Way Less New to Doctor Who
A girl can get through a lot of space and time in six odd months.
It feels like I’ve been a Whovian for years but I just checked my post from when I first leaped into the TARDIS and it was only months ago. I guess time travel can do that to you. But now I am all caught up – at least as far as New Who (2005-present) goes. Hitting that marker was a pretty exciting moment.
I HAVE FINISHED WATCHING ALL OF (new) DOCTOR WHO. WHERE IS MY CERTIFICATE ON PSYCHIC PAPER?
— Kay (@Geek_Kay) February 22, 2015
It’s true. I seriously felt like I should receive some sort of diploma. I learned so much! I say and tweet things now that would have sounded like gobbledygook to me last year. And to top it off somehow I even went to sleep after watching the post-Series 8 Christmas special, which if you also watched you understand the achievement.
I’ve been tweeting about my adventures along the way and every time I thought people might be getting tired of my commentary, someone would appear nudging me to keep it up. As mentioned in my original post, the Doctor Who fandom continues to be incredibly encouraging and I’ve never felt like I’m alone on my journey – even when I literally was watching the episodes by myself.
I appreciate all the people on Twitter who answered my questions – whether they were based in confusion or curiosity. I was delighted to be asked to talk about Doctor Who on Fangirl Chat. Sometimes I’d watch an episode and there’d be no one around to discuss it with so I’m thrilled to have found the podcast Bad Wolf Radio as well as the Whovian Feminism Tumblr account, which each provided more perspective on some of the more recent episodes and sometimes even reassurance that someone else picked up on the same thing I did. And I’m especially grateful for CT of Nerd Lunch, who at many many times was my Doctor by proxy on this adventure – all without spoilers. What’s more, one of the cool parts is knowing I’ve only experienced a tiny pocket of the people who care about this television show and its characters.
There was only one time while watching Doctor Who that I wanted to walk away from it and that didn’t come until the 8th series. After a slow build up one night I was completely repulsed by the show (and incredibly glad I didn’t start with this season like I’d originally considered). I began wondering why I had invested so much time in watching the whole thing. It’s a question that many of us come upon now and again in our fandoms. Why do we care so much? What is it that gets us so attached?
It’s a question I’ve asked myself several times in the past couple of years of my long-standing love for Star Wars. Wondering about that answer for Doctor Who lead to a surprisingly quick realization.
So how did the Doctor and friends grab ahold of me?
It was the optimism.
It was the moments of joy, of celebration, and of love. It was the “You know that in nine hundred years of time and space and I’ve never met anybody who wasn’t important before.” Being around The Doctor expands people’s minds, inspires them to be better versions of themselves.
That underlying light was in very short supply in Series 8. So I had to walk away for a bit. Soon my completionist streak and hope that things would get better lead me to return and finish the season. I count the absolutely beautiful work of director Rachel Talay in the two-part season finale as my reward for holding on. I’m willing to give Series 9 a chance. Showrunner Steven Moffat recently said in an interview that the Doctor won’t be as intense in the new season and that helps. But for now I’m content re-watching my favorite episodes, noticing things I missed the first time around, and coming to new realizations. As The Doctor said at the end of “Vincent and The Doctor”:
“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
Today marks ten years since the show came back on the air. The episodes in New Who are full of some stellar acting, interesting concepts, and a whole lot of heart. It’s not without its issues. As progressive as the show is in some areas, there are still plenty that could see some improvement. I am so glad I dove in though. It’s easy to see why it’s beloved by so many people all over the world. There are times it feels a bit crazy how far into this world of stories I’ve found myself. I’ve only watched a few episodes of the Classic series (1963-1989) so there’s still more to discover there. It’s been invigorating to start something new. And I feel like I’ll always treasure my time with the madman with a box.
Oh and watch this space. I have a lot of thoughts and I’m just getting started.
Kay grew up wanting to be an astronaut. After seeing Star Wars, she wanted to be Princess Leia, Han Solo, and an astronaut. Life’s taken her on a bit of a different path, but she’s still a Star Wars fangirl at heart who enjoys surprising people with how geeky she really is. A voice actor, photographer, and artist who also consults in communications and marketing, Kay spends the little bit of free time she has reading, writing, and, of course, making pew pew noises. She would pick up more jobs and hobbies if she was a Time Lord. You can follow her on Twitter.
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3 thoughts on “Way Less New to Doctor Who”
I can certainly relate, having crammed so much Who in a short time. Thankfully, we are bigger on the inside.
I’ve been wondering what it was that has hooked me so about the Who universe. At it’s core I feel like Doctor Who is a celebration of imagination, and the inextinguishable nature of the idea. I don’t think I’d considered the optimism. This modern age of television and film can be pretty dark and heavy at times, so it would make sense that Who would serve as a beacon to those looking for respite.
Well said, Todd!
That’s another cool thing about Doctor Who – there are so many different reasons people are drawn to it. I remember watching the documentary of the pre-Series 8 world tour and people from all over the world kept coming up to the camera with all different reasons for why they liked the show so much. It was striking.
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