Originally I wasn’t planning to write anything about this TV show, despite the anniversary it’s celebrating today. But after thinking it over, I realized just how wrong it would be to not write at least something about it. I continue my series of analyses of storytelling in mediums beyond the forum of books, and while it’s been a mere five days since I did my previous entry in honor of the ending of “Glee,” today I wanted to touch briefly upon the phenomenal sci-fi series from BBC that’s celebrating a decade since its return to the airwaves. The show that I’m talking about, of course, is “Doctor Who.”
While November 23, 2013 was significant in the matters of marking half a century since the first episode ever of “Doctor Who” first aired, today brings a different meaning. 16 years after the final episode of the original series aired and nine years after its television movie, March 26, 2005 was the day a new series of “Doctor Who” premiered. Starring Christopher Eccleston as the then newest regeneration of the Doctor and Billie Piper as his companion, Rose Tyler, the story continued on as a Time Lord- known only as the Doctor- heads out on his adventures with his various companions as he travels through time and space in his TARDIS (which appears as an old British police box). On his adventures, he not only fights the scariest of creatures one may ever dare to face- the Daleks definitely coming to mind as one of them- but he also saves civilizations all throughout time and all over the universe.
Already prior to the reboot, the show had been a cult phenomenon; not only to the viewers in the show’s native Britain, but also all over the world. Ever since the show has returned, the phenomenon has continued to grow more and more and is nowhere near stopping. The show is now filming for its ninth series where the Doctor is currently played by Peter Capaldi, whereas Jenna Coleman plays the recent companion, Clara Oswald.
Even though the rebooted series premiered in 2005, being as weird as I am, I did not see it until a friend showed it to me on Netflix in late 2011, having never seen any of the classic “Doctor Who” episodes at all. Despite it all, that first episode of the new series, “Rose,” was enough to where I was immediately hooked, and I haven’t looked back since.
Like any show, it has it weak spots at times. But for the most part, I see now why it’s been a cult phenomenon for as long as it has. This show brings the most incredible storytelling about good and evil, about escapism, about successes and regrets, and about this one man who we think we know well, but there’s constantly a mystery harboring him. The show is a thrill ride for the ultimate of optimists, about not only what could happen over the course of the not-so linear time line, but also the possibilities of what is out there; in space and then some. It makes you think and see life differently, about its meaning, and what it is you really want out of it. Is it no surprise that many pages of my quote books are devoted to lines spoken from “Doctor Who”?
The series has been blossoming and growing since its reboot a decade ago, which is why I look to the future, and wonder where the series will be in another ten years from now. Either way, as history has made evident, “Doctor Who” will never be a passing phase from the pop culture subconscious. With its strong storytelling and huge following, it will not so much linger, as it will continue to dominate. After all, I think I speak for many when I say that there needs to be more shows out there that hone the kind of spirit that “Doctor Who” has.
“There’s quite a difference, isn’t there, between what was and what should have been. There’s an awful lot of one but there’s an infinity of the other.” -Eleventh Doctor, “The Rings of Akhaten,” “Doctor Who”