Monday, July 23, 2012

Doctor Who?

       Doctor Who was not a love at first watching for me.  I watched the 2005 season's first few episodes, and was left confused and not overly committed to it.  However, BBC-America played a more recent episode featuring Matt Smith as the Doctor, and I found myself utterly hooked.  It featured Weeping Angels, creatures who were frozen whenever looked on by a living thing, but deadly killers if you even blinked your eyes.  With renewed interest, I set to watching the reboot of 2005 featuring Chris Eccleston as the Doctor, a powerful and ancient timelord who travels through time and space to help the humanity he so desperately wants to be a part of, befriended humans and fighting off creatures along the way.  It is both big and epic and  simple and silly all at once.  
        One of the key features of Doctor Who, and one of the reasons it has been around in England for fifty years, is because of its ability to regenerate.  The Doctor regenerates into different men, always staying fundamentally himself.  This allows for new actors to play him in new and delightful ways.  David Tennant took over in 2006, becoming the much beloved 10th Doctor.  He brought energy and heart to the role, allowing the Doctor to fall in love with his traveling companion and face an ultimate sacrifice with dignity and soul.  When Matt Smith became the 11th Doctor, there was concern he wouldn't live up to Tennant's performance.  However, Smith created a beloved nutty professor of a Doctor whose thoughts, actions, power, and love can't be contained.  Instead, they spill out of him in clumsy abandon.  Steven Moffat, who also runs the BBC's Sherlock, stands at the helm of the show, writing multiple episodes and creating a universe bigger than the Doctor.  
       Children and adults love Doctor Who in Great Britain.  The love has grown in America as well, with thousands flocking to Comic Con to catch a glimpse of Matt Smith and his human companions.  If you are a Doctor Who newbie, I'd recommend starting with Season 5 of the reboot, which is when Matt Smith takes over as the Doctor.  It is rather self-contained and easy to pick up from there.  If you become hooked, go back to Eccleston and Tennant, or even further back.  The Doctor travels through space and time in the Tardis, a spaceship shaped like an old-school police box.  It is, as the show loves to point out, "bigger on the inside."  I'd argue that the show itself is much, much bigger on the inside.
      Check out the trailer for Season 5 here.

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