Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy 45th Anniversary

Lending a moment to let my inner nerd side have air time, I send out a proper Happy 45th Anniversary to BBC television series Doctor Who! The show has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. My stepfather introduced me to the show back in the 70s and I've been hooked ever since.

Oh sure, Doctor Who was always ultra cheesy and campy, but it's been so much fun along the way! Generally, I love the old version that aired on PBS stations more than the current re-imagined vision on BBC America and Sci Fi Channel. My complaint with the newer program ("programme" for my British readers) is stories seem to wrap up too quickly. Back it the day, it wasn't unusual for Tom Baker's Doctor or even Colin Baker's Doctor to have a 12-arc episode storyline. Now? Eccleston's and Tennant's Doctors are lucky to have a two episode arcs. Rush, rush, rush. Plots are on a mad dash to the finish line and resolve themselves lickety split, oh so sloppily, leaving room for continuity errors!

An additional gripe, the newer incarnation has so much death! Before Colin Baker's Doctor, the Davidson, Tom Baker, Pertwee, Troughton, and Hartnell Doctors were able to minimalize casualties, or least leave it implied, never directly shown. With the 2000s' series, never get too attached to any character long, they just might be dead 10 seconds later! The Doctor's companions are no except to the rule either.

Suffering from, "Oh God, while I love traveling in time and space, I really have to get home to pick the lint out of my laundry" syndrome, no current Doctor's companion seems to last longer than half a season or so. What happened to the old days when companions stayed through several incarnations of the Doctor? I miss my Jo Grants, my Sarah Janes, my Leelas, my Tegans...hell, I'd settle for an Adric, a Romana (albeit regenerated) or even an annoying Perpigilliam Brown! Companions always brought a bridge through the series; in-between transitions, when an "old" Doc became "new." And while I'm ever so thankful Sarah Jane has come back to the fold, what about long lost characters I've always wondered about? Like Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter, Tegan the feisty ex-airline flight attendant (back in the day they called her a stewardess, but that would be a trifle sexiest today!), or Ace, the crazy wild girl from Perivale? What became of thee????

Yeah, see I told you I was a geek!

My praise for the newer Doctor Who, though, is episodes have finally inserted characters, regular, reoccurring ones, who are People of Color. With the introduction of Mickey Smith (Noel Clarke) and Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman), Doctor Who finally stepped out of the shadows of de facto segregation, and into the 21st century' idea of equality. Hell, there's even a rumor on the Internet the next Doctor may be Black British actor Pateron Joseph. Hmm. I don't recall any Black Timelords on Gallifrey? Maybe he's from the Southside Branch, LOL.

For you fellow Whovians wondering, "A Black Doctor? Really?!?!" Yep. If the rumors are to be believed, this would be a first! What a daring move on the part of the producers. It'll spice up the show, ruffle some feathers if a Joseph Doctor does comes to pass. There may be backlash, but you know what? Get over it! Black folk are coming to the forefront. We exist. We're not invisible. Get used to us. We don't bite.

Slowly, the outdated concepts of the old Who are leaving and the show is coming into the modern. Equally exciting as the introduction of prominent Black characters, was the debut of character Captain Jack Harkness. The good Captain, a sometimes gay, sometimes bisexual, Lothario is played by pseudo-American actor John Barrowman. John, who actually hails from Scotland, but spent significant time here in the States, truly defines the role. He's a dashing actor! His greatest appeal, for me, is Barrowman happens to be gay in real life!

I'm glad producers got a gay man to play a gay character. In my own personal viewpoint, it's disrespectful to have a non-gay actor play a gay character. I dunno, perhaps I just equate it up there with a non Person of Color playing a Black role? It's just my opinion, you don't have to agree with me.

Captain Jack added such dimension to the Doctor Who Universe. The first man-on-man kiss in DoctorWho? Whoo-hoo! Musta riled up some folks' nerves/ My response? In similar fashion to the thought of prominent Black characters on Who, "We're Queer, Get Used to Us!"!

All in all, good or bad, Doctor Who has endured through trial and tribulation. With the exception of a few breaks in programming over the years, it's the longest running television program in history. So Happy Anniversary to one of my favorite television programs. Here's hoping the Doctor outlives his prescribed 13 regenerations and the show lasts another 45 years or more!

OK, I'm putting the geek back in the bottle again!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

1 comment:

Jimmy said...

I read last week that the next Dr. Who will be black. I'm a big fan of Torchwood, too.


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