Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The ultimate guilty pleasure. Doctor Who.

So I admit it, I've been watching Doctor Who on the Sci-Fi channel.
Now wait a minute. Before you go laughing your ass off, let's get a clear understanding of my psychosis.
For those of you that don't know it, Doctor Who is a very cheesy, British science fiction program that started in the late 1960's. The show revolves around a man only known as "The Doctor" who travels in a machine through time and space, having adventures with different companions. The show manages to keep running because The Doctor has the ability to regenerate, which means that you can continually bring fresh blood into the show. The picture below shows all the incarnations of The Doctor, starting in the upper left hand corner with the first and working counter-clockwise to the current Doctor on the middle left.

The show is one of the longest running in history, and also very well known for being corny and "b-movie" cheesy. Anyway, I grew up reading Doctor Who. In fact, my love of reading started with a television episode that I saw in the 4th grade about a man in a long scarf who went around having crazy fun adventures around space and time. The man was Tom Baker (upper right), and I started watching the show religiously at 5:30 every evening on PBS. Unfortunately, my family moved from San Jose to Paradise, California, where PBS hadn't quite nailed a signal yet (I lived 30 minutes out of Paradise). So I started reading Doctor Who novels. As a fourth grader I started buying every novel I could get my hands on, trying to put them in correct chronological order for the series so I could understand the whole enchilada. My parents both loved it, because I could read like a maniac. The only negative came from Ms. Horvath, my fifth grade teacher who refused to allow me to read the books during silent reading by the end of the year because she thought that I was limiting myself too much. I hated her for it. Eventually, PBS got a signal that we could reach and sure enough, Doctor Who became a part of very late Saturday nights (it started at 11 p.m.) from 5th grade to 9th grade. I had friends that liked the show and we would switch houses to stay up late and watch the most recent installment.
Things changed when I hit high school. It wasn't cool to watch Doctor Who, so I dropped it and watched a lot more Sportscenter. By 7th grade I had long outgrown the Doctor Who novels and moved into other genre's. I had become a History nut, so I read The Winds of War in the 7th grade. I knew more about World War 2 than most of my teachers at that point. I would occasionally check in with Doctor Who on television when I visited my mother in the Bay Area. But it was cheesy, and as a high school teenager, it felt nerdy just to watch it.
But some things never leave your soul. I always remembered the simple fun that the show provided. Although the sets could have been made in your garage, the scripts were often fantastic, especially an episode written by Douglas Adams which gets into the "which comes first, the chicken or the egg" issue. When I found out that Sci-Fi was broadcasting the new Doctor Who, I couldn't resist giving it a try. Yep, the massive wave of nostalgia is still ever present and I'm happy to watch the corny British humor yet again. And this time, I don't have to put it away in a box because I'm worried about some stupid ass high school image. Jesus those things were useless.
So onward with my guilty pleasure! It deserves a slot in my once-a-week rotation. Hell, it only helped me to read!
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