The Sci-fi Fantasy Reader's Review

My Comments on Science Fiction / Fantasy Books and other related media.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Doctor Who, revisited for the 50th Anniversary

My first encounter with Doctor Who was in the late 1970's.  It was shown on PBS and back in those days we were at least 2 years behind in the broadcasting of the series from the UK.  I have grown to love this science-fiction televison show over the years and this November marks the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.
The Tardis (toy)

Dr. Who started as a children's show back in 1963 but through popularity became an iconic science-fiction television show for all ages.  Watching Dr. Who revisited on BBC, I heard many who were great fans of the show.  The television show was family-orientated and some of the interviewees recalled being scared stiff as a child watching the Daleks on Dr. Who.  It's funny with the hooky special effects but at the time with low budget for the TV show, you have to admire the ingenuity.

I started watching when Tom Baker was the 4th Doctor.  We would be at a friends place watching the show while listening to  music and partying. I really didn't understand the whole concept until later when I would watch the show on PBS with my husband and children.  I got hooked, it was a well written sci-fi/ fantasy show and at the time I was devouring the genre in books.

We would also rent VHS cassettes of Dr Who starting with Tom Baker then progressed with the other doctors, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy, all Doctors until 1989 when the show was cancelled.  Then there is a nine year hiatus of the show until 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth Dr Who. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't a fan of the new show. I'm what is called a "Classic Doctor Who fan" so it took me awhile to start watching the new series which started for me with Matt Smith as the 11th doctor. So I worked backwards in time watching the other episodes. And I made me wonder more about the story line, it didn't make sense for this Classic Who fan.

There seemed to be gaps in the timeline.  With Christopher Eccleston, we're told all the TIme Lords and the Daleks were exterminated by the Doctor. He is now the only Time Lord left. But the Daleks keep coming back as the Doctor's nemesis. What happened to Ramona, the Time Lord that traveled with the 4th Doctor, who ended up in E Space? Then there's Susan, his granddaughter who was his first companion, what happened to her?  I also wondered why they started with the 9th Doctor, what about the 8th?

My grandson is a great classic Doctor Who fan and one day we rented the "Doctor Who" movie. It is an American made film from 1996, set in San Francisco on the New Years Eve of 1999.  I feel in love with Paul McGann as the 8th Dr Who.  He fit so well as the Doctor with his own set of quirkiness.  It sadden me that the eighth Doctor wasn't expanded into the new series in 2005. I'm told by my grandson, Aidan, that there was a debate going on in the Whovian world, if Paul McGann's doctor should count on the original timeline or if he was from an alternative universe. Then in the episode of "Family of Blood and Human Nature" with David Tenent as the 10th Doctor Who, the question was answered.  In the diary of the doctor it showed the 8th doctor as Paul McGann so now it was legitimized.

The 11th Doctor, Matt Smith will be regenerating in the Christmas Special. Now the question is how will Peter Capaldi portray the Doctor. Where will he get his character traits from?  Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy took different aspects of William Hartnell's charactor of the 1st Doctor Who. Matt Smith choose to emulate Patrick Troughton, the 2nd Doctor.  The Classic Doctor's were able to take the character of Doctor Who and make it their own.

50 years is a long time for a television show to be on air even with the cancellation.  Doctor Who spans generations, all with their own favorite Doctors. Lets hope it continues for many more years.

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