I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dr Who, science fiction icon

A long time ago, back when I was in college, I turned on the local PBS station one rainy Saturday afternoon just to pass the time discovered Dr. Who.  I'd heard vague mentions of it on campus among the Anglophiles but had never really had any interest in this British Science Fiction series.  To my surprise, I liked it.  That was during the Tom Baker years, the fourth doctor.  While in the UK the show was telecast as a half hour syndicated series WITF played an entire story arc in one sitting, so I watched 2 hours of the doctor.  This happened every Saturday and the station was wise enough to play catch up telecasting most of the episodes of the previous 3 doctors.  I was hooked and continued to watch it until they ran out of episodes because the show had been cancelled.  The writers had started running out of creative steam when Sylvester McCoy took over the roll.  Actually, it had begun its downward spiral during the previous doctor's run, played by an actor whose name I can not remember.  If I missed a show it was "who cares, nothing important was going to happen."  When the series was rebooted and was aired on the SciFi channel I thought I'd give it a chance and to my surprise it was fairly good.  This did not mean I set my alarm clock.  Then David Tennant took over the roll and something happened.  I still wasn't setting my alarm clock, but surprisingly they had a doctor who reminded me of Tom Baker, not in appearance, but in adventurous spirit.  This was a doctor who had purpose.  I wasn't the only one who took notice, a lot of people did and the show became so popular BBC America began airing the episodes the same day in the US as in the UK.  The explanation was to keep viewers from downloading it.  I suspect it had more to do with the knowledge they had an international hit on their hands.  How rare is that?

My first doctor

Today there are fan sites galore.  Search Dr. Who and the results are simply amazing.  There is an overload if information.  Episodes have been deconstructed to the the point where analysis is almost lost.  Even the most minute detail about previous shows has been made public.  I don't go to fan sites nor do I go to conventions where if the doctor isn't there you can bet you'll get a chance to see one his companions, new and old.  I don't think that all those years ago when someone decided to begin putting this show on the air the were creating an icon, but they did.  It isn't popularity that keeps it going, it's durability.

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