Channel Surfers – Doctor Who

This is another post for Channel Surfers that is going to be less of a review and more of me loving a certain show to death and wanting you all to watch it. It’s a really great show and now is as good a time as any to watch it, a new season is starting, presumably on the 25th of August, and well…it’s just a great show. So here we go!

Doctor Who first aired on the BBC in 1963, it was originally intended as a family program and more of an educational show, using time travel as a means to travel to important times in the world’s history and explore scientific ideas. It quickly gained popularity and instead of running for the planned one year it lasted for 26 seasons. The show focused around a time traveler called The Doctor who was a Time Lord, he explored space and time with various companions in his TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space). In the first 26 seasons the show went through 7 different actors who played The Doctor. How is this possible? Very simply actually, everything can be answered by the phrase “Wibbly Wobbley Timey Wimy”. There’s actually a much better reason behind it, I just wanted to throw that in at some point in this post and wasn’t sure where to do it.

The Doctor is not a human, he may look human and sometimes act human, but he is very much an alien. He is a Time Lord from the great planet of Gallifrey. From what I understand of the show, not every Gallifreyian is a Time Lord, one must, as I’ve interpreted it up until this point, look into the Untempered Schism to become a Time Lord. What does that mean? I’m not really sure. How does all of this explain how The Doctor can be played by, as of this moment I’m writing this, 11 different actors? Well I’m getting to that, calm down. Time Lords have a very unique ability, if they are dying they can set their body into a regeneration process. This means, that as long as their hearts (they have two hearts) are beating they can change themselves, every cell in their body changes creating, essentially, a new Doctor, a new but still same Doctor. Thus 11 different Doctors.

Doctors 1-11

I can’t really say much about the original series (1963 -1989) as I’ve only really just started watching it all the way through as much as I can. I’ve seen various episodes from the original but I’m just now watching all 26 seasons from the beginning. I can tell you this though, a lot of the original episodes were lost, first through third Doctor, for various reasons, so if you can find a website that has them all you are very lucky. After the cancellation of the series, FOX, Universal, BBC, and BBC Worldwide got together and produced a made for television movie that had the Eighth Doctor in it, sadly this has been the only time we’ve seen the Eighth. The movie wasn’t received all that well so the show never picked up in America as was the intention. Then in 2005 a man named Russell T. Davies(RTD) hit gold by bringing the show back from the dead.

After a sixteen year hiatus RTD did what no one thought could happen, he brought back Doctor Who in grand form. With Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor Davies made a fantastic show that was good for all ages once more, but with very adult themes and some intense content. With absolutely spectacular stories, such as The Empty Child the show created a massive following that is still building to this day. Sadly Eccleston only signed on for one season, but he brought the show something it desperately needed: A well known actor in a beloved TV Franchise. After Eccleston regenerated we were introduced to a new Doctor, a much more light hearted, but still at times angry war veteran, in David Tennant’s portrayal of the Tenth Doctor. He quickly became a fan favourite and got some of the greatest stories in my not so humble and always correct opinion: The Girl In The Fireplace, Blink, and The Doctor’s Daughter to name a few. David went though 3 main companions in his time and at the end of his three season run did five specials to round off his story line. His regeneration was very emotional and this Gentleman shed very manly tears while he uttered the words “I don’t want to go!” right before he changed into the current Doctor.

 

Not only was Tennant gone after these five specials but so was Russell T Davies. He left with a bang though, they both did, The End of Time was a powerful special that wrapped up that era of Doctor Who very well. Davies then passed the reins to Steven Moffat who has written most of my favourite episodes, all of which had been received very well, so it was really a logical choice to pass the show off to Moffat. When Matt Smith came in many people where skeptical about how well he would do after the legendary run of David Tennant. I for one was not fond of giving my heart to the Tenth and then having it ripped out as he regenerated and now have to trust my emotions to a complete stranger. That is until the episode The Vampires of Venice. Up until that point Matt hadn’t done much to impress me but suddenly, in that episode he found who he was as The Eleventh Doctor, and I fell in love with his portrayal, especially after the episode Vincent and the Doctor. A lot of people that I’ve talked to still don’t like him, but that is because they are all still in love with David Tennant and his Tenth Doctor, all of these people are also women, correlation there? Maybe.

One of the most important part of Doctor Who are the amazing villains that populate the Whoniverse. Many of the Doctor’s enemies have their appearance in the new incarnation of the show such as The Silurians, Daleks, and Cybermen, and even more new villains have been added in the new show like The Weeping Angels, The Silence, and The Dream Lord. But I think, most importantly is The Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Joker to his Batman, The Master. The two were friends when they were younger but when they looked into the Untempered Schism two very different things happened, The Doctor saw what was good in the universe and chose from that day on to help people, where as something happened to The Master to make him choose a different path, a path of evil and chaos. He isn’t introduced into the new series until series 3 but he quickly becomes a reoccurring character until the end of Tennant’s reign as The Doctor. He is a complex villain who has also gone through many degenerations and it would take me a whole new post to even begin to scratch the surface of what goes on between these two. Villains are very important in this universe, and The Master is at the top of that list.

The Many Faces of The Master

I know I haven’t really given you the best idea of what Doctor Who is about but let me try to summarize it in this paragraph. Doctor Who is about time travel above all else. It is about the effect that the Doctor can have on his companions, and how life changing he can be. It is about friendships and about learning more about yourself. At its heart Doctor Who is a show that can show us who we are as people and what we can do to make the world better, at least it seems like that at times. I love this show with all my heart, it is my favourite show on television and it continues to get better. With crazy story lines, especially series 6, just…wow, this show captures your attention at all times. Since Moffat has taken over each episode, or each two parter, seems like a well thought out, hour long movie. Check out this show, you won’t regret it.

If you are interested in watching Doctor Who but don’t know if you’d like it, I highly suggest watching the episode “The Waters of Mars”, it has everything that is good in Doctor Who without any spoilers for the series as a whole, plus it has David Tennant in it.

I’d really love to tell you more about the show, but as River Song would say “Spoilers!”

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Follow Nathan on Twitter @Nait93.

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