Fifteen years ago, if you’d told me that not only would Doctor Who return to our screens but that it would become a world-wide pop culture phenomenon, I wouldn’t have believed it.
I’d never have believed the series would get not one but TWO cover stories from Entertainment Weekly or that the arrival of a new Doctor would get coverage from USA Today, The New York Times and other media outlets. Or if you’d told me that you could find a wide assortment of merchandise (a TARDIS spatula?!?) related to the show, I’d probably have thought you were crazy. And don’t get me started on my complete skepticism that there would be anything to celebrate fifty years of the show but a couple of repackaged classic serials on DVD.
You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t channel my inner third Doctor and bit and become a bit grumpy and cantankerous with new fans who have bemoaned that we’ve “waited so long” for new episodes this time or that they’re only doing twelve installments series instead of 13.
I want to shake them and go — we got to see the fiftieth anniversary in theaters! After it got a world-wide virtually simultaneous broadcast on the anniversary date! Monday night, if you want to you can see the feature-length season premiere in theaters, surrounded by fellow fans who may have different preferences from you, but who all enjoy Doctor Who. Don’t even get me started on the whole announcement of the new Doctor special last year that generated huge audiences and was also simulcast worldwide!
And while I may disdain the segment of fandom who have decided there is only Doctor and he is David Tennant (mirroring the segment of classic series fandom who only sees merit in the Tom Baker era), I still have to take a step back and take the time to enjoy the moment. I will admit I’m looking forward to this new era with Peter Capaldi in the title role and seeing what he brings to things. I’m hoping for an older, crankier Doctor maybe along the lines of Jon Pertwee, William Hartnell and (at times) Tom Baker (watch his first couple of seasons and you see a bit of a crankiness to the fourth Doctor).
All I can say is — if you’re new to the party, welcome on board. Please at least consider giving the classic series a chance. Yes, it’s a bit different from the modern show, but I hope you might see some of what made many of us fall in love with the show.
This evening, the new era begins. I’m intrigued, excited and a bit nervous to see how the new Doctor will be.
Pretty much the same way I felt years ago when my PBS station aired the feature-format version of “Time and the Rani” for the first time…..