Friday, October 4, 2013

All the Who You Can Have

It is finished.

After six months and over a hundred episodes on Netflix, DVD and Amazon, we have finally caught up on Doctor Who.  We are current.  There are no more spoilers we have to watch out for out there on the internet.  We have seen all there is to be seen of the rebooted post-2005 series.

Whatever shall we do with ourselves now? 

There are six more weeks until the next episode, and we’ll have to wait with the rest of the world.  That’s the nice thing about a backlog – it’s always there when you want it.  Now we will have to watch one week at a time like everyone else.

Two words: Classic Who.

Also: Torchwood.  So that’s 50% more words.  What a bargain.

It’s been a nice family project, this Doctor Who marathon.  We started with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, and worked our way through David Tennant and his rotating cast of companions, and then Matt Smith and his.  We’ve done it in order.  And we did it as a family, all together in the living room (or, in the case of the one Amazon episode, huddled around my computer).  There aren’t many things we get to do as a whole family these days, between our various jobs and tasks and interests, so it was good to have this one.  It was kind of a throwback to the old days before cable, when there were only so many shows and entire communities would settle in to see the same event at the same time.

Hey – you have your family traditions.  We have ours.

I wasn’t sure I’d like it when we started.  I’m not sure why, really – they couldn’t ask for a more perfectly targeted demographic for their audience than me, between my general addiction to SF/F as a genre and my localized Anglophilia when it comes to cultural matters.  But as any Whovian will tell you, after a few episodes that all those doubts went by the wayside. 

Hooked.  Absolutely, shamelessly hooked.

I enjoyed the energy that Eccleston brought to the role, and the weary thoughtfulness of David Tennant.  I’ve liked Matt Smith’s gleeful take on the character as well, though it took him a long time to stop playing the Doctor as a temperamental twit.  Oh well.  That’s the writing for you.

I’ve gone through Rose’s brave humanity, Martha’s unfazed acceptance of novelty, and Donna’s irritating sass.  Jack Harkness still makes me smile because how can you not?  I miss Wilf’s sense of family and place, and the Ponds’ sense of home.  I’m still not sure about Clara, but Craig’s goofy charm stays with me still.

You can’t take the show all that seriously.  It’s about a madman in a box who always seems to turn up where there is trouble and who refuses to let things go too far wrong.  But we need more madmen like that, madmen who can show us what it means to be human and how far you have to travel sometimes to find out what was inside you all along.  It’s weird and humane and you can’t ask for much more than that.

No, you can’t take that too seriously.  Nor can you dismiss it too lightly.

It’s been quite a ride.


vince said...

I've been a Whovian since the Jon Pertwee era, with my favorite of the classic Who Doctors being Tom Baker. The late Douglas Adams wrote quite a few of the Tom Baker episodes.

To someone used to modern special effects, the classic episodes can sometimes seem pretty cheesy, but given both the budget and the technology available, I think they did a good job.

David said...

The writing is what makes the series (which is one of the reasons why Series 7 of the new series was a bit disappointing), so I'm not too worried about the special effects. I hope Netflix has the Douglas Adams episodes. :)

Beatrice Desper said...

Speaking of cheesy special effects, does anybody out there admit to watching "the Invaders?"

David said...

Honestly, I don't think I've ever run into that show before. I'll admit to a lot of goofy cultural choices, but this one is beyond me!

vince said...

The Invaders? Now there's a TV series I haven't thought of in a very long time.