Monday, May 31, 2010
Off with the Doctor
Silliness reigns. There is a new Doctor Who and I have neglected posting in order to sit and watch several episodes a night (sometimes over and over). Last year at this time I was waxing poetic and carrying on about my longtime 'affair' with Mr. Spock. Well, the Vulcan has a rival and he's a brilliant, ever-changing Time Lord called 'The Doctor'.
I started watching Dr. Who back in the 1980s when Tom Baker (still 'the' Doctor to many) played the time traveling renegade Time Lord. The series debuted in Britain in 1963 on the day John Kennedy was assassinated. It ran into the 90s and was cancelled. Stephen Spielberg's company attempted to make an American version, but that fell flat. Then, in the 21st century Russell Davies brought the Doctor back full force in one of the craziest, funniest and most improbably popular series the BBC has seen.
When you watched Doctor Who way back when you had to excercise that wonderful capability we humans have to 'willingly suspend disbelief'. For those of you who don't know, the premise of the show is that the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS (time and relative dimensions in space), saving the universe, but mostly the Earth and human beings. He has many arch enemies including the Daleks and Sonatarans, the Silurians and Cybermen. The ideas behind these creatures were wonderful, but in the 80s most of them looked like they were cobbled together with duct tape and construction paper. (Most likely they were as the BBC had little or no funds then.) The Doctor and the acting were the focus of this mainly children's show, and the acting was always quirky and a little corny. That may not have changed, but the production values have come into the 21st century as the show has, and the characters have matured. One difference is the Doctor's companions. Before, it was never shown how knowing the Doctor affected their lives. He would wisk them off to see the universe, to face life and death on a daily basis, and then dump them back in Croydon with not so much as a 'goodbye'. The new series deals with the effects of the Time Lord on the lives of ordinary people like you and me.
Is it still silly? Yes. Wonderfully so!
Anyhow, this post is a shameless endorsement for the new Doctor Who. It is playing on BBC America right now, with new shows airing on Saturday nights at 9:00. (Of course the show reruns every day at different times as everything seems to do nowadays.) The Doctor has recently regenerated. (Eleven different men have played the title role.) The new Doctor is the youngest ever at 27. His name is Matt Smith and I think he is wonderful.
Check it out.
Images of the Doctor and Doctor Who from www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/dw