The original adventures of white techno-Jesus! Protip: When an Englishman arrives, wanting to help, and says he’s “Just passing through, lending a hand” don’t accept his help. This always turns out poorly, especially if you’re India.
If you’re looking for a way to hear a wide variety of methods for making people ask the question “Doctor Who?” then I can recommend this show. I wasn’t going to include it in my rundown, because it’s British, but I feel like enough Americans watch the show, which is on the BBC America, to make it worth my while.
One thing I do like about Doctor Who is that, until the most recent iterations, the people on Doctor Who look realistic. I’m not talking about the special effects, which are sometimes great (people in rubber suits!) and sometimes execrable (CGI aliens) . I’m talking about the actual human beings on the show. They look like actual people you might meet in Real Life.
See, the human beings on most TV shows are more unrealistic than a regenerating thousand year old Time Lord in a magic box. They look more plastic than the replicants from the Nestene consciousness, and have more enhancements than a Cyberman. The zombie fighting beauty pageant contestants of The Walking Dead, the stunning statuesque politicians of Scandal, the CSI techs that just walked in off the beach where they spend 8 hours a day doing tanning pilates, these dubious special effects only serve to distract the viewer and hammer at the suspension of disbelief.
It really takes a show about a time traveling alien to haul across one of the more interesting facets of alien, I mean British, TV - there are people who look normal on there. People you might see in real life, who don’t always look impeccably airbrushed and artificial. I do feel that they’re getting away from that in more recent seasons, but that’s because I watch too much of the show.
There are several running themes, and none of them are particularly interesting. “Is the Doctor equal to a Dalek?” Is one. “No” is the answer.
Daleks are basically a combination of a genocidal lego set and murderous salt shaker, they kill everything around them on purpose, and have a whisk and plunger attached. They are uncharismatic, nasty, and have limited dialogue. The Doctor, no matter what form he is regenerated into, is a goofy, affable, aloof, intelligent white guy, who talks a lot, likes most people, and only sometimes gets some people killed, usually not on purpose! He does have a tool, rather more of a magic wand, so I guess, in one way, they are a bit alike.
Another running question is “Am I a good person,” asked by the titular Doctor himself. The answer always seems to be “sort of,” which is really the only answer anyone can have to that question, ever. This, at least, is a touching bit of honesty from a ridiculous show about a man in a magic box that has abducted a long stream of women and taken them to space.
The show features quite a few conflicts that always seem to be, in the end, resolved with time-travel gotchas, the power of Love, and swelling orchestral music that ensures any event takes far too long to occur.
The actual show is set in the entirety of time and space (except parts that you can’t get to for Plot Reasons) - but really, the TARDIS only seems to go into the far, alien future, the always-advancing modern day, and Victorian England.
There are some good bits. It’s interesting to see the various enemies change over time in how they look and act, and it's always a treat to watch something darkly whimsical that Neil Gaiman had a hand in.
- please note that we do not care one whit about the numerous inaccuracies contained within. Do not contact us regarding "what we got wrong," as we know we got it wrong, and did so only to inflame our reader's nerd-rage glands.