Author’s Note: I originally published this article in 2014 on my first WordPress blog. It received the “Freshly Pressed” recognition by the WordPress editors. It is re-presented here, word for word, including the original title image.
Decades ago, close to the genesis of Star Wars, a very young boy watched a recurring television serial starring a dainty white-haired old man who road in a yellow car he referred to as Bessie. The boy, being so young, did not know the man or what he was doing, but bright Bessie would stick in his mind as one of his earliest memories.
The white-haired gentleman quickly gave way to a younger chap, known for his elongated scarf. The boy, now a few years older, started to notice this man (this particular man) was involved in a lot of business both on Earth and in impossible locations throughout the universe. He was fascinated by his robot dog. Wonder at these televisions episodes was intertwined with a level of fear, for the man sometimes went to dark places and dueled with evil beings.
The scarf and the dog gave way to yet another man, this one far younger than the prior two. He had cheery attire accented by a stalk of celery, yet seemed to find just as much danger as his predecessor. The boy now knew the man’s name, Doctor Who, and had vague understandings of his adventures. The boy easily grasped the concept of time and relative dimensions in space.
Much was now manifested to the boy about Doctor Who. There was a ceaseless volume of Doctor Who television and material. Mall novelty shops, in America, always had large sections devoted to the British creation, just as much as were devoted to Star Wars, Star Trek, and a host of other science fiction and fantasy-related intellectual properties. The boy also learned that he had seen the third, fourth, and fifth reincarnations of “The Doctor,” and discovered through reruns (they were all reruns in America) the available gaps of the second reincarnation as well as THE Doctor himself, the original, the first.
The Five Doctors episode provided the most pivotal and important episode in the history of Doctor Who. The boy could not help but wonder if there would ever be a more relevant and interesting story to watch!
There was briefly a sixth reincarnation (Mr. Colors), who seemed to be more off the air than on (making for great “catch up” opportunities of older Doctor Who episodes). The Trial of a Time Lord finally arrived and seemed positively terrifying to the boy, on the worry it looked to be the end of The Doctor and his amazing adventures.
By the mid-80s, the seventh version offered a fresh and reinvigorated start for the show. The boy saw the first promo shot of number seven and thought of how cool it would be to own a question mark-shaped umbrella. Unfortunately, Seven’s early stories were far too much of a break from “normal” Doctor Who, and the series never recovered. The boy, now in his early teens, remembered that final episode, Survival, like it was the last television show of all, well, time. When it ended, the boy felt like he had reached the edge of land and stared into a deep and vast chasm. No more stories, no more adventures, no more Doctors. The boy would wait, and wait, and wait years for news of Doctor Who’s revival, which never came.
Real Earth time went on. High school came and went, and then there was college. It was in this era that rumors of Doctor Who returning reached a fever pitch. A made-for-TV movie? In America? Well, something was better than nothing. Our boy, now a young man, would rush home from work that May night to watch the return. It had only been six or seven years, but at that age in one’s life the span seems an eternity. The new Doctor, number eight, was adequate to the task, and the story was alright too. However, there was a great blasphemy that shattered the young man’s hopes and likely those of fans worldwide. The Doctor was admitted to be…half-human.
Half-human? Beyond outrage!
The Fourth Doctor had alluded the fact that his companions were human and he was not. Aside from the First Doctor, there was absolutely no show evidence to support him being-half human. While the Eighth Doctor gave a fine performance, it was overridden grossly by this terrible miscalculation of dogma rewiring. Alas, number eight’s time was confined to the space of two hours, plus commercials, and life continued on for the boy-now-young man.
More time would pass, shorter this time in his perspective. Eventually Doctor Who caught the “reboot bug” and began anew. Doctor Nine was markedly different from his predecessors, almost ordinary. Still, thought our young gentlemen, this may be a sufficient portrayal to implant The Doctor in the modern era. With only one season, it appeared that acclimation was a foremost objective of number nine.
Then came Ten, whose attire had shades of some Doctors past, although his interpretation of the Time Lord was thoroughly unique. Our now-not-quite-young-anymore man felt the combination of Nine and Ten were a success in restarting the series, with stories highly faithful to the classics and outright ignoring the half-human thing. However, these Doctors lacked some of the core essences of the original character. They were far too attached to their companion’s personal lives. They were also kind of…human, if only in role and not by a technicality.
In our fan’s view, the eleventh reincarnation was a coming-off-the-rails event for Doctor Who. The actor was far too young. His demeanor did not match what should be expected from a centuries-old alien. He came off as physically overly expressive in communication and missed the charm of most of the older versions. He was not a bad Doctor, just more in Six’s territory versus, say, Four’s. The actor did mature and Eleven’s tenure finished strong.
Which brings me, and you, and the rest of Doctor Who fandom to the imminent arrival of number twelve. The actor’s age is spot-on perfect and should reflect a maturity in performance. His outfit radiates a passive homage to number three. After a decade of the reboot and waiting 25 years since the classic series, here we could have all the makings of the character many of us remember from our youths. I look forward to tomorrow and the beginning of his era.