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1, 3, 12: The Journey of a Whovian March 12, 2015

There’s a maxim that it’s possible to love the Doctor for the man, himself, but still favor certain incarnations. Watching forums, it quickly became evident that a failure to love the same regenerated forms as everyone else can be dangerous business. In fact, even my fiancé has expressed some concern at my lack of affection for David Tennant.

That said, my love of traditional sci-fi in the fashion of the old “Flash Gordon” serials left me more deeply attached to the classic Doctors. But even there, my favorites seem to differ from the mainstream. Yes, I like Tom Baker (I’ve met very few Whovians who don’t), but I can’t honestly say that I like him as much as Hartnell or Pertwee.

Older Doctors (not necessarily classic ones) have a unique repartee with their companions. Fathers and grandfathers, rather than lovers, they evoke a certain mystery. Like bottomless fonts of wisdom, teachers with but a few pupils. The affection they express for their companions is the same I would hope to receive were I fortunate enough to travel on the TARDIS – enough to know they care, but no so much that they become a threat to a regular romantic relationship.

This is important since, to be honest, I think my fiancé has been a little concerned that he might just end up getting left behind if a blue box suddenly materialized in front of me. A few too many episodes of Matt Smith’s Doctor (for whom I do feel some affection) have left him in a position where he can confidently cast himself in the role of Rory. Fortunately, as much as I appreciate the energy and wide-eyed-wonder of Smith’s character, he isn’t the one with whom I’d be most willing to travel. So I stick to my guns. I’m a first/third Doctor girl. Or at least I was.

I have to admit that I was quite curious when I noticed that the distinctly not-young Peter Capaldi had been cast in the role. While fans of the new series threw fits over the injustice of choosing a man old enough to be their father, I watched with ever deepening curiosity. And found myself slowly becoming a twelfth Doctor girl.

I can’t, of course, give Capaldi all the credit. While he plays the Doctor, he wasn’t the one responsible for all the throwbacks to classic “Who” that marvelously appeared throughout the eighth season. (I confess that I appreciated the bits of nostalgia scattered throughout.) But the slightly grumpy, distinctly charming incarnation grew on me with each episode.

Then “Dark Water” happened. I admit that I’m not easily spoiled, so the accuracy of the speculation about Missy did nothing to ruin the episode for me. I absolutely loved the Cybermen (and the fact that the Doctor missed something so incredibly obvious). But what I loved most was the opening sequence… the bit where Clara decides to get her due.
Despite the seemingly universal hatred for Clara, she is one of my favorites among the newer companions. (I admit to rather having liked Donna, too.) There is something about her innocence and strong will that harkens back to earlier companions like Sarah Jane. And I particularly love the strictly platonic relationship she has with the Twelfth Doctor. The result was that I felt the full impact of her betrayal in a way I couldn’t have anticipated.

I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat. Waiting. Waiting to see if the Doctor would do what most people would have done or whether he would prove himself the hero I hoped he was. I bit my lip as he responded to Clara’s question regarding the future of their friendship. And I slid to the edge of the couch as the Doctor replied, “Do you really think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?”

It didn’t really matter how the series ended. It didn’t matter that I thought the Cyber Brig was a bit of an overkill or that I thought the Danny/Clara sequences went on a bit too long. I simply didn’t care. From that line on, I was a 12th Doctor girl. If I were going to travel with just one of them – Capaldi’s Doctor would be my first choice.

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The Accidental Whovian March 5, 2015

I didn’t mean to become a Whovian. In fact, if you’d asked my opinion of “Doctor Who” a few months ago, I’d have shrugged my shoulders apologetically. I’d have listened politely as you recounted the wonders of travel through time and space. Then I’d have walked away leaving you to question why, with my clear penchant for science fiction, I didn’t love the Doctor.

To be honest, much of my apathy was the result of a poorly-timed introduction to the show. Having heard my friends rave about the creativity of the writers, I’d decided to tuck in at what I mistakenly believed to be the beginning. In an episode entitled “Rose”, I met the Doctor, his not-yet-companion, and a few zillion plastic mannequins hell-bent on destroying modern day London. So much for time and space! It wasn’t very different from the average British sit-com… just significantly weirder. I hung in for as long as I could, but about fifteen minutes in, I simply gave up. Give me “Star Trek” any day.

At the same time, I couldn’t help wondering why so many of my friends were so passionate about the program. Most of the time, their taste was spot-on. So why this? And more importantly, how had they converted my fiancé into a hard-core Whovian? Was there voodoo involved?

“You just need to get past the first couple of episodes,” he reassured me. And to prove his point, he made me sack out on the couch with him and watch a few. To my surprise, the show did get better. And while it didn’t peak my own interest, it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t indulge my sweetie’s new passion. So we watched together until Eccleston regenerated into Tennant. Then, my fiancé went home for the semester and I conveniently forgot about the show.

To be honest, I’m not sure what caused my renewed interest in the program. The semester had been fairly boring for me and, looking for something interesting to “take me away”, I decided to take a shot at the Classic “Doctor Who” episodes offered on Netflix.

I selected an episode entitled “The Aztecs” and hit “play”. There, in all his glory, was William Hartnell – the First Doctor. I watched as great acting mixed with terrible props and sets worthy of the old “Flash Gordon” serials I remember watching with my dad. And I was hooked.

Over the next few months, I watched every episode I could get my hands on. I decided that my favorite Doctors were 1,3,7 and 11. I conned my fiancé into buying me a stuffed Dalek who I christened “Dave”. I bought “Dr. Who” novels and perused “Dr. Who” comic books. I bought a “Dr. Who” belt and followed “Dr. Who” fan-groups on Facebook and through my iPod. I subscribed to “Dr. Who” podcasts. I waited, along with the rest of the world, for the premier of “Deep Breath” and delighted in each wonderful, confusing moment of the two-hour special.

It had all happened without my knowing what was going on. I had accidentally become a Whovian.

 

 
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