Tuesday, December 27, 2011

900 Years of Time and Space-Part One


In 2005 a series was reborn.  Doctor Who came back to our television screens with the episode Rose and I was hooked.  Of course, it came out on DVD in the US before it ever aired on television, but I didn't buy it then.  I waited until the SciFi Channel aired the first episode.  Right after watching that I was on Amazon faster than you can say regeneration.

The Complete First Series
And once I started, I couldn't stop.

I ate season one up.  Christopher Eccleston's Doctor was a raw and gritty war veteran, damaged by a Time War that made him the last of his kind. Somehow though, he managed to have a sense of humor and was even a little flirty, which was adorable.  He was a 900 year old Timelord from Gallifrey, and you could relate to his pain completely. 

His companion was Rose Tyler.  A 19 year old shop girl from London who lost her job when a mad old Timelord blew it up.  He took her hand and told her to run.  She did, and she never looked back. 

Rose represented the audience, a new generation of people seeing The Doctor for the first time.  I saw the doctor through her eyes and watched as she experienced the wonder of all of time and space.  From 5 billion years in the future to Dickensian England to the day her dad died, all the way to the re-emergence of The Doctor's most feared foe-The Daleks.

I'm not going to lie, I cried like a baby at the end of The Parting of Ways, penned by show helmer Russell T. Davies, and then watched with baited breath as a new Doctor emerged.

I was a little worried.

I didn't need to be.  By the end of The Christmas Invasion, which was the first Christmas special, I had a favorite Doctor.  David Tennant burst on the screen in a flurry of regeneration energy.  A hyperactive doctor with a lot of cheek.


The Complete Second Series
Rose was once again on a journey of discovery, but so was The Doctor.  Regeneration means The Doctor becomes a whole new man, and he had no idea what kind of man (Timelord) he was.  This journey took us to New New York, the return of the redoubtable Sarah Jane Smith, an alternate universe where we meet another old foe of The Doctors, a planet orbiting a black hole, the Olympics in London in 2012, to Doomsday.  By the end of the season, I was as in love with The Doctor as Rose was. 

But, the end of the season brought with it great sadness.  Billie Piper, who played Rose, was leaving the show.  The 2 part season finale Army of Ghosts and Doomsday was, again, penned by show helmer Russell T. Davies and it was absolutely heart wrenching.  Add to that Murray Gold's haunting score and you are helpless.  The tears will fall.  For months I would cry everytime I watched the end of Doomsday, and even now, when I feel particularly bad about something and I watch the episode, I still cry.

Then came the Christmas special that introduced my favorite companion-Donna Noble.

The Runaway Bride!!!
Catherine Tate's Donna was a wonderful foil for David Tennant's Doctor.  Just as brash and rude as The Doctor can be, but also wonderfully naive, and all she wants to do is get married...on Christmas.  She reminds The Doctor that he needs someone, even when he thinks he doesn't.

And I think I'll stop here for now.  You know, before the "Judoon platoon upon the moon" arrives.  I still have 4 seasons and 7 specials to go, so this little love letter to Doctor Who may take a few posts.  This show has quickly become one of my favorite things on TV, if not my favorite.

The Doctors ability to make everything seem wonderful, even when it's scary, speaks to the child in all of us.  And, given that this kids show has some very adult themes, that's not very surprising.  At it's core, Doctor Who seems to be about hope, and that is a wonderful thing indeed.

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