I feel like it’s mandatory to make an obligatory “Doctor Who” post in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary this past Saturday. And so I shall.
I’ll say first that I debated for a while on if I wanted to critically analyze the current direction the show is taking (spoilers — I’m not a fan) as well as the showrunner/head writer who is taking it there (also not a fan). Even though I enjoyed the 50th anniversary episode, there were still examples of glaring issues that have been rampant throughout Steven Moffat’s run. But it seemed unfair to devote a celebration column on dissecting the negative aspects of the show as it is now. That’s only, what, three or four years out of 50 mostly great ones? So we’ll have a discussion about Moffat another time.
Instead, let’s talk about something that makes me happy and usually brings up lovely discussions with other fans, since someone always disagrees — my favorite things from “Doctor Who.”
Technology. My favorite piece of technology should be obvious. What I wouldn’t give for a TARDIS. You can take your house and your friends literally to any place and any time that fits a phone box. I don’t think I have to defend myself on this one, since 9 out of 10 fans will agree and 1 out of 10 fans are fooling themselves into thinking they’d want a sonic screwdriver instead.
Episodes. This one’s difficult, and I could only narrow it down to three. You just can’t choose one. My favorites as of writing this are “Turn Left,” “The Waters of Mars” and “The End of Time.” I haven’t met many people who share the same sentiments, so let me explain. I love “Turn Left” because it shows us not only how vital the Doctor is, but how even more necessary his companions are, even as simple, flawed and normal as they are. I love “The Waters of Mars” because it shows that even the great can be corrupted by absolute power and how that will always bite them in the end. And I love “The End of Time,” partly because it wraps up all the character arcs of the past four seasons, but mostly for several beautiful moments with Wilfred Mott where the Doctor once again reiterates how important and wonderful humans can be.
On a minor note, I absolutely loved “Time Crash,” which isn’t counted as an episode since it was only eight minutes. There’s just something that resonates with a fan when you see David Tennant meet his Doctor, because each fan never forgets his or her first Doctor.
Companions. This is a topic that always gets someone riled up. I have friends who hate Martha Jones with a passion (I don’t) and friends who would be Amy Pond in a heartbeat. I know people who cried when Sarah Jane Smith’s actress and the brigadier’s actor died. You get attached to these people both on screen and off. As many fans will tell you, the companions are meant to be the audience’s liaison in the often-crazy world of “Doctor Who.” We experience the show through them. Most of the time, these companions are just normal people (like us) who happened to be in the right place at the right time, but each of them had the potential to be amazing. They just needed a chance (also like us).
As for my favorite? Well, I really like Donna Noble (sorry, Rose Tyler fans). She was there when the Doctor needed a friend, and her personal story arc spoke loads to me for many personal reasons that we’re going to avoid discussing by talking about the . . .
Doctors. Here’s another topic that never fails to begin a lengthy discussion. My favorite Doctor is Christopher Eccleston’s Nine. Although my father was watching “Doctor Who” in Tom Baker’s time (likely early, but don’t tell him I said that), I only discovered the show for myself in Nine’s short-lived era. He was intense, but he could be funny. He was cruel, and he could be kind. And, as many fans will tell you, you’ll never forget your first Doctor. Nine was mine.
If all goes well, I’ll still likely be around for the 100th anniversary of the show. I look forward to it.