As the series nears its 50th anniversary, this weekly column will review and analyze the greatest moments of the last seven seasons, as well as include special reviews of the upcoming 50th anniversary and Christmas specials.
WHO are you?
Who is The Doctor and why you should care about the man in a blue box
By: Franco Romualdez
— I’m the Doctor. I’m a Time Lord. I’m from the planet Gallifrey in the Constellation of Kasterborous. I’m 903 years old, and I’m the man who is gonna save your lives and all 6 billion people on the planet below. You got a problem with that? –
There is not a single show on television like it. For nearly fifty years, fans from all over have been enthralled by the time-traveling adventures of the mad man in a blue police box. The show has stood the test of time and has even survived a sixteen-year period of cancellation. DOCTOR WHO was re-launched in 2005 by Russell T. Davies who served as the show’s head writer and show runner till Steven Moffat took over in 2010. It was when Moffat took over that the show became the international phenomenon it is today, boasting an impressive broadcast audience of over fifty countries! But who exactly is The Doctor? What is so great about this character that allows him to still hold a candle even brighter today than when it was first lit in the 60’s? And why should you care about him? Read on to find out.
The Doctor is ancient (in human years). He has been alive for so long that he actually does not know his exact age. Nowadays, he hovers around the 1000-1200 year old mark, and in the 60’s, he often stated that he was around 500 years old. Needless to say that The Doctor has been around for a very, very long time. Why is he called The Doctor? Doesn’t he have a real name? Well “The Doctor” is the name our hero chose as a sort of promise to himself. Whilst never being fully explained in the show (to my knowledge), it is safe to assume that the alias “Doctor” is meant to help communicate his intentions to the inhabitants of wherever he goes. When you travel across time and space as much as he does, a name like “The Doctor” is a much quicker way to say that you’ve come in peace, don’t you think?
Why all the traveling? Well, The Doctor is part of an alien race called the Time Lords who, as their name suggests, saw themselves as the all-powerful lords of time and space. The Doctor was part of a certain group of Time Lords who decided they did not want to follow their government’s policy of non-interference. These “Renegade Time Lords” were individuals who did not want to simply observe space-time, some wanted to change it, others fix it, but many like The Doctor simply wanted to explore it.
The Doctor though always seems to get into trouble wherever he travels. Over the years, The Doctor has gone toe to toe with evil aliens, secret organizations, Hitler, slave drivers, etcetera. Name a villainous stereotype and most likely the Doctor has beaten it. What’s great about the Doctor is that he only turns to violence as a last resort and, despite all the evil he encounters, never takes any pleasure in taking life. Because of his seemingly immortal life span and the fact that he is the only Time Lord left, The Doctor is the single most important individual in the universe. The Doctor saves countless lives and stops an equal amount of tragedies wherever he goes, thus he is integral for the stability and sustainability of The Universe. This fact is made very apparent when it is pointed out several times in the show that the absence of The Doctor from the time stream causes the death of nearly ever star in the universe.
For now I think that’s enough info on the life and persona of our favorite time traveling alien, as this article serves only to spark your interest in the show. If you want to get to know The Doctor better, I suggest you go treat yourself and watch the most recent seven seasons of the show. I will now move on to my personal understanding of how the show has stood the test of time.
Television shows almost never get better as they age. Shows like the Simpsons, and Saturday Night Live are good examples of this phenomenon. These shows have been on air “forever” and yet their best episodes all seem to be located at the wrong end of their timelines. Doctor Who on the other hand, like a fine wine, is only getting better and better with age. This is especially apparent beginning with the Steven Moffat era of the show, where Doctor Who began to be produced with a certain quality and finesse that could rival any other franchise (I honestly think the special effects in season 7 of Doctor Who were miles better than the ones of the latest Percy Jackson film). Yet great television isn’t defined by how realistic make up looks. No, great television takes a viewer off his or her couch and into a world where anything and everything is possible. Doctor Who not only takes its viewers on a journey though time and space, but does so in a way that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
It also helps that your main character is an alien that can regenerate whenever he “dies”. Regeneration has allowed the show to keep going or start anew with each new incarnation of its leading man (someday maybe a leading woman?). This unique power of The Doctor not only keeps him alive, to the great joy of the entire universe, but it also gives the show he’s in a sort of infinite lifespan that is only shared by one other live-action franchise (I’m looking at you… Mr. Bond).
Next week, get ready to step out of the Time War as I take a look at the 9th Doctor: Warrior of Time. Until then, don’t be afraid to say “Allons-y!” and reverse the polarity of your life to make it “Fantastic!” Until next week, I bid you “Geronimo!”
— Amy Pond, there’s something you better understand about me ’cause it’s important and one day your life may depend on it…I am definitely a mad man with a box. —
Follow Franco Romualdez on Twitter: @francoromualdez
For more reviews from Franco Romualdez please click HERE.