Monday, December 2, 2013

Allow me a moment to gush about Doctor Who

The perception filter has broken. Oh, I was wrong, so wonderfully wrong when I reported I disliked Steve Moffat's leadership on Doctor Who, when I said I hated Amy Pond, when I stated I merely liked Matt Smith as the Doctor. It is with great pleasure that I admit my mistake and my boneheaded belief that Chris Eccleston and David Tennant are the greatest Doctors of my adulthood. They are not.



What's great about Doctor Who is at its worst it's like a catchy pop song you wouldn't admit you liked to save your life. At its best it's a far more culturally-important LOST with actual answers to the many questions it raises. The answers are so brilliantly unexpected, yet at the same time you slap your forehead and say, "But of course! The clues were hiding there in plain view all along!"

I loved it when we simply knew who was going to be in the Pandorica when it finally opened, but we were wrong. I loved that in the very next episode when the box opens again it's not the same person who we last saw in the box, but an unexpected character who all-but winks at the camera and acknowledges our confusion with these fantastic words: "Okay, kid, this is where it gets complicated." Chills, friend, when the iconic and heart-pumping title music fades in. That's the point we know we're in for an episode that's far more challenging and unique than anything typical television has to offer.

I love that the timelines are as easy to follow as tangled pasta. I love that we nerds who take these matters way too seriously can argue about what's paradoxical, what isn't, and what makes no sense at all and why it makes all the sense in the world. I love that the most whacky and unexpected stories can so easily slip into the accepted canon as if they were designed to be there from the beginning. I love that when the universe's many stars explode it looks just like a Vincent van Gogh painting; van Gogh, of course, is a recurring character on the show. Above all I love that we have a show that already took us to the bleak and unavoidable end of the universe, then destroys it all over again in an episode that successfully combines all of the Doctors most memorable enemies.

The moment I knew I liked Matt Smith the most was the episode in which he's told, "Good guys can never win because they have too many rules." His response: "Good guys don't need rules. You're about to find out why I have so many of them." I've been longing for a darker Doctor for ages. That little bit of dialogue made both of my hearts swell.

I'm glad, too, that all good things must come to a definite end, and Matt Smith's rein is nearly over. I'm very enthusiastic that the next Doctor will be the more seasoned Peter Capaldi; until now, each actor who played the Doctor has been younger than the one before him. While I would have liked a female Doctor (yes, it happens from time to time in the story universe, but so far never on screen), I'm glad they're going back to an older guy. Somehow it rubs me the wrong way when a character who's a thousand years old is portrayed by actors as young as me.

Doctor Who can never be rebooted in the Hollywood sense, it can never be remade or copied. But that's just because it never grows stagnant; it's constantly changing, forcing us to follow it through the good times and bad, the old familiar and the new uncomfortable. It is the farthest thing from the traditional sitcom, which comforts the viewer, which says it's okay to turn your brain off. It's not okay, not ever, to just sit there and go numb. The Doctor continuously reminds us of this fact and everyone who watches it is rewarded.

I'm closing in on the final episodes available on Netflix streaming and will watch the seventh series on Amazon Prime. So no, I haven't even seen the 50th anniversary yet. So expect more DW stuff in the near future.

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