Monday, July 7, 2008

Doctor What, Where, Who?!?

Warning: May contain spoilers from series 1-3. I wouldn't dare divulge anything life-altering from series 4; I'm not daft (it's all this British talk, forgive me).

My love affair (I only say that because it hasn't been that long yet, plus not a lot of people know that I got hooked -- or expected me to get hooked, PLUS it just sounds more romantic that way) with The Doctor and his big blue telephone box (I'm not speaking figuratively here) began not too long ago. Just last year, in fact. And I have my friend Daniel, my own personal "Doctor," to thank for that (he's awesome and he knows it).

So, anyway, after advertising my relatively new obsession on Facebook and such, friends have started to approach me and message me and ask me about it. I'd try to do The Doctor justice by explaining, in less complicated, non-fanatical terms, what he and the show is all about. Not that it bothers me; generally, I like it when people ask me questions -- especially if I didn't have to solve any mathematical problems and knew the answer straight away. But, in this case, I've been asked the same question [essentially] a gazillion times just this past week, and I decided to mass-reply to the quintessential barrage of interest at hand: Who is Doctor Who?

A brief background on The Doctor: "Doctor Who" is a British TV show about the last Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, his dependable TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space a.k.a. time/space machine), and his adventures. It aired in the early 60's and continued to be a part of British pop culture for 26 long years. They tried to revive it as a TV-movie in '96, but not until the relaunch of the series in 2005 was it massively renowned and praised.

Last year, I was able to get my hands on the first three series (they call it series instead of season to differentiate from the earlier releases). Series 1 (2005) started off with an episode aptly called Rose. Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper (there was a time when she did just singing, remember? She was like Britney Spears, but actually British), was just another face in the crowd. Nothing special about her; she worked at a department store, lived with her crazy mother Jackie (who's in a lot of ways like my own), and went about her day existing rather than living. Then, she met The Doctor. Played by Christopher Eccleston at that time (first saw him on Jude; brilliant performance). At that moment, I thought he was the best Doctor yet -- because he was the only one I've seen so far. So, their twisted romance began. Fighting aliens and universal threats, traveling the fabrics of time and space, while getting comfortable with each other's company. Until the inevitable happens -- his 10th regeneration. Just when Rose was starting to fancy him...

Series 2 kicks off with The Doctor, as I've mentioned just two clicks ago, regenerating into someone new. Exit Christopher, enter David Tennant (he played the demented two-faced Barty Crouch, JR. in Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire. He was also in Jude with a small role as a drunk undergrad -- small world, ain't it). At first, Rose is baffled at the transformation and demands the impostor to bring back The Doctor. And quite frankly, so did I! The two rediscover their affections for each other (at least Rose had to), again through time and space and war and peace. Until Doomsday arrives (that's the title of the last episode, mind you) where The Doctor and Rose deal with a different kind of death that even I had a huge problem with. Exit [put element here], enter tears.

The Doctor -- with his trusty TARDIS, amazing sonic screwdriver, and fine pinstripe suit -- wasn't going anywhere though. In series 3 episode 0, he meets Donna Noble (played by the supremely animated Catherine Tate) for the first time. This meeting would eventually change the world (the entire universe, rather) in series 4. But, for the remainder of series 3, The Doctor finds solace in the person of Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman), while she begins to develop some kind of a crush on him. And in series 4, well, Donna Noble -- the special yet ordinary temp from Chiswick -- takes over the position of The Doctor's companion.

The series 4 finale aired over the weekend. It was mind-blowing, I'll say that much. The Doctor won't be back until December for the Christmas special. It's said that next year, there will only be 4 specials on The Doctor and a regular 13-episode series will resume in 2010 (with or without David, but for my sake I so hope it's the former).

With all the compelling characters and the story arcs and the spin-offs and the comedy and the's just hard not to like it. I even catch myself laughing hysterically, crying like a baby, and clapping like a mad man all at the same time. Sure, it's sci-fi. A little bit corny, too, sometimes. But, it's still very good entertainment. I mean, I'd give my hand *hint* *hint* to travel across the universe with The Doctor. It's THAT good.


Mo said...

First, let me say - I love this post!
That picture of David Tennant in that T-shirt cracked me up.
I, too, only got into this series last year. The first episode I saw was the first Donna Noble one, then she disappeared and I fell head over heels for the fabulous Martha Jones.
I have only seen Billie Piper's Rose in re-runs.
I was crushed when Martha decided to stay back in England, but I must say that from the moment Donna Noble did that hilarious charades in her return episode, I was hooked.
David Tennant has such obvious FUN with the role, I hope he stays this incarnation for a long time!
I'm amazed the BBC isn't putting out MORE episodes than less, but I will take what I can get, I suppose!
Glad to see I'm not the only one who has such a crush on this whole show! You're right - it's incredible that one show can go from corny to tear-jerky to Laugh Our Loud all in the space of a few minutes.
manic mo

frenchkys said...

That Donna Noble-Doctor charade in "Partners In Crime" WAS pee-in-my-pants HILARIOUS! I'm so happy right now, you have no idea -- haha.

Glad you liked my post, Mo. Happy Manic Monday indeed. :)

surexi said...

The Doctor? All the way over in the P.I.? He is good.

frenchkys said...

Yeah, amazing, isn't it. We got TV, Internet, and everything! :)

Haha thanks for stopping by, Rex. Cheers from Bangkok (yeah, still here).

羊肉羹麵Paul said...