01706: Celebrating 50 Years of the Doctor

Today is the 50th anniversary of the British science fiction television show, Doctor Who. It holds the record of being the longest-running science fiction show of all time - we can just leap over the little gap between 1989 and 2005 (not counting the TV movie).

I'm very grateful for the series of the events that led to my getting into Doctor Who. This all goes back to one of the meetings of Sci-Fi Philippines at Brash Young Cinema when the geeks would gather to watch different science fiction TV shows and movies. Someone had brought along a copy of the episode "Blink" featuring the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and the experience of watching that brilliantly terrifying story changed me. I quickly secured copies of the rest of the episodes starting from the 2005 reboot and the rest is pretty much history.

Shortly after getting together with Tobie, getting him into Doctor Who was actually one of my first geek priorities - even before trying to get him into Star Trek or Dune. Given it was the way that I had been introduced to the show, I figured the best way to tap into his love of horror movies was to make him watch "Blink" as well. And thankfully, he fell in love with the show as well.

Since my Doctor Who adventure began, I've had the joy of experiencing five different Doctors so far (not counting John Hurt's mysterious character). Like most fans who joined the show with the 2005 reboot series, I've naturally watched the episodes featuring Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith. I already mentioned that we watched the TV movie and we've also started watching the Classic Doctor Who episodes starting with William Hartnell.

And yes, we're going to do our very best to watch all of the Classic episodes, even the that only have fan reconstructions given the original copies were lost by the BBC over the years. We have quite a journey ahead of us indeed.

By tomorrow morning the 50th anniversary episode, "The Day of the Doctor", will air around the world. But since we don't have a formal affiliate for BBC programming (outside BBC News, that is), we'll just have to download it off the internet or something. We'll finally get to learn more about the Time War and better understand the potentially dark character that is John Hurt's War Doctor. And we're soon going to meet the Twelfth Doctor, as played by Peter Capaldi. But however things turn out, I'm sure that it's going to be brilliant.

Why do I love Doctor Who? It's hard to say. Maybe it's because he's a character of hope - one who sees the best in everyone and celebrates that. Maybe because he believes in humanity far more than we do at times. He's a man who looks at the really, really, really big picture and is changed because of that perspective. Because of all the bad things that he's seen in his rather long lifetime, he understands how precious the good things are and thus all the more it is to be cherished, nurtured and ultimately defended from all those who would threaten them. He is a hero in the truest sense of the word and he is made better because of the many lives that he protects.

Doctor Who is far more than "just" a television show. It's an experience in itself. It's potentially a religion. But most of all, it's a heck of a lot of fun.