A Whovian Experience

It’s Labor Day weekend. Meaning I don’t have to go into work until Tuesday. …which actually kind of messes me over, since I’m supposed to be going home this weekend and now I can’t leave until Thursday after work if I want to get all of my hours in.

Woe is me.

The benefit of the long weekend, however, is my getting to sit down and get work done! Like reading all the reviews and comments for “Camp Gethsemane” and getting in on the editing process, which needs to be done in November.

Yeah, that’s not even close to what I’ve been doing. I will get back into that starting this weekend, though. I just really need someone to start kicking me in the butt about it. Probably should be myself… I’ll get it done. No worries. Well, lots of worries, I just can’t worry about them.

No, what I have been doing is watching the British TV show “Doctor Who.” You may have heard of the show. It’s the single longest running science fiction show ever. Longest American sci-fi show (and I think second longest ever) is actually “Stargate: SG-1,” which ran for 10 seasons. “Doctor Who” ran from 1963 to 1986, 1987 to 1989, in 1996, and then was booted back up in 2005, running to the present. In total, 35 years, and Wikipedia tells me they’ve run 784 televised installments. Compare that to “Stargate”‘s

Now, because “Doctor Who” has been running so long, it’s gone through tons of changes. The central character, the Doctor, has been portrayed by eleven different actors, in fact. His regenerative abilities allow for the story to make sense with changing actors. Most notable after that, though, is the “reboot” brought about by Russell T. Davies. I say “reboot” because I can’t actually think of a better word. It’s more like a… revival, actually. That’s a much better word. After nearly 10 years in stasis, Davies brought about a revival in 2005, one that got most of the younger generation, especially the younger American generation, hooked.

So, as a nerd, one who’s seen all of “Babylon 5” and “Stargate: SG-1” and “Stargate: Atlantis” and “Firefly” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and oodles more sci-fi TV shows, you’d think I’d be right on top of this one, right?

Well, not really, no.

Here’s how my experience with “Doctor Who” went. I had many several friends very into the show back in its early days of the revival. As in, literally, 2005. I had friends in the U.K. and in America trying to get me to watch the show. So I said, alright. I’ll watch it.

I watched the first two episodes, “Rose” and “The End of the World,” with Christopher Eccleston playing the Ninth Doctor. Aaaaaaaaaaand I really didn’t like them much at all. The writing was poor, as I saw it. There were holes and hokey references, stilted dialogue… it just seemed bad. I gave up on the show, despite my friends screaming “It gets better, we swear!”

Time jump to summer of 2010. I was vacationing with my family for the first time since childhood, staying at our time share resort in Massanutten, Va. We turn on the TV at some point out of boredom and flip through the channels randomly. Suddenly, we land on BBC America, and I’m watching David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in the last bits of the episode “Silence in the Library,” written by Stephen Moffat of “Sherlock” fame (and, of course, “Doctor Who” fame, taking over for Davies as head writer in 2010).

And then, “Forest of the Dead” came on. After which came “Midnight.” A lot of my friends posit that those three episodes are the best Tennant episodes ever. Whether I agree or not remains to be seen, but they were quite good. I started reconsidering watching the show again.

Zooming to fall of 2011, I still hadn’t picked the show back up. Then my sister showed me a humorous four part “Doctor Who” spoof called “Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death,” which was quite entertaining. So I decided to go to the library and check the DVDs out.

Unfortunately, all of Eccleston was checked out. So I decided to grab the first available season they had: Tennant’s first season, with Rose Tyler as his companion.

And I enjoyed it. I really did. Still, life and lethargy got in the way and I didn’t actually pick the show back up until… this weekend. Well, after being slightly forced a week or two ago by my roommate, who made me watch “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances.” Partly to try and get me to love Eccleston.

Either way, I’m watching the show. I’ve finished with Eccleston, and now I’m a few episodes into Tennant’s second companion Martha Jones. I still like Tennant better than Eccleston, but the writing for Eccleston greatly improved past those first two episodes and handled his character with much greater finesse. And I actually liked Rose. I know many who didn’t, for whatever reason. But I liked her. Donna is almost certainly going to be my favorite, though. “The Runaway Bride” was simply fantastic.

Anyway. I’ve had so many friends incredulous (and nearly crazy-murdery eyed) at my lack of “Doctor Who” immersion. So, just to let them and the world know, I am getting into it. And it is, so far, quite good. And after all, I have to at least get through to the Neil Gaiman written episode. Otherwise my nerd-cred is almost completely obsolete.

So please don’t murder me.

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2 thoughts on “A Whovian Experience

  1. mharper says:

    Since I only recently came to the Doctor Who craze (via a free Netflix trial)…and watched all the seasons up to Matt Smith (in a month–can’t waste free shit), I’m a little late to the party and would probably be viewed by the Who faithful as a little bandwagon-jumper. But here goes….

    I’d noticed so much about Tennant, and so little about Eccleston, that I was a little confused at first that I had to wait a season (if you will) to see Tennant. But then it occurred to me that all the hype I was hearing about Tennant was largely coming from other women. While attractiveness is subjective, etc, etc, I’m willing to bet that a lot of people (or at least female viewers) find Tennant more attractive (or sexier, or adorable, or whatever) than Eccleston.

    Consider this, too–the Doctor’s companions, while beautiful women all, are not really portrayed as sexy (in the American let-me-throw-my-boobs-at-you kind of way–maybe ‘sexy’ is a bad adjective there). They’re…wholesome? Girl-next-door? There’s romance in the series, but not sex (well, there’s Capt. Jack…).

    All this is to say, in very broad brush-strokes, that the Doctor Who series, as a sci-fi series, probably has a greater appeal to a (heterosexual) female audience. You have an attractive male lead whose female co-stars are average women; compare this with, say, some of the eye-candy on the various Star Trek series (I’m lookin’ at you, Deanna Troi and Seven of Nine), There’s never the pressure on these female co-stars to be sexy or perform sexually–which is probably a (subconscious) relief for most women who are inundated with media demanding they be and act and do sexy all the time–and that this is the sum of their character and place in life.

    Also, David Tennant is effin’ hot. He was in a miniseries production of Casanova, which I want to watch, but I’ll probably have to take a cold shower immediately after viewing.

  2. musingsofamadgradstudent says:

    The Neil Gaiman episode is *amazing.* Easily one of the best episodes of the entire series.

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