Friday, November 10, 2006
Dr. Who is the longest running sci fi television show...ever. It started out in 1963 with William Hartnell playing an old and wise mysterious 'Doctor.' Due to his race of Time Lords, from the planet Gallifrey being able to regenerate their bodies when near death, he turned into Patrick Troughton and then Jon Pertwee and then the one I remember as a child, Tom Baker. There was four more Doctors after that until the show petered out in 1996. It was relaunched with a bang in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston taking up the reigns, at least for the first season, when he decided he didn't want to be 'type cast' (WTF?) and left leaving us with the tenth version of the Doctor played by David Tennant. I loved the show. The effects were very, er....some shiny paint on some cardboard kind of thing. You could never understand what gripped the crew with such fear when you could see it was made of Paper Mache or tell it was a guy in a rubber suit. The best thing about Dr Who was that it really set up the brits as being no nonsense and no panic types even when faced with totally bizarre aliens, Cybermen or the dreaded Daleks. The military were the best. You always knew that when a bloke showed up in a green sweater with patches on the elbows that things were going to be dealt with. You also see this 'stiff upper lip' stuff in the great miniseries 'Invasion Earth.' I highly recommend renting this bleak tale. The Daleks were Dr. Who's greatest nemesis. Which I never understood since, clearly running up a flight of stairs would stop THAT pursuit since they existed on little wheels. They dealt with this in the relaunched version in 'o5 when the Daleks finally figured out how to float. The Daleks really are a cultural icon for the UK. Along with various nemesis, the Doctor was always joined by some plucky (and mostly female) sidekicks. The one's that I remember were Sarah Jane Smith, an investigative Journalist, who recently resurfaced in a new episode and a poignant reunion with her beloved Doctor. My favorite was Leela. She was some sort of 'primitive savage' adorned in a leather bikini outfit. But she was tough and could fight, and I dug that. Trailing them about and pulling the Doctor out of scrapes was the robot 'dog' K-9, who also made an appearance in the new series. The world of Doctor Who was not just the tv series...there was as hugely successful spin off series of books. I don't know one boy who didn't read them in the UK. There was also comics and a couple of movies too, including my fave, the 1966 'Daleks Invasion of the Earth: 2150 AD, with Peter Cushing as the Doctor, filled with very brightly coloured Daleks...and a city of the Daleks that had steps leading up to it. Hmmmm. Now, there is a spinoff series called Torchwood. We haven't seen it yet in Canada but it has been a big hit in the UK. Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who and is a special group set up by Queen Victoria to help combat all things alien and supernatural. This series follows the action around the Cardiff base and is led by Captain Jack Harkness, who we met in the first season of the relaunch. He was an immensly popular character and everyone seems to have enjoyed his 'omnisexuality' and enjoyment of hitting on anything really that he finds attractive. He is also very dashing and 'heroic' in a comic bookey sort of way. I look forward to watching this too. So check out Dr. Who if you haven't already. In the states it can be seen on the Sci Fi channel. In Canada on CBC.