My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 1)

Author: Jay-Rey (@jay_rey)

(The 11 Doctors: Via Arstechnica.net)

Much like the staff of For the Blog!, I am a nerd. I enjoy things that tend to be slightly obscure, or non-mainstream (though that is quickly changing with the success of comic themed movies). And as such, I have been going to the New York Comic Convention for years now. And as the years progress, there is a trend that I never understood from the source, but watched from a distance: Doctor Who. Every year, fellows and lady-folk wearing suits, glasses, the occasional fez, and holding the iconic Sonic Screwdriver would fill the isles of the busy showroom floor. Posters would appear at booths selling Doctor merchandise. And everyone seemed to be into something I wasn’t…

Spoilers after the jump.

But I couldn’t let that stand! Heck, I watched the first season of My Little Pony. so that when I voiced opinions I wouldn’t be coming from a totally uninformed place. I watched Adventure Time when my friends urged me to do so. When I can’t get my hands on the comic or video, I’ll read every wiki article I can find. I don’t have to like it, but by Thor, I will sit and watch and read what I can for the sake of understanding where my geek country men are coming from. So I set off on my adventure with Doctor Who.

After looking it over, I decided to start with the 2005 revival of the show. It was the most closely connected to the current run of the show, and was written as a means of introducing new viewers to the franchise. So after months of having it in my Instant Queue (now called My List…thanks Netflix), I gave the Doctor my attention.

For 13 episodes, I watched the 9th Doctor and his new companion, Rose Tyler, travel through space and time. I didn’t know anything about the show prior, other than it was essentially a sci-fi and sci-fan type show. I was unprepared for the less than stellar graphics, the outdated CGI, and the camp. Oh my goodness. The image of the TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) traveling through the time vortex was weird. It looked only slightly better than images from the 90’s cartoon Reboot. And the whimsical attitude of the Doctor, portrayed by Chris Eccleston, felt weird. Almost forced. The last time I recall seeing Eccleston was as the rape-tastic major in 28 Days Later. To see him as this light hearted adventurer was something that took me a few episodes to get used to.

The show has the Doctor and Rose travel to different situations in time and space. Some are ridiculous, some are boring, and some are heart wrenching. Unlike My Little Pony, I found my self slighted invested in what happens. But at this point I would like to admit I have cheated. I know something that many who started watching in 2005. I know of the Time War.

(Daleks: Via BBC.CO.UK)

From my loose understanding, the Time War was a huge battle between Time Lords (of which the Doctor is one) and the Daleks (which are this weird, butt plug with a laser looking creatures). Since both sides were able to go back and forth in time, the battle raged on from anywhere to minutes, to thousands of years. So much time traveling occurred during the war, that the war itself has become time locked. Essentially, it is impossible to go back. The time and space continuum is so delicate at this point, the universe could be destroyed. It sounds bad ass. Much more bad ass then these weird, inter-dimensional vampire zombie things that the Doctor, Rose, and Chuck Dickens have to defeat. Yea, you heard me. The dude who wrote A Christmas Carol.

But what is the most bad ass, and what is to me as the current series big who-done-it, is the Doctor’s roll in the Time War. By the end of the war, the entire race of Time Lords and Daleks are erradicated. The Doctor is the sole survivor. And he had something to do with the demise of both races. Already a man who doesn’t like to use guns, or kill anything directly, the post Time War Doctor has a weight on his shoulders. With the upcoming 50th anniversary special, as well as the 12th Doctor being cast, some big things may happen. And it may answer some huge questions about the Time War.

So I know this, and if you read all that, you do too. So I pressed on. The 40 minute run time for me was too long for some episodes. Even longer when episodes spanned two episodes. But every once in a while, something really big happened. The episode with Rose and her father made me especially teary eyed, though I still say its because I was cutting onions for that lasagna. You also start to see that the “future” is changing. Things that the Doctor knows will happen, don’t. Things are shifted around, and the duo have to fix what they can.

Billie Piper plays Rose, the 19 year old girl who helps the Doctor defeat the bad guy from the first episode. On a whim, she joins him in the TARDIS and stays with him for the long haul. She has her own “crew” back in present day london, including her mother and her possible-maybe-ex-or-current boyfriend Mickey.

The tension between Rose and the Doctor is weird. She is 19, he is like, 1000. Sure, he is a star traveling adventurer, but the guy has two hearts. And I don’t know if the companion relationship is usually semi-sexually charged. There is definitely love. But it goes in and out of romantic love and familial love. Its as confusing as it is to understand some of the things the Doctor explains.

I think, in the end, I normally wouldn’t keep watching. Technically, I stopped for a few months after the second episode because I was so bored. But the idea of the Time war is interesting. David Tennant, who is the 10th Doctor, and a fan favorite, is introduced in the Series 1 Finale. And some revelations that the 11th Doctor stumbles on seem like game changers for the franchise. There is a charm in Doctor Who. Similar to why I watch the original Star Wars trilogy, or why I love Hackers so much. The show knows what it is and where it came from. It could probably do much better, but the show is Doctor Who. It fills those shoes well. It was built on certain pretenses and sticks to them despite the changing mentality of todays society.  And by the end of the 1st series, I was a fan.

It took a turn from classic Doctor Who to be a little darker (at least from what I’ve been told). The Doctor does have some real inner demons and that makes me more inclined to connect with him. Now that Rose is an actual help by the end of the 1st series, she serves as a great ally who has grown exponentially in the course of 13 episodes. I am in the middle of Series 2, and will post again. I won’t be cosplaying as the Doctor or the TARDIS next year. I might not even update my online dating profiles to include the show in the “Shows I Watch” section. But who knows? Maybe by the 2nd or 3rd series, I will be a Whovian.

But lets all keep calm.

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8 Comments

Filed under Rant

8 responses to “My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 1)

  1. chorenn

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about your experience with Doctor Who! It’s really nice to hear about someone else’s experiences, especially when they’re so well-expressed. Thoughts like these help me when I’m trying to introduce friends to the show.

    I was in your shoes about 3 months ago, though I already knew about the series when I started watching the Ninth Doctor’s season – my husband was a lifelong fan of the classic series, so I knew a lot about the history even though I had never watched it. (We took so long to pick up the new series because he didn’t want to ruin his memories of the old one.) As soon as I saw “Rose,” I was hooked. I can definitely see why the first season is difficult to get into as a newbie – while Mr. Eccelston’s performance as the Doctor is superb, the episode writing was less than stellar. I think you’ll find that the writing improves by leaps and bounds in the next season – I tell my friends trying out Doctor Who for the first time to stick through the second season before making a decision on it. The Tenth Doctor is also more relatable. Good luck!

    • I appreciate the kind words! It started off just as a general inquiry into something that seemed to have such hardcore fans: Whats all the hullabaloo? But after watching it, I get it. It has the same qualities that creates Trekkers, Star Wars fanatics, and other classic science fiction franchises. And I agree, I am half way through the second series, and while its still a little slow for me (but thats an American talking), I am still enjoying myself.

      • chorenn

        Oh, I know! I get hooked on shows (Trek, Firefly, Marvel movies, etc.), but haven’t ever been as obsessed about any other show as I am about Doctor Who. I’m an anglophile, and I went in with the expectation of rubbery monsters and slow plots (while I love the classic episodes I’ve seen, they are interminable!), so I think it doesn’t bother me too much. And even though I’m not so fond of the Eleventh Doctor, I still find his shows to be enjoyable. I hope that you continue to enjoy it all! And that you find some shows that really pull at your heartstrings (“Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood” is my favorite).

      • I think the team here at For The Bl0g was excited about me giving the show a try. We are all into a bunch of different stuff and Doctor Who was something that none of us tried. And your excitement for the show is just more motivation for keeping on. I hope to post one of these after each season, so hopefully you’ll be back to check it out!

      • chorenn

        Sure! I just followed. I’d love to see what you think as you go along!

  2. Pingback: My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 2) | For The Blog

  3. Pingback: My Adventures with Doctor Who (Series 3 and Beyond) | For The Blog

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