Celebrating the Doctor: 50 Years of Time Travel and Saving the Universe

I admit I’m a Whovian.

I get giddy when I see a blue box.  I have one of the theme songs as a ring tone.  I freak out every time I hear the words “exterminate” or “delete”.

I also think bow ties are cool.

And as October ends and November is about to begin, I will join with other Whovians to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the longest-running television series of all time: Dr. Who.

I’m excited over the 50th anniversary special, not only because of the spoilers I’ve heard about (Daleks!  The mysterious other incarnation of the Doctor!  Will we actually get to see the Time War and Gallifrey?!), but also because my favorite incarnation of the Doctor, the 10th (played by the amazing David Tennant), will be joining #11 (the also amazing Matt Smith) to save time and the universe once more.

Doctor Who is a show that I’ve been watching for a number of years now.  Ever since I accidentally stumbled upon it (it aired after my favorite show at the time, “Robin Hood”), I’ve enjoyed many of the episodes and characters.  The show is funny, adventurous, dramatic, and (at times) even frightening.  But what I think has made me love the show the most is the character of the Doctor himself.

Grant it, I’m partial to the 10th Doctor.  He was the first Doctor I saw and he has always been (and probably always will be) my favorite.  But his character was so unique and different when compared to other characters of stories I had been witness to.  Most characters do not have many traits that make them complex.  They’re often flat or have a few dominant traits that outshine any others they may have in their personality.  If they’re the hero, they display heroism.  If they’re the villain, they’re good at being bad.  And unless it’s a biographical story, you don’t get much hinting on what the past was like for them before the story began.

This is what set the 10th Doctor apart for me.  At first glance, he’s zany, brilliant, and awkwardly “adorkable” (adorable yet nerdy is the best way I can describe it).  He’s a genius alien traveling around in a blue box that wears a suit and Converse sneakers.  Judging by outward appearance, you’d think he’s the mad scientist type-which in some ways, he is.  But then if you put him in certain situations, or place him with other characters, you see pieces of the Doctor’s personality come forth.  He isn’t just some funny smart guy.  He’s compassionate to the point it hurts.  He’s haunted by a terrible war that destroyed everything he knew.  His wrath could destroy civilizations (and has).  He’s a pacifistic warrior.  He portrays both strength and weakness-burdened by guilt and the past yet so powerful he could destroy the Universe in a blink.

But that’s what makes him such a great character.  His complexity makes him unique.  Even though he’s supposed to be an alien, he’s so completely human.

And that’s what made me watch Dr. Who.  Because in the 10th Doctor I saw a character who had an excuse to become a villain or who could have had a destiny to just be another smart man.  Instead, he chose to be a hero.  And he chose to be a hero to a species he could have easily ignored-the human race.

It’s an amazing feat that a single television show can last for so long.  50 years-half a century!  And yet still it goes on.  11 men have played the Doctor so far (with a 12th on the way), and while each actor brings his own uniqueness to the character, the story remains the same.

Time traveling alien goes around saving the universe.

But it’s that meshing of uniqueness and familiarity that makes Doctor Who so lasting.  Each doctor is different, but the same. Yet it is character that defines each Doctor.  It is character that sets them apart.

So cheers to the BBC and the creators, writers, producers, and actors of all 50 years on Doctor Who.  You’ve all done a wonderful job with the series so far, and I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years brings!

2 thoughts on “Celebrating the Doctor: 50 Years of Time Travel and Saving the Universe

  1. I’m afraid the last season has somewhat dampened my enthusiasm for the show. Hopefully I’ll like this season better, but if not there are always the classics available to watch (over and over and over) on Netflix.

    • I agree. Though I like Matt Smith and have enjoyed some of his episodes, the story lines found with the 10th were more enjoyable for me! Here’s hoping for a better series come December!

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