different in persona and appearance as they are in word and wit. The first incarnation of the Doctor I knew was the 4th Doctor played by Tom Baker. He was an eccentric man with a crazy puff of brown curls, a flowing scarf, and a long trench coat.
I DON’T REMEMBER anymore than that. As I grew up, this Doctor was just a figment of my past, something I watched in passing, but never grew to love. At the time, I understood nothing about the show, had no idea he was a Time Lord, and until I got back into the series in 2010, I thought the the TARDIS was a phone booth. The show was canceled in 1989 due to low ratings, and went into hiatus for years. A movie, introducing the 8th Doctor, was produced in 1996. After that, the Doctor was quiet…until 2005.
When I Got Into the Show
RUSSEL T. DAVIES REBOOTED the series in 2005, with the introduction of the 9th Doctor, played wonderfully by Christopher Eccleston. It followed the continuity of the original Doctor Who, but started with “season one” instead of continuing the season numbers from the previous show. Back in 2005, I happened to stumble across an episode with the 9th Doctor, I believe it was “World War Three”, with the Slitheen. All I remember is seeing some guy in a black leather jacket with short hair and a British accent fighting a fat, bug eyed monster, and eventually cutting to a commercial break, heralded by the Doctor Who logo and theme song. At first, I scoffed at this, because I thought that they had rebooted the series to try and cater to a younger, hipper demographic. Buzz cut? Leather jacket? Ha! The Doctor had puffy hair and a long scarf. Who is this hip impostor?!
I DISMISSED the show and never watched it again.
IN 2009 I started following a web series called “Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’”. It’s about a brother and sister creating parodies on video games. It made me laugh, Ash was adorable, and I instantly fell in love with the show, which eventually led me to their podcast. During one such podcast, they mentioned their love for Doctor Who. At first, I didn’t understand how or why they had such an undying love for an outdated series from the 60s.
THEN IN 2010 I happened upon BBC America one random afternoon. I was watching a rerun of Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, and an episode of Doctor Who was up next. It was the final episode of season five: “The Big Bang”. I only caught the ending, from where River shoots the 11th Doctor’s Fez into oblivion so suffice to say, my first introduction to the new show was the ending of, at the time, the whole series! After it ended, the show restarted from season one, episode one, “Rose”, with the 9th Doctor. The same Doctor I had stumbled upon years before. What caught my attention this time around was the witty dialogue. The first exchange between the Doctor and Rose was amazing! Rose steps into a kind of basement, in her department store, and is attacked by mannequins! Just as she’s about to be judo chopped to death, a hand grabs her by the wrist, and a man in a black jacket pulls her aside and says, “Run!” The dialogue in the elevator that follows is fantastic.
Rose: Very clever, who are they then? Students? Is this a student thing or what?
Doctor: Students? Why would they be students?
Rose: I don’t know.
Doctor: You said it… Why would they be students?
Rose: Because to get that many people dressed up and being silly, they’ve got to be students.
Doctor: That makes sense. Well done.
THE DELIVERY, the snappy timing, the acting, and the character of the 9th Doctor all had me mesmerized. That, and I love Christopher Eccleston’s facial expressions! The rest of the episode revolved around mannequins, that had fingers that broke open to reveal guns, coming to life, and breaking through store windows to wreak havoc on London! Yeah. Oh, and they were plastic aliens, controlled by something called the Nestene Consciousness.
I was hooked.
My Thoughts on the Series
I FOLLOWED THE SHOW until his regeneration into the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant. The 10th Doctor sealed my fate as a Whovian! Oh gosh, the End of Time was so good! I know some fans HATED it, but to me it was freaking brilliant. When he finally regenerated into the 11th Doctor I cried. Seriously. The farewell was probably one of the most epic things I have ever witnessed on television, ever!
AS FOR THE 11th DOCTOR? Well, it’s at this point that the series lost steam, for me. The end of the 10th Doctor was also a farewell to Russel T. Davies. He stepped down from the show and another writer, Steven Moffat, took over. Doctor Who hasn’t been the same since. I feel like its charm had gone, due to the new style of the show. So I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of Season 5.
HOWEVER, SEASON 6 was better but the whole astronaut thing kind of fell flat to me, but I really enjoyed season 7! It felt like a return to form, and every episode had me captivated like I hadn’t been in two seasons. My love was back! The Name of the Doctor was a wonderful setup to the 50th Anniversary, and the 11th Doctor’s inevitable regeneration.
DESPITE HAVING SOME ISSUES with some of the 50th Anniversary, I really enjoyed the reunion, and was genuinely upset when Matt Smith stepped down. Then, right when I was about to start crying… he flashed into Peter Capaldi. It happened too quickly. I watched the first two episodes of the 12th Doctors season, and lost interest.
I LOST TOUCH with Doctor Who after that, simply because life gets complicated, and there were too many games and other shows to keep up with. I eventually returned to the show, I think around the time season 9 was still going, on Netflix. I wasn’t a fan of season 8s first episode Deep Breath, and the 2nd episode “Into the Dalek” was so so. However, “Robot of Sherwood”, “Listen”, “Time Heist”, “The Caretaker (one of my particular favorites)”, Kill the Moon”, “Mummy on the Orient Express”, and “Flatline” were amazing.
AND THAT’S AS FAR AS I GOT. When I was about to catch up on Peter Capaldi’s season Netflix got rid of Doctor Who. And I drew a picture in mourning… Rel Rel was obviously upset about the whole thing too. I plan to catch up when I have the time, because I was finally getting back into it! But that will have to wait for another time. Anyways, I’ll end my retrospective here. I hope you enjoyed this short introduction to the Doctor Who Universe as well as how I became a Whovian.
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading! I’ll be back with another entry next Monday. Keep that imagination kicking! Please take care all, you all rock. Cheers!