The Unexpected Side of Doctor Who


Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans!

For those of you enjoying a long weekend (and just in general), the urge to do a little binge watching might be an option.  There was a recent article about the cons of binge watching, and I have learned this first hand.  Not all shows are meant to be watched in such a manner, of course there are exceptions…the following is not one of them.

I haven’t paid for television in about three years, and even before I found it hard to keep up with everything anyway, so my television viewing has been altered.  If they don’t stream it, then I don’t watch it, until Netflix or the like picks it up, and then the binge happens.

Case in point, Doctor Who.  I really didn’t know anything about this show before now, in part because I didn’t know anyone who watched it.  If I lived in England, as I long to, this would obviously never have happened.  I had caught one episode years ago that left me clueless as to what was going on, and because I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, I didn’t seek the show out again.  Circle around to present day, there’s a lot of talk about the new doctor and the premiere of the new season (or series, in England), I have found people who in fact watch it, and I thought, “I am a geek.  I should know about this.” and so the binge begins.  *Side note, I’m one of those that ignores the bandwagon, or tries to, so says my stubborn mind.  If everybody loves something, and I didn’t get in on it early, it takes me a really, really long time to come around and give in.  I could give lots of examples, but that’s for another day.  I’m sure this is some remnant from my stubborn youth.

So I decide to jump on the Doctor Who bandwagon, starting with the newer episodes that began in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston (who I loved from Elizabeth – he was the villain as the Duke of Norfolk, but more recently he was Malekith in Thor: The Dark World.), not those (not yet anyway) that are now considered “Classic” Doctor Who that began in 1963.  Here’s a quick synopsis, for those of you who have no idea, like I did…

“The Doctor” is a time and space traveling, nearly immortal, 900 year old alien known as a Time Lord.  Their race regenerates when they are near death, and hence, a new Doctor is born.  (This is why there are numerous Doctors.  Technically, they are the same “person”, having taken a new form, and although the memories and knowledge of all his years remain, each new Doctor has a different personality.)  A deadly war with the Daleks has left him alone as the last of his kind, so he travels endlessly in his space ship which is disguised as a blue police phone box known as the Tardis.  He usually finds an attractive English woman to join him along his journeys to show her the universe and to sate his loneliness.

I am on to my third Doctor, Matt Smith, but it is due to the events that precede him that I have stalled in my viewing.  Here is what I shall describe as “the unexpected side” of Doctor Who. *No spoilers, I promise.

It is surprisingly depressing.  There is a bit of a corny, campy nature in The Doctor, and yet there is often a great deal of tragedy either happening or in the works.  The writers will kill people off, separate them, and create a loneliness in The Doctor that is so palpable, I just want to give him a hug, often.  I already cry at everything, but this show has really struck me on occasion, causing me to sob, twice, but most nights when I’m done watching, I’m just depressed.  It’s not the happy go lucky show it presents itself on the surface, or maybe that’s just what I thought it was going to be.  This is the conundrum of having a character like The Doctor who is quirky, witty, and so likeable placed among such heavy handed themes, such as saving the world (a lot), offering salvation to your archenemy, watching people sacrifice themselves for your salvation, and losing the one you love to a rift between parallel worlds.

Gracious.  Someone could have warned me.

During David Tennant’s 10th Doctor era, who quickly became my favorite person with his tall, lanky, great hair, and adorable face -ness, there were a few moments that made me not want to watch the show any further.  And when it was time for yet another new Doctor, because I was so fond of the last one, it was like starting a brand new show, and my affections do not wane so easily.

The show is brilliant in its imaginative inventiveness.  It has created dozens of races and worlds, crazy story lines, and it is a joy to watch…in small increments.  Take my word for it.  Many episodes have been written by Steven Moffat or Mark Gatiss, of Sherlock fame, and if you’re an avid fan of British tv and film, there are lots of guest appearances from familiar faces.  As a screenwriter, this show would be great to write a spec for, because you can do almost anything.  Some of the episodes are so…well, strange, but as a writer it would be so freeing.  So on that level, it’s good to watch.  And once you do, you’ll probably be hooked, like I am.  I just need a little more time to become accustomed to a new face, which is why you get so much time off between seasons…

Have a great weekend everyone!  And here’s to binge watching! 😉


2 thoughts on “The Unexpected Side of Doctor Who

  1. The gap between the 10th and 11th doctors was all the more pronounced because he was alone in transition, which isn’t always the case. (See Rose and the 9th doctor). It just seemed so lonely.

    While you’re taking a break you should watch the spinoff Torchwood that follows captain Jack. Warning. It is very very dark and disturbing.


    • Oh, Rose…I’ve been having a conversation with my DW friends about which is our favorite Doctor and all the ups and downs since I posted this. The show’s premise is so different from any other, that each Doctor takes a little adjustment. So I’m still sulking over the loss of 10.

      Dark and disturbing? I think you just sold me on it. 🙂 I liked Captain Jack, and had planned on watching at least a few episodes to see if it was something I’d be interested in. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s