November 24, 2013

Doctor Who is 50

My favorite television show has turned fifty.  On November 23, 1963, Doctor Who aired for the first time.  There has been a borderline obnoxious amount of media coverage about this (at least in British media, which is admittedly what I read more than American media), so I wasn't going to blog about it.  However, I watched the anniversary special this weekend, and it reminded me of how deeply I love this show.  And so, on a blog named Reversing the Polarity, at least some mention should be made of the big 50th anniversary.  

the first opening credits

I have watched and loved Doctor Who for as long as I remember watching television.  When I was a kid, two local PBS stations aired the show.  This was long before the days when everything was accessible via the internet.  I could see Doctor Who twice a week, and I was lucky to get that.  I have vivid memories of Saturday nights spent in front of the tv, watching NJN, seeing the Prydonians of Princeton man the phones during pledge drives.  I wanted to BE a Prydonian of Princeton, dammit.  I doubt they admitted ten-year-olds to their ranks.  I remember bonding with friends over Doctor Who, like being a Whovian was belonging to a secret club.  We had found this special show that no one else knew about.  I still bond with my friends over Doctor Who!  

four Doctors; from left- 1st, 5th, 3rd, 2nd

What makes the Doctor resonate with me is that he is a thinking hero.  He uses his intelligence to solve problems and get out of trouble.  He very rarely fights or uses a gun (except the 3rd Doctor, who did sometimes use Venusian karate).  He prefers diplomacy to battle.  He is good, in the truest sense of the word.  He helps those who need it.  The Doctor cares.  He does what is right.  The Doctor made my younger self want to be a Time Lord.  I still want to be a Time Lord, but it's probably not as acceptable to admit that when you are in your thirties.  

the Doctor in formal Gallifreyan garb

When I discovered the episodes with Romana, a female Time Lord just as clever as the Doctor, I grew even more enamored of the show.  Being a fan of science fiction when you are a woman means you get used to reading books and watching tv shows and movies without women in them.  If women are present, they are there to be saved, not do the saving.  Princess Leias and Wonder Women are rare.  Here was my favorite show giving me exactly what I yearned for- Romana was the Doctor's equal.  She didn't run around screaming in fear at everything.  She wasn't there for the sole purpose of being rescued.  She was a hero, too.  

the 4th Doctor and Romana

Sometimes I grumble that I like old Who better than the new version.  Well, of course I do.  I grew up with Classic Who.  The wobbly sets, bad special effects, and endless running through corridors and quarries don't bother me one bit.  The stories and characters are still great.  I dare anyone to watch the episode "City of Death" and not love it, even if the part with Scaroth's ship looks like it could have been me filming my Star Wars toys.  

Scaroth's Jaggaroth ship

Truthfully, I wasn't especially excited for the anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor."  From what I had heard in advance, I didn't think it was going to be anything special.  Was I ever wrong.  It was wonderful.  It had little references to Classic Who, it was funny, and it made me excited for the future direction of the show.  It had all the goodness of the previous multiple-Doctor episodes.  

10th and 11th Doctors (r to l); David Tennant = still cute

Doctor Who has been with me my whole life.  It's my go-to show when I'm down or bored or don't know what to watch.  Here's to fifty more years!  


  1. Great post! It's always nice hearing people talk about what they love about their favorite things. Thanks for writing it!

    1. Thanks! I'm still toying with starting from the beginning and watching them all in order.

    2. Hartnell's okay, but you can skip the Troughton years.

    3. You know you love the 2nd Doctor.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...