They’re everywhere! Just over a year ago I had no clue who this “Doctor Who” character was and now I’m a die-hard fan, one of those affectionately known as a “Whovian.” How did this happen?
The origin of my story probably dates back to a lifetime fascination with science fiction/fantasy movies and TV shows. For example, gathering in front of the TV with my dad and sister once a week to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation was a regular ritual for us three. Anything on TV that involved magic and mystery would captivate me back then, from the cheesier shows like Out of this World and Bewitched to the more dramatic shows like Lois and Clark and Early Edition. If I were going to escape into an imaginary universe, that universe would look nothing like the reality I lived in (other than the human-like creatures dwelling there).
The BBC , however, was a bit out-of-my-reach since my parents didn’t have cable while I was growing up and about the only TV shows from the UK that were accessible to me were the ones airing on PBS. I wasn’t introduced to Monty Python or Mr. Bean until some friends told me about them when I was in high school. My dad had a thing for Keeping Up Appearances and it seems there was a show about a gourmet chef as well (was it called Chef, maybe?). That was it.
When I left home for university, television lost it’s draw for me. I studied political science at the time and my more serious classmates were adamantly against the very idea of television. I didn’t want to watch TV either because I hated being subjected to all those pesky commercials. So from the time Star Trek: TNG ended until sometime after university graduation, I shunned the very idea of television. Television, I believed, made people stupid and hindered any possibility of genuine interaction with other human beings. In my inner-circle of friends, television was terribly un-cool. If a TV was in any of our possessions, it was solely for watching DVDs. But, for the most part, computers rendered the necessity for TVs nonexistent.
But with the advent of Web 2.0 facilitating the successful launch of sites like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, the nature of television forever changed. Suddenly I could watch innumerous TV shows commercial-free whenever I wanted. So I began by catching up on old sitcoms from the 1990s and early 2000s. But then I stumbled upon a podcast hosted by Chris Hardwick known as The Nerdist. Chris was passionate about this British show called Doctor Who. I’d been catching up on a few BBC shows like Black Books, The Catherine Tate Show, and The IT Crowd. But Doctor Who was still quite foreign to me.
Nonetheless, I attended my first Phoenix Comicon in 2011 where some of my favorite actors from Star Trek were signing autographs and the great Stan Lee did a Q & A to a completely filled auditorium. I took lots of pictures of young people in cosplay and so enjoyed myself that I came back the following year.
I had the good fortune of meeting an old classmate last year entirely by chance who, like me, was attending comicon alone. So we did a little wandering together and I asked him where to begin if I wanted to start watching Doctor Who. He recommended I begin with the new stuff because it’s easier for someone who’s accustomed to the awesome storytelling and visual affects of today to get into. I took his advice.
The first episode failed to hook me in, but I knew better than to give up right away. So then I watched another episode and another and I began to finally transform into the Whovian I am today.
There was a time I would pride myself in how little I knew about pop-culture. To focus my mind on what I felt were more important things was a badge of honor, so to speak. Our clothes were being made by small children working under horrific conditions in countries far from here yet we turn a blind eye and escape into a world of fantasy that doesn’t seem to add value to our lives at all…(or does it?)
We want to be the change we want to see in the world but if other people are unable to relate to us because we choose to look down upon the masses instead of trying to understand them, nobody will jump on board with our cause. To change the world, we cannot sit on high hoping the rest of the world will climb to our way of thinking. To change the world we first have to learn to love the people who inhabit it as they are.
Doctor Who is a kind of British-homespun superhero who captures the heart of the entire English-speaking world. Is he perfect? Not at all. In fact, for an alien, he’s very human and I think that’s why we fans adore him so much.
Here are some things the Doctor has taught me:
- It is more harmful to feel nothing than to feel any kind of pain or sadness.
- It is possible to feel lonely even when you’re not alone but it’s better, just the same, not to be alone.
- Humanity, despite all our rage and fury, is uniquely beautiful and worth protecting.
- Along with the ups and downs of life, there’s ample time for whimsy and childishness.
- No weapon is any match for a sonic screwdriver.
- Don’t judge by appearances. Remember, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is bigger on the inside.
- Friendship is comprised of unconditional love and emotional vulnerability. Though we will mourn the loss of our companions, we won’t regret knowing them nor will they fade from our memories.
- If your aim is noble, there is nothing to fear.
Why do you love Doctor Who?