Meeting the Doctor: Part One
A skimming of the Doctor Who wikipedia left me wholly ashamed of my ignorance. A science fiction classic, the longest running scifi television show, no less. Doctor Who has influenced just about every piece of scifi I’ve ever been into. Imagine reading mountains of modern fantasy for years, yet somehow never being exposed to Lord of the Rings, or even Le Morte d’Artur. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BRAIN.
I knew then that, until I had been fully initiated into Doctor Who fandom, my nerd status would be in question. But, stinky zombie Jesus!, there is so much material, going all the way back to 1963 and I wasn’t sure where to start. My initial response was to start at the very, very, very beginning, but after a bit of research and browsing through what’s available on Netflix, reason prevailed and I reigned in the Obsessive Compulsive Nerd-out I was in the throes of.
The Doctor Who reboot is fucking awesome. Start there; it’s on Netflix. They explain the basics to you, from what the TARDIS is to why the cybermen are so goddamned terrifying. But I’m not done talking about why you need to watch this show, so unless you’re getting up with the intention of loading Netflix and calling into work tomorrow because you’ll still be watching Season 1, keep reading.
The premise of the show is classic, brilliant, and primed for talented story telling. The Doctor is the last of his kind, a Time Lord from the lost planet Gallifrey. He adventures across space and time in a vehicle called the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), trapped in an old camouflage form as the blue police box, a joke that made sense in the England of the 60′s somehow. And the Doctor, essentially a transdimensional god, is completely in love with humanity. He’s also immortal; every time the Doctor dies, he regenerates into a different body and personality, the brilliant storytelling trick that has allowed this show to continue on with (currently) 11 different faces and interpretations of the last Time Lord.
I’m going to save an in-depth discussion of Doctor Who’s influence on modern scifi and fantasy for the next installment of this series. However, dear reader, if you’d like an idea to chew on until the the next installment of Meeting the Doctor, I shall leave you with an assignment. Watch the new Doctor Who up to the end of the Cybermen cycle, (Rise of the Cybermen, and Age of Steel, Season 2, 2006). Then take in some good Star Trek: The Next Generation, and watch the episode “Q Who.” It’s season 2′s #42. And if you’re at all familiar with Star Trek, you’ll have a good idea of where to go from there.