Posts Tagged ‘Doctor Who’
I’ve recently started watching the British television series Doctor Who. Doctor Who originally ran from 1963 to 1989 as the longest running science-fiction show in the world. It was revived in 2005 — I have been watching the revival. I have not made it all the way through — I spent most of my weekend off from work catching up on the show and have made it to the beginning of season 3. The show stars both Christopher Eccleston (season 1) and David Tennant (seasons 2+) as The Doctor, a mysterious Time Lord who travels through space and time with a companion defeating evil, usually of an extraterrestrial kind. Rose Tyler was his companion for the first two seasons, and now, in the third season (where I am), Martha Jones is his companion after Rose got trapped in a parallel universe.
He travels in his spaceship, the TARDIS, which “disguises” itself as a 1950s police box. The show takes us back in history to visit William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Queen Victoria; forward in time to witness the destruction of Earth and the creation of New Earth; and to alien planets where their lives are frequently threatened.
As I was spending most of my weekend watching this show, I kept thinking that I should write a post about Doctor Who. But I didn’t really know what to write about. I’m a sucker for sci-fi and for history, so this show has a great combination of both of these…not to mention British accents and cute men. But I didn’t really know what to talk about besides from that.
I can’t say that I see the show as being particularly feminist. The Doctor is the one who does everything, his companion (who is always — as far as I can tell — a woman, an attractive, young woman at that) is really just along for the ride. Sure, Rose helped out a good deal, but she was usually the one that needed rescuing by The Doctor. I can only think of one time, off the top of my head, that Rose actually saved The Doctor (I’m not far enough along in the episodes with Martha to know if she ever saves him). I don’t think it would make The Doctor any less credible if he needed rescuing every once in a while. They encounter societies, both in history and alien, that are incredible misogynistic.
Despite the fact that I wouldn’t classify the show as feminist, it is still greatly entertaining. The dialogue is a great combination of history, sci-fi, and wit. Of course, I don’t always get the cultural references as it is a British show and I live in the United States. When David Tennant was first introduced as The Doctor (he can regenerate when he is close to death — his appearance changes, but he has all of the same memories), I was a little weary. He seemed a little too goofy. Christopher Eccleston had his goofy moments, but his demeanor was pretty serious. David Tennant, on the other hand, tended to be goofy overall, but serious when he needed to be. But as I made it through the second season, Tennant started to grow on me. I’m enjoying his take on The Doctor now. The relationship/love between Rose and The Doctor is more believable, for some reason, with this Doctor. I could see it with Christopher Eccleston, but for some reason, it’s just more believable with Tennant.
Speaking of that, one thing that I don’t really like is that The Doctor and his companion always seem to fall in love. I guess it helps if The Doctor is always a heterosexual man and the companion is always a heterosexual female, but it’s kind of annoying. It’s very obvious that Rose and The Doctor were in love, there’s no question about that. We are also introduced to one of The Doctor’s previous companions, Sarah Jane, and it is also pretty obvious that they either had a romantic relationship or were at least in love with each other. Maybe it’s just such an intense relationship — seeing all that incredible stuff and traveling through space and time together — that makes them always fall in love.
Or maybe, it’s the fact that The Doctor always takes such a protective role regarding his companion. It’s nice that he never leaves her behind and always rescues her, but his protectiveness gets a little out of control at times. Even with the recent introduction as Martha as The Doctor’s companion, we can see that there is definitely the potential for a romantic relationship because of the intense protectiveness that we can see in The Doctor. But what would a show be without sexual tension?
Overall, I think that this show is definitely worth a watch (just a helpful hint, it’s all available to watch online through Netflix), especially if you are a sci-fi fan. But despite the emphasis on aliens, there is something about the show that I think would appeal to people who aren’t sci-fi fans. It’s all about imagination and what might be possible. It’s about morals, good triumphing over evil, and what it means to alter the course of history. I’ll probably work up a more deeper analysis for when I catch up with the series, so keep an eye out!