Monday, February 21, 2011

Doctor... who?

As far as Doctor Who fans go, I've done a damn poor job of being one. I specifically direct you towards the distressing fact that I have yet to watch all of 10th Doctor's episodes in order and haven't even made a crack at the 11th Doctor yet. Not to mention that I'm forgoing the 9th Doctor until I've caught up with his two successors. This will bring shame to my family.

I think this was because I previously refrained from watching Doctor Who on a more illegal platform than watching episodes on Youtube and my sister brought most of her Doctor Who DVDs to college with her. Now that my morals have gone lax, however, I've been chugging through Season Two (ignoring the 9th Doctor for now, remember) and I'm two episodes away from finishing it. If you follow Doctor Who, you'll understand the horrors that this presents. You see, I've already seen the last two episodes of this season* (or at least the last one) and even though I don't remember all the details, I know what happens. I'm not looking forward to it, especially having followed these characters in subsequent fashion. I sort of want to cry when I think about it, which leads me to the ever-present "why?" Why do I care so much about a show that, if we're being honest, uses more cop-outy "you wouldn't understand, it's alien" excuses than actual explanations of solutions, that somewhat clumsily inserts the Doctor's epiphanies about the wonders of humankind?

(Did you guess that I was going to answer that question? Did you? I bet you did, you clever little monkeys.) I think it's because, like everything that I truly love (excluding people and other living things... so really, I guess I'm just talking about forms of entertainment) the setting and specifics are secondary to the characters. I don't think I've ever really liked something where I didn't like any of the characters. It's not so much a matter of being able to directly related with them, but I have to at least care about them, and in that regard the sci-fi aspect of Doctor Who is secondary to the characters. It doesn't matter how he manages to escape; it's that he does. It doesn't matter that his internal conflicts and inspirations about humanity are sometimes forced; it's that they exist at all. The best part about the show isn't the aliens that he encounters; it's the Doctor and his companions themselves. Really, I think that the time travel/alien lifeforms/alternate universes, while obviously being an extremely key part of the show, provide a platform for us to more fully explore this wonderful imaginary man.

* "But Vita, why?" you may ask. I didn't watch them to spoil myself, I promise. Medium-length story shortish: when my family goes to England we make a point of following EastEnders and Doctor Who for the duration of our stay; the last episode of Season 2 Doctor Who was on the TV; not following the show other than those brief visits, I didn't feel any qualms about watching it; even though I didn't regularly watch the show, IT BROKE MY HEART. So. This time around should be fun...

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