Doctor Who Returns

This is an exciting day for us geeks. Tonight Doctor Who returns after a three month break. (The BBC has this annoying habit of splitting their shows seasons into two, perhaps so they can sell two sets of dvds…) Granted, this has been my least favorite season of the new Doctor Who series. While I like Matt Smith well enough, he tends to mumble, making the increasingly more incomprehensible adventures even harder to follow. All in all the new series of Doctor Who has been quite good, but like other fans of the old series I’m often irritated by all the tales about his companions, as well as the number of episodes that take place in contemporary London. Given the bigger budget the show now enjoys, it would be nice to see more adventures on other planets.
Should you watch tonight’s episode, despite the mumbling? Sure! For my money, Doctor Who still offers the greatest fantasy imaginable. We’re not talking sexual fantasies, despite the ongoing flow of hot young companions. ((Back in the day, I fixated on the 4th and 5th Doctors’ Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), but after plowing through the Jon Pertwee’s Doctor on dvd, one can’t help but admire Jo Grant (Katy Manning), for my money the most compelling of all Doctor Who’s companions.)) The attractive companions are a bit of an enigma, considering the asexual atmosphere of the TARDIS. The origins of this asexuality can certainly be attributed to the fact that Doctor Who at least started out as a children’s show. Plus, the first Doctor, William Hartnell (Arguably the worst Doctor ever. He’s fun to watch just to count the number of lines he flubs. Not surprising, since he once said learning the dialogue was like learning King Lear…) was a crepuscular old man. Then again, this asexuality is quite logical, since the Doctor can regenerate, rendering him nearly immortal. Any sex drive at all would be pretty pointless.
No, it’s not a sex fantasy, it’s the idea of going anywhere in time and space. Even as a kid watching the original series, I never really dreamt about being Doctor Who (likely because of the no sex thing); I just wanted to fly off with him. Who wouldn’t? You could be gone for years exploring other planets and time periods and he could still drop you off a second after you left. You’d never miss a Super Bowl. I haven’t been to a science fiction convention in years, but I bet when the freaks and geeks start discussing Doctor Who, the inevitable question comes up: given all of time, where would you go? When I first started watching Doctor Who 30 years ago, I wondered about that. The signing of the Declaration of Independence, the premier of a Shakespeare play, the Last Supper…I don’t remember. A few weeks ago I posed the question to Katie, my fiancée. While she pondered it, I said that I’d like to go to my grandparents’ weddings. Every big event I could think of either never really happened (like pretty much any story involving Jesus), or would be totally disappointing. How exciting would it be to watch a bunch of guys sign their names? Plus, pre 20th century, everyone you ran into would really, really smell.

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