Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who-A Fifty Year Legacy In Just Under Two Years

                     Fifty years ago today,the BBC launched what was intended to be an educational program for preteens/adolescents. Current series producer Steven Moffat,when asked about how the original creators of the series would've responded to the current Doctor Who. He indicated that he felt they would be shocked at how much the show has endured from their intentions. Though one thing I noticed is he didn't speak of it in particularly cynical terms. Very to no Doctor Who admirers/Whovians speak or think of the show in this manner. Its such a broad construct,the TARDIS openly admitted in the un-aired Doctor Who pilot by William Hartnell himself as a metaphor for the huge world presented to the audience of the small television screen. There is so much one interested person could say about Doctor Who. Since an unending journey through time and space is so intimidating,might be best to merely offer a perspective.

               One of the main reasons this blog was started was because I was a Star Trek admirer. It's view of a more hopeful future  had a strong therapeutic influence on my developing mind-even in difficult times. Basically I had to stand by and watch Star Trek die a slow death-both literally and as a strong cultural influence. It got lost in nostalgia. And never came back to television either. Than I started learning more about Doctor Who. It was not a case of a fan of one science fiction TV show transferring devotion to another. Doctor Who actually took time to grow on me. And that's appropriate because time is the central theme of Doctor Who. Not just time travel,but the place of all life within it. Because Star Trek existed at a time before I had access to internet,the opportunity to discuss my feelings about it never happened. So I started this blog to share my views on the show,and the episodes as I saw them. For Doctor Who,half a century has passed. For Doctor Who in my life,not quite yet two years. So here is what I have to offer.

               Sometimes it is important to face reality. And the reality is we live in a society that's still extremely closed to a strong consciousness. It doesn't matter if its a social consciousness or a more personal one. Seems as though more and more things in life are presented to us to laugh at,rather than laugh with. And "drama" has become an insult-to be used when a genuinely serious matter is discussed. Doctor Who itself was actually born out of a vital twin consciousness. When the show premiered this day in 1963,no Americans were seeing it in their own country. They were preoccupied with the shattering assassination of President John Kennedy,a man who symbolically inspired an entire generation to ask what they could do for their country. England was equally shaken,and the show wasn't given much notice at first. But Doctor Who endured,just as the world endured the slaying of JFK. Doctor Who was cancelled twice in its original run. And both times came back. And even though the second time it took fifteen years to do so,it still came back.

              When Doctor Who returned in 2005,it was to what I've heard call the Net 2.0 generation. The world was filled with new technology-all designed with the greatest hopes it would somehow bring human beings together. Instead human beings were finding ways to use this new digital technology to shut out what else was going on around them. From the first episode of the "new who" as some call it entitled "Rose",that very situations was addressed. The doctors ninth incarnation,played by Christopher Eccleston took one Rose Tyler to show her many worlds were you didn't only have to face reality,but where reality was totally flexible. This new doctor was tortured by the loss of the other time lords and his home planet Galifrey in the last great time war. The character has regenerated twice since then. And is about to yet again as Matt Smith's 11th incarnation is about to regenerate into a 12th played by actor Peter Capaldi. Though originally began as a way to replace the original actor portraying the doctor William Hartnell,it is also now representative of humanity's ability to revive itself from seemingly impossible odds.

               On a personal level,the one thing I've learned to appreciate most about Doctor Who is it's enduring message of friendship,love and understanding.  While a mysterious character who occasionally is frustrated with humanity's slow progression,the doctor is a character who never gives up on a race his fourth incarnation,played by Tom Baker described as "indomitable". In recent years he has even been able to see himself through the eyes of his enemies who see him,as Dalek creator Davros once described him as "the destroyer of worlds". The doctor is grown from a mildly sinister character kidnapping two school teachers in his time travelling police box that was "bigger on the inside" to someone who has seen the many sides of humanity,come to grips with his own lonliness and is at last coming to realize he cannot outrun the identity he has been hiding since he first denied his true identity by bestowing upon himself the name of "the doctor".

             That overall message of love and understanding is something that extends to Doctor Who admirers as well. Speaking again from a personal perspective,the one thing that really makes Doctor Who such a special part in my life is how influential the character of the doctor is on the lives of those companions who travel with him-both human and sometimes otherwise. If only for a brief moment sometimes,they are led into a new way of looking at life or even being the universes savior by being in the doctors presence. And mostly without his direct guidance. As a person who is still overcoming the many odds against them by periodically re-arranging their consciousness rather than making myself into someone they aren't,the implied method of influence the doctor has with his travelling companions is what I'd described as a very positive one. In a society that often tries hard to dismiss consciousness as only the result of drug use,where people interested in creative things deacribe themselves as "music nerd" or "Star Trek geek"-echoing seemingly enforced self hatred,its my pleasure to wish a very happy birthday to this TV show about this time and space travelling character who bestowed upon himself the name of...the doctor.


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