Author: Jay-Rey (@jay_rey)
Its weird. I started out these articles with the intention of just trying to grasp what made the series so popular. A little over a month later I am totally caught up with the series. Instead of getting a peak, I have been sucked into a world of blue boxes, time travel, and british people.
I’ll try not to go too deep into the plot of the show at this point. I am 5 seasons ahead of where I should be because I couldn’t stop. But its worth it to explain what happened to me while I watched the show. And hopefully this last article will serve as a gateway for Whovians to get their friends into the show.
Doctor Who isn’t for everyone. I said that from the get go and as I was watching it last night, that remains to be the truth. The most obvious comparison I can make is a light hearted Star Trek. We meet interesting new creatures, some looking better than others (CGI and make up, not do-ability), we go to different time periods and societies, and we get pseudo scientific explanations that only need to be so accurate, since its all fake anyways.
To relate this to the staff of For The Blog, Donna might enjoy it. She seems to be one of the more well rounded of us here and she would enjoy the adventure with the Doctor. Naz, well I don’t think he would. Naz is a bit more of a core-nerd. He likes things from their roots and he likes fads before they become fads. CR wouldn’t enjoy it either, I imagine. Its not as clever as some of the things he likes tend to be and its not deep enough to feel like you need to be invested.
I would be the one who becomes biggest fan on our site. And I have.
The bonds the Doctor creates with him companions tend to be really well developed by the end of a particular stories run. Rose had to get to know two different Doctors, but by the end of her tenure with each one, there was a meaningful relationship to be found. Martha Jones suffered by being in the Shadow of Rose, and the relationship that evolved between Doctor #10 and her made sense, as well. Donna, the surprise companion I didn’t see coming, expect to like, or even think I’d miss, changed the rules for what these new companions had put in place. She was no love interest. Just an ordinary woman hanging out with an extraordinary fellow traveling across time and space. And I think its these friendships that make the show so great to me.
There is some really potent content after season 4. The Doctor, traveling alone, has a bit of a social crisis. Afraid of what his adventures does to his companions (Rose and Donna being the more tragic of the others), he decides to travel alone. He makes some mistakes, and has no one to keep his personality in check. It takes him till the very end to realize the importance of his companions, before his very emotional goodbye.
At this point I had issues. But I have had this issue all along, to some degree. The show is designed to be one that fluctuates. When companions leave, there is a learning curve and a new personality to get used to. When the Doctor regenerates, there is a new hero, a new delivery system, and the show really does change drastically. Series 5 is when all of these create the perfect storm.
I hated Matt Smith. He looks like a foot. He felt too young to be a 900 year old Time Lord. And he is the angriest Doctor out of the rebooted series. He yells at his companions, he is much more aggressive toward his enemies, and seems to be the most incapable Doctor out of the 3 to be alone. But thats all surface stuff. He actually isn’t such a bad guy, and in the long run, his existence makes sense. The Doctor is a man who is capable of great things. He is also capable of some epically horrific things. And because of this, he lives his life galavanting around with friends to forget his troubles, hence the younger appearance and attitude.
It took a while, but he did feel like the Doctor at some point. The transition wasn’t easy with Steven Moffat taking over. I am a huge fan of his series Coupling. But I felt like he had a rocky start as the new show runner. Too much new all at once. All of a sudden, the start of Series 5 felt surprisingly un-Doctor Who to me. But thats how it goes. It changes. Its a theme of the show as it is the production of it as well. But it always pays off to wait it out.
I really enjoyed Amy and Rory. They were a nice addition. Perhaps 1 dimensional at times, but sometimes you need that simplicity when your titular character is bouncing all over the place. Amy is your typical fiery red head. What I like about her is her willingness to jump into things. This is something Rose grew into. Amy is raring to go immediately. As a side note, it is said that she was too sexy for a family show. And while there is some merit to that claim (an entire season of skirts, boots, and fishnets can be submitted as proof), it is rarely referenced. She runs and jumps and fights just like any other companion, skirt or otherwise. There were two moments of creepy sexual tension between her and the Doctor (in stark contrast to the genuine love developed by 10 and Rose), but I thought it was funny. Rory has also been said to be too typical of your dopey obedient boyfriend. But he grows to be a much more valuable character than Micky did by the end of his appearances. And Rory feels organic. It was just a nice group dynamic between the three.
Last night, I finished Season 7. And I won’t lie. I cried midway through the season. Its emotional. You get invested. And after the David Tennant specials, you realize the Doctor needs his companions more than they need him. Matt Smith does a great job showing his dependence on his friends and makes every bump, good or bad, felt deep.
Dammit, I was summarizing. The show is good. Like Firefly, like Star Trek, like Battle Star Galactica, and other science fiction classics, it moves forward unflinchingly. The stories that are hinted at during the first series of the reboot come to head in the series 7 finale. And are hit on the head even more during the 50th anniversary episode. By the time we are here, the show looks like a movie, every episode. The stories are tighter. The humor is right on the mark and the world is rich and cohesive.
Its a show that was made with the intention of gaining loyal fans. And where it betrays new viewers, it stands by its existing audience with unwavering confidence. Doctor Who is Doctor Who and it knows what its doing. You’re either along for the ride or you aren’t.
If you’re new, I would say you still gotta start with the 9th Doctor. Even if you’re not watching every episode with your full attention, it helps. David Tennant is where the show really picks up, so if you really want to, you can skip ahead to here. Its a show that if you want to get into it, all you have to put forth is the time to watch it. Its a TV show like any other. It has bad episodes and it has great episodes. It has moments of fluctuations where you’re not sure if what just happened should have, and it has times where its obvious the story will take you to a certain place. You’ll hate some characters, you’ll love some. I say all this because I don’t want to be blamed for saying its a perfect show. But for some of you, it really is.