Doctor Who, 50 years later.

This should be subtitled, “In which I dump a stream of consciousness about my favorite TV show.”

I first discovered Doctor Who in the mid-1980’s. It aired on PBS Thursday nights, and we were about ten years behind so my first Doctor was a goofy bohemian with a bag of jelly babies and a ridiculously long scarf.

To this day, scarves feel uncomfortably short to me right up until they become awkwardly long.

So last Saturday, the 23rd, was the 50th anniversary of the show. It originally aired on that one day during which John F. Kennedy was dead and Lee Harvey Oswald still lived. The show’s been a major part of geek culture worldwide and British culture in general. The spaceship disguised as a police box is especially fun to me, because while police boxes would have been a fairly common sight in Britain in 1963, they’re now almost forgotten except for this show.

The fandom is one of my favorite parts of this show. Here is a comic-form story called The Ten Doctors (also available for download here), which is overflowing with little nods and continuity gags for long-time fans of the show. The author clearly knows the old show better than I do, he’s done several more Dr. Who fanfics, and just started his own 50th anniversary special titled The 23 Doctors!

There will be spoilers for the Day of the Doctor after the jump, but first a short film all Doctor Who fans should see, whether or not they’ve seen the 50th anniversary special yet. Androids and gentlebeings, I present to you Night of the Doctor.

I wish we’d had more of Paul McGann playing the Doctor on-screen, but if you like his portrayal of the Eighth Doctor you can hear him in many excellent audioplays by Big Finish Audio.

I loved the 50th anniversary special, but I keep feeling like it was incomplete somehow. The Zygon plot just sort of vanished, and there was something really interesting going on there!

The idea that they had to negotiate terms without knowing which would apply to them, personally, appeals to me greatly. Sure, it’s obviously impossible, but so what? Try to imagine writing up a treaty when you had no idea which set of terms would apply to you and which to your opposite. How fair would you be? What loopholes would you leave?

Although I liked John Hurt as the War Doctor, I would have preferred McGann’s Eighth. Not only has he been seriously neglected in screen-time, but I liked him, he was optimistic and kind, yet had a serious dark streak. I could see him in the time war, doing all those things.

Also, now the count is screwed up. Turns out the 9th, 10th & 11th Doctors were actually the 10th, 11th, & 12th. Worse, rumor has it that the near-regeneration at the end of season 4 counted, so David Tennant was the 11th and 12th Doctors, leaving Matt Smith the final 13th! This leaves an important question about how the Doctor is going to be able to regenerate again, since Time Lords are generally only able to do it 12 times.

There are a few outs, though. The 12 regeneration limit has always been framed as something that can be bent or broken. The Master was offered a whole new set of regenerations back in the classic series, and actually granted it in the time war, for example. If Gallifrey stands, the Doctor may well be able to get more.

We already know he’ll regenerate once more, since the 13th Doctor showed up at the finale! That was a surprisingly awesome moment, though it was just a flash of his eyes. I’m looking forward to seeing him played by an actor who’s older than me again, for a change.

Last, but certainly not least, I need to make a reference to the very end of Day of the Doctor, where Tom Baker spoke to Matt Smith. Tom Baker was the first Doctor I met, nearly 30 years ago, and your first Doctor always has a special place in your heart. I’m amazed by how old he looks, but that’s television for you. People age while the recordings stay the same. I had a similar thought about David Tennant, standing there obviously not nearly as thin as he used to be while Matt Smith goes on about how thin he is. Weird.

The last time I saw the Doctor have an actual quest, Tom Baker was still in the role, so it seems fitting to me that he be the one to start this quest off. I’m excited about a television show again for the first time in ages, though I’ll be watching it on Amazon Instant Video instead of a television set.

And now I’m going to bed, I’ve been writing this silly thing for hours and all I really wanted to do was post the video. Have a good night everyone!

About Leo Tarvi

Mostly fictional.

Posted on November 28, 2013, in Daily Post and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Comically, although I had probably seen Doctor Who when I was much younger, I don’t remember it at all. My ‘first doctor’ is David Tennant. lol. Still my favorite.

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