Saturday, January 10, 2009

You'll Come Back, When It's Over

Doctor Whonow?

So I’ve found myself on quite the Doctor Who kick this past year. Why is this? Why, after nineteen years of repressing scary images from my PBS-filled childhood, am I drawn back to the Vortex? The doomy aliens? Let us examine!

About a year and a half ago, my live journal friends page began to get infected with images and reviews of the new series, mostly due to the abundance of David Tennant fan girls with which I am surrounded. My interest was mildly piqued, but that is about it. For you see, I have a precious few vivid memories of the classic series, specifically the Tom Baker years that were once aired on PBS semi-regularly. This was back in The Dark Ages, when we only got two television stations anyway. For some reason, my elder sister was hooked on the program, mostly due to Sarah Jane and K-9. I liked Sarah Jane as well. She fit my four-year-old concept of beauty: Dark Hair, pale, big eyes, short…pretty much what my mother looked like when she was younger, haha.

But Dear God In Heaven, did those b-movie-caliber, bubble-wrap aliens SCARE ME TO DEATH. I can trace my current fear of maggots, slugs, and the like directly to The Ark In Space, in fact. Oh sure, as an adult you can see all the seams and the bubblewrap and the paper mache’, but when you are little? All you see is a giant slug that looks just as tangible on screen as the actors nearby. Doctor Who was SCARY STUFF, man. All the pretty heroines, robot dogs and excellent scarves could not change this fact!

And so here I am, and they’ve had the audacity to go and start the madness up again. But again, I did not pay the new series much mind, aside from a vague mental note to check it out sometime. And then this past summer, I was here at my parents’ house and there was a marathon of Season 1 on SciFi, so, lacking anything else to do while knitting, I turned it on. And was instantly addicted. There was adventure, there were far better special effects, there was the same mad Doctor with a new face, and there was the pretty companion…who was awesome, frankly.

I’ll admit, I generally have no love for bottle-blonde chavs in bright pink hoodies, but Rose Tyler was singular. Her first Doctor was a Time Lord who’d just survived a genocide, a bitter, rude, caustic dude. And she was, in his words, just so HUMAN. There was a dynamic there that hooked me, she was his conscience and his friend and eventually (in the words of RTD) the love of his exceptionally long life, and she had a heart big enough for the universe. And she didn’t go around fainting every other episode either, which was a nice change (sorry, Sarah Jane). And while I love everyone else the new series introduced, Donna Noble especially, it was totally Rose who first got me watching. The companions are the eyes of the viewers, and she was a very good set of eyes to view the universe with.

And now I’m going back and watching the classic series again, and it’s delightful! The effects are still ghastly of course, but as an adult even those don’t ruin what are some of the best, mostly-family-friendly adventures. Painstakingly created worlds and clever plots abound, adventure, danger, romance, terror, and the ever so gimmicky, wonderful twist of The Doctor being able to Regenerate when close to death…IT NEVER HAS TO END! I’m actually really excited with the recent casting of The Doctor’s 11th Regeneration, I was really excited when Steven Moffat took over and trust his writerly-instincts implicitly. And I’m so glad that until the 2010 season, there’s so much for me to rediscover with grown-up eyes…40-some years worth, actually!

It has everything, I love Doctor Who, and you should too ;)

(The last two minutes are the two minutes that had me completely hooked, sigh)

~ Amy


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