I really, really want to be a Doctor Who fan. I’ve tried to love the show and get into it, but I just can’t. Doctor Who isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. Before you throw balls of hate and fire, please read the explanation.
The sci-fi TV show Doctor Who has been around in some form or another since the 1960's. The latest Doctor Who series has billions and billions of fans. Everyone from my friends to my strangers has told me to watch it. They said the show would not only melt my mind with its brilliance, but would change all aspects of my life. Obviously, I had to watch it. I enjoy life-changing events, and I was expecting this show to alter my existence in such a way that I would grow a second mouth, or perhaps my elbows would bend in the opposite direction. After watching the first season of this new Doctor Who (with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor), I was disappointed. It wasn’t amazing. It was mildly entertaining at best, and forgettable at worst.
What am I missing? Did I watch it wrong? Are you not supposed to keep your eyes open? Must I drink a magic potion before pressing play on the DVD remote? Are we all watching the same show? I think I’ve been pranked. I want to love this show, but I can’t.
I enjoy science fiction as much as the next geek. As a kid, I devoured all things Star Wars. As a teen, I worshiped the X-files and read stacks of comic books so high that ice formed on the top issue. In college, I thought Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the best-written show on TV. After college, there was LOST, and y’all know I loved LOST. Plus, I enjoy jetpacks, robots, words beginning with “cyber,” and lasers.
That being the case, why didn’t Doctor Who grab my by the brain and impress me? I have some theories. I know the show reportedly gets better once the next Doctor (David Tennant) took over, but there’s a very good chance that I won’t be watching the season 2 DVD. Here’s why.
1. The show doesn’t have a point.
Maybe I missed something, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but the time lord zigs and zags around time and space for no reason other than he’s the last time lord and he’s bored. He’s not on some grand quest, and he’s not trying to figure out a cosmic mystery. In fact, he knows everything. So if he’s so smart, and has the ability to travel through time, isn’t the entire show pointless? Doesn’t he know how it all ends? The show has a goofy charm, but I want more motivation for the characters besides, "Hey, let's go to the Doo-Doo galaxy!"
2. The companion doesn’t make sense.
The writers needed to give the doctor a human companion. To tell the story, there must to be a character the audience can relate to. We sure as hell can’t relate to a chatty, smarty-pants time traveler, so they have to throw in a human who can ask questions like, “What’s going on?” and, “What does that thing do?” and, “I think I love you, but I might not love you.” And then the doctor explains things.
But that wouldn’t happen in real life. In a real life, if there were a huge catastrophe that could blow up the universe, I doubt the doctor would stop what he was doing to turn to the human and explain the whole story for a few minutes. He would just do what needed to be done. You don’t see James Bond stop in the middle of a gunfight to say, “Just so you know, guns hurl bullets at such a high rate of speed that the bullets have the ability to puncture a human being. Also, knives are sharp bits of metal, and when I curl up my fingers like this, it’s called a fist.”
I wish the show were just about the doctor.
3. The time travel doesn’t make sense (to me).
The world of Doctor Who confuses me, because the doctor can seemingly go to whenever time he wants at the flip of a switch. And yet he’s too dumb to use this power to save the world in an efficient manner.
Hypothetical example: The doctor and his lady-slave happen to arrive on Earth on a day that an evil Goop-Goop monster is attacking London. They spend the entire episode trying to find a way to defeat the monster. The Goop-Goop monster probably does significant damage and kills people. The lady says, “What are Goop-Goop Monsters?” And the doctor explains it. They eventually find the monster’s weakness and kill it. Then the Doctor explains where it came from and what it wanted, and then he and his lady-slave hop back in the time machine to blast off on some other adventure.
But hold on!
Once you realize where the monster came from, wouldn’t you go back in time to prevent the monster from being born? Or, at the very least, once you discover the monster’s weakness, wouldn’t you go back in time to a few weeks ago and send London a message that read, “Hey, you can kill a Goop-Goop monster with vinegar”? You could save lives. But the Doctor doesn’t think like that. Once a problem is finished, he doesn’t care that it could have all been avoided. If the Goop-Goop monster killed some guy named Timmy, tough luck, Timmy’s family. The Doctor would rather skip around the galaxy and say witty things than use time travel properly. Am I making sense? Perhaps I need to make a PowerPoint presentation on this topic.
4. The shows are all the same.
Each show begins with some bad thing happening. Then the doctor and his lady-slave fix it. The End. Sure, there are a lot of X-files episodes that use the same formula, but at least there was always a deeper story that carried across the entire show’s run involving conspiracies and aliens. And The X-Files had better special effects and dramatic lighting. At the end of a Doctor Who episode, has anything really changed?
5. I’m too far behind.
This is my main reason for giving up on the show. I won’t be able to catch up to the new season. I’m lazy, and the thought of watching hundreds of episodes just to get up to date makes me sleepy.
Now, rip me apart. I can take it. In fact, I want you to tell me what I’m missing. I’d love to be a part of this fan community. I just don’t know how. Please help.
Related post: You Know You're Obsessed with Dr. Who When...