My Journey Through Doctor Who
Today I have reached a milestone on a journey that has taken me nearly a year.
It began at Chicago TARDIS last year, when I picked up my copy of the book Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers. I spent the weekend adding lots of autographs to it – I know several of those 160 writers!
After the con I sat down to read. I decided to start like I always do – with my friends’ essays first. I chose to read my friend Sarah’s essay, and though she doesn’t know it (well, she will now I guess), she sparked an idea. Her essay talked about sound and how it was so important in the serial. I had not seen that particular serial and I thought, this would be even better if I had just seen the serial before reading this!
So I made it my New Year’s resolution to watch ALL of Doctor Who, in order, from Unearthly Child to The Name of the Doctor. After each serial, I’d read the accompanying essay from Outside In.
Tonight, I finished the biggest chunk, the classic series, with the television movie starring the Eighth Doctor. Since I’d already seen all of New Who before this journey, I have now officially seen all of Doctor Who at least once.
This has been an interesting journey to say the least. It started out slowly, with frequent trips to recreation land as I traveled through the wastelands of the first two Doctors whose body of work was nearly destroyed by the BBC. As I traveled on, I started grabbing DVDs from the library when they were available.
Reading the different perspectives in Outside In added an additional layer to the journey. It was fun to see how the different writers’ opinions sometimes meshed with mine and sometimes differed.
I’ve also gained a new perspective on the eleven amazing gentlemen who have portrayed the title role. Going into this, Four was my Doctor; Ten and Eleven were toward the top; One and Six were toward the bottom. Coming out of it, my ordering is way different. Four is still my Doctor, and ever will be MY Doctor. I may have started with Ten (my first episode was “Daleks in Manhattan”), but once I began to watch more of the classic series the more I fell for Tom.
The new Doctors have actually fallen pretty far in my rankings as I’ve discovered the different classic Doctors. One is more than just a cranky old man, when given the right situation he could be downright cunning and clever (oh how fun was “Reign of Terror” for clever manipulative One!). Two was more than just a clown. The team of Two and Jamie was simply fantastic!! Three could really kick butt when the chips were down, and what a snazzy dresser!! Four….oh, Four. My Doctor. He could move from playing dumb to throw people off the scent to cleverly manipulating the situation to his advantage to cheerfully taking his companions on mind-boggling adventures. Five was one of the few classic Doctors to fall in my rankings. While he was still an excellent Doctor, he was a bit too bland for my taste. Six, now that I’ve seen all of his televised adventures, was a way better Doctor than the writers gave him credit for. Big Finish really redeemed him, but I could see a glimmer of the real Six under the bad writing. But “The Two Doctors” was a great romp, really my favorite of the team-ups. Six and Jamie make a terrific pair, Jamie is a much better foil for Six than Peri. Seven flipped between clownish and manipulating with amazing skill and made me swoon every time he rolled his r’s. Once Mel left and he teamed up with Ace, they made a great team and I really wish they had gotten a season or two more – they worked so well together.
In ten days, Doctor Who celebrates its 50th anniversary. 26 seasons of classic Who, 7 seasons of new Who, plus a TV movie, two spin-off series, two spin-off movies, and a spin-off pilot. Not to mention countless Big Finish audiobooks and tie-in novels from multiple publishers. The show’s popularity is greater than ever – the anniversary episode will be broadcast simultaneously across the world, there’s Doctor Who merchandise available at mainstream stores like Hot Topic and Spirit Halloween, and Doctor Who cosplayers can be found in droves at fan conventions everywhere.
I can’t wait for the week after the anniversary, when Chicago TARDIS celebrates fifty years with three Doctors, several companions, and a number of writers. While I enjoy hanging out with fellow Doctor Who fans at other conventions or at the photoshoots my friend and I run, nothing compares to CT, where the focus is entirely on Doctor Who. This will be my first year staffing the convention, which will be a new adventure itself!
So here’s to fifty years! I’ve enjoyed my romp through the first 33 of them, and I look forward to spending the next ten days revisiting the other 17! And of course, I can’t wait to see what new adventures are in store when the Twelfth Doctor joins us next month!