Doctor Who: An Obsession

So at what point does a show go from being a passion to an obsession.  I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was about five years old.  Back in the day when Tom Baker was just getting started,  I’ve always loved the show.  Barely a week has gone by when I didn’t watch at least one Doctor Who, whether from the Classic series or the new series.

Then came the 50th celebration.

My passion for the show went into overdrive!  During the week leading up to that 50th anniversary episode I watched Doctor Who every single day.  Multiple episodes at that, from both the classic and the new series.  And in fact a day hasn’t gone by SINCE the 50th that I haven’t watched at least one episode.  Even today I watched two.  It’s all I tweet about on Twitter.  I’ve started to blog about it, I’m currently reading a Target novel, and of course I keep watching it.

A mad man who stole a blue box.

What is it about this show that excites so much passion?  I see from people I follow on Twitter that I’m not alone in this.  I was at Gallifrey One convention in LA earlier this year.  The amount of people in cos play was amazing.  People all over the world love this show.  It makes me so proud to be a Whovian.  I’ve been mad about the program since the time when it was a nerdy thing and was considered uncool.  Look at the show run now!

I guess there really is nothing else like it out there.  There are plenty of creative and imaginative shows on our screens.  But nothing, NOTHING like Doctor Who.  Wouldn’t we all love a TARDIS of our own.  On the outside, it’s just a simple blue police box.  But when you see it on your screen you know something magical is happening.  That’s the only way to describe Doctor Who.  Magical.

Right from its humble beginning, as a filler to give families something to watch after the sports and before the prime time shows come on, the show captured the imagination of a nation. Athough there was neither the budget or the technology to match the ambition of the producers, they tried to show us things we had never seen before.  Ok, so the effects were often cheesy.  But the stories weren’t.  Classic Who has given us some unforgettable stories and monsters scary enough to chase us behind the sofa.  Ok, I only hid behind the sofa once as a child, but some of the creatures were frightening.  Daleks.  Cybermen.  Sontarans.  Ice Warriors.  Zygons.

Now the show has caught up with technology enough to be able to produce some amazing effects.  Episodes like Planet of the Ood and the Rings of Akhaten have shown us spectacular alien worlds.  The monsters are scarier still.  The show goes on. And on. And on.

Hopefully for another fifty years.

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Day Of The Doctor – a review (spoilers ahead)

This blog is about the Day of the Doctor episode.  There are spoliers so if you haven’t seen the episode please go and watch it before reading on.  I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone!

 

 

 

 

So, now the dust is settling after the geekiest week of my life.  And what a week it was.  With all the build up to the most important episode in the history of Doctor Who, with the wonderful docu-drama, Adventures In Space And Time, with the highly entertaining spoof, Five(ish) Doctors Rebooted,  and of course with the episode itself, it’s been quite a week for Whovians.

I actually watched the episode twice today.  I think you have to.  The first time you watch it you’re all awash with excitement so you miss details.  The second time of watching, you’re not quite so emotional so you pick up things you miss the first time.

I loved the episode overall.  It was huge. It was bold.  It was cinemtaic.  It was hugely entertaining.  But one thing did bother me as I started to digest what I’d seen.  If everything changed, would I still want to watch episodes from the earlier seasons?  After all, what relevance do they have now.  Gallifrey falls no more.  The Doctor didn’t destroy his home planet.  So that renders the previous seasons meaningless.  Right?

Wrong.  I picked it up on the second viewing.  Hurt’s Doctor comments to Smith’s Doctor that when he goes back to his own timeline, he won’t remember that he saved Gallifrey instead of destroying it.  Which means Ecclestone’s Doctor won’t be aware that he didn’t destroy his homeworld.  He’ll go around talking about it, believing he did it, but we’ll know the truth.  That somehow seems more tragic when you think about it.  Imagine carrying around all that guilt for something you didn’t even do.  But in essence, as far as Ecclestone’s concerned, nothing has changed.  Ecclestone carries all the guilt and anger.  Tennant starts to wonder as he’ll be aware they tried to save Gallifrey.  And Smith finds out for sure. 

Time travel.  It’s a complicated business.  It’s probably a good thing it’s not possible to go backwards and forwards in time.  Or as far as we currently know, it isn’t.  But imagine what the world would be like if we could freely roam around in time.  History would be constantly changing.  How messed up would that be?  One of the things I like about Moffat is he does like to explore big ideas.  Sometimes I think his ideas are bigger than he can perhaps handle, but Doctor Who sure isn’t dull with him at the helm.  Frustrating, yes.  Dull, no.  I can follow his logic in this story.  Imagine if you’d done something so terrible that the guilt would be a huge weight on your shoulders for the rest of your life.  If someone came up with a way you can change that who wouldn’t take a risk.  Never mind that the Timelords have their rules about interfering in timelines.  Especially your own.  If you could undo your actions, ease that burden of guilt, you’d do whatever it takes.  I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the Doctor destroying Gallifrey anyway.  It goes so far against everything the Doctor has ever stood for.  The man who abhors violence, who won’t even carry a gun despite the constant dangers he faces, commits mass genocide.  On his own people, no less.  I just couldn’t see it.  I didn’t want to see it.  So I was happy to see that he was able to undo his most terrible act.  And who knows what repurcussions will result from this.  It was heavily inferred that the Timelords were changed by the Time War.  That they’d become almost as bad as the Daleks.  So when Gallifrey is finally found and released from being frozen in time, it remains to be seen whether they will be benevolent or hostile.  Time will tell.

But with the emergence of John Hurt’s War Doctor, other problems arise.  Like the numbering of the Doctors.  We’re all geeks really, right?  It’s not just me?  We like to know the order they run in. You’ll notice I used the names rather than numbers for the Doctors.  That’s because there’s some confusion now of the exact order.  We were calling Hurt’s Doctor eight and a half because he didn’t count.  He was the abomination. The Oncoming Storm.  Destroyer of Worlds.  Except…well, he isn’t, now.  It looks like he’s got his Doctor status back.  So shouldn’t he count as Doctor nine?  I wonder if there will be some official statement to that effect in the coming days.  Imagine the consternation among people who make a living over this sort of detail.  People who write books in which the Doctors are all neatly labelled and numbered.  I can imagine Moffat had a big grin on his face as he wrote this story….

So for the story itself…wasn’t it fun?  Zygons.  THREE Doctors, lots of wibbly wobbly timey wimey, and then the surprise at the end.  Tom Baker!  That was a huge treat for me.  Tom has always been my Doctor.  He was my first.  And you never forget your first Doctor.  I should know. I have a t-shirt that says it!  That was a lovely touch at the end.  And then there was that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glimse of Peter Capaldi.  Well, his eyes anyway.  And doesn’t he look ferocious?  I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how he plays the role.

The only problem I have with the story is how abruptly we switch tracks.  One minute we’re in a story with Zygons, the next we’re off to the Time War.  It doesn’t really seem the Zygons storyline has been fully resolved.  When we last saw them they were deep in negotiations.  Maybe we’re just supposed to infer it all went well.  Or maybe we’ll return to them at Christmas….

Ahh, Christmas.  So much still to come.  The fall of the Eleventh.  Or is it the Twelth now?  Damn you, Moffat! *Shakes fist*  And, of course, that first glimpse of our new Doctor, Peter Capaldi  Let the good times roll!.

Happy Birthday Doctor Who!

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I am a huge Doctor Who fan.  I have been since I was six years old.  I won’t say how long ago that was.  But I will say Tom Baker was my first Doctor.  I guess that’s kind of a hint…

So, this is a big week for us Doctor Who fans.  You could say it’s been fifty years in the making.  Yep, Doctor Who is fifty years old this week.  Making it the longest running sci-fi show in history.  And this Saturday, the 23rd november, marks the show’s 50th birthday.  Happy birthday, Doctor!  you don’t look a year over 900!

I follow a lot of Doctor Who fans on Twitter.  Some are of the old guard, like me.  Others came in for the new series.  I’ve noticed certain trends among Who fans on Twitter.  Some still bemoan the departure of David Tennant.  Others are unhappy because the next actor to play the role is going to be an older actor.  Newsflash:  All the Doctor Who actors in the Classic series were older men.  When Peter Davison took over the role as the 5th Doctor, the media were complaining he was TOO YOUNG!  How times change.  Ok, so Peter Capaldi is not a young pretty boy.  He’s still a good actor and I’m sure he’ll bring something special to the role. Much as I will miss Matt Smith, I’m looking forward to seeing what Capaldi has to offer. If anything, perhaps the show will calm down a bit now and stop with the endless running around.  As much as I love the New series, I do miss some things about the way Classic Who used to work. 

I just want to say that as a long time Doctor Who fan I’m used to the constant changes that go with the show.  The hardest one for me to adjust to was the departure of Tom Baker.  Apart from the fact he was my first Doctor, he was also the longest running Doctor in the show’s entire 50 year history.  And he was, in my opinion, the best actor to play the role. He played the Doctor for six years. Through most of my childhood.  In all my years of following the show, one thing I have learned is that no actor is bigger than the show. And I mean NO actor.  Not Tom Baker.  Not David Tennant.  And not Matt Smith.  As much as I will miss him, I will be ready for the next incarnation. 

In its fifty years, Doctor Who has been blessed with some truly remarkable actors playing the title role.  Every one of them has been replaced by a quality actor, stepping up to fill the shoes of the previous actor.  I am confident that Peter Capaldi will not disappoint.  Any true Doctor Who fan will accept and welcome the new actor.  The king is dead.  Long live the king.

Whatever else happens, the show will go on. And on.  And on.  Here’s to the next fifty years of travelling in the TARDIS.