Monday, October 14, 2013

Doctor Who

Doctor Who is something I've gotten into only in the last couple of years, and it's already become one of my core favorite franchises.

For those uninitiated:
Doctor Who follows the adventures of a mysterious alien man—known only as "the Doctor"—as he travels through all of time and space in his ship, the TARDIS.

Doctor Who is a staple of British culture, but it's gaining more and more popularity worldwide, especially in the United States. It's also the longest-running science fiction TV series of all time, spanning 33 seasons (soon to be 34). However, although Doctor Who technically has 33 seasons, the show was relaunched in 2005 after a hiatus, and no viewing of the previous 26 seasons is required. Just hop on Netflix, look up "Doctor Who" (not "Classic Doctor Who") and start watching. The first season is a bit rough, but stick with it—it quickly gets amazing.

One of the reasons that DW has lasted so long is that the show is able to reinvent itself as it goes along. The character of the Doctor, being a Time Lord, is able to "regenerate" when near death, taking on a new physical body and personality. Because of this, new actors are able to assume the role of the Doctor, constantly keeping the show fresh and new. The current Doctor, played by Matt Smith, is the eleventh Doctor, with a twelfth to be introduced later this year.

The reason I love Doctor Who most is that, at its core, it's a story of endless fun and adventure. It's an oft-random, cartoonish-yet-dramatic story that can go from mind-bogglingly silly to darkly serious at a moments' notice—yet never so serious that it can't turn out happy by the end. The science fiction genre is dominated by shows and movies that are grim, dramatic, and "realistic." In a world where the ultra-serious Battlestar Galactica reigns supreme, Doctor Who stands out as a bright spot of joy. It's not shallow or childish, but it's mature enough to realize that stories can be emotional and fun at the same time. Even more than that, Doctor Who is an optimistic tale: one where altruism wins out, and the hero always does his best to save lives rather than take them.

Modern Doctor Who is well-written, well-acted, and endlessly imaginative. It'll likely be one of my favorite shows forever.

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