Since this is my first episode related to Doctor Who, I wanted to find a way to introduce the topic to people. One idea I had was to do an interview style episode, where I was kind of interviewing myself. In the end, I thought that was really weird, so I decided not to do it. In preparation for it, though, I wrote it all down, my questions, and then my answers. I thought it might be interesting to include that here with the liner notes for this episode.
When did you discover Doctor Who?
I remember being aware of it back when I was a young teenager- I knew it came on PBS late Saturday night, and I even remember trying it a couple of times. It just felt old and out dated and weird, and I just didn’t get it. That is probably my first memory of the show. I remember hearing about it again when they started with the re-boot, and people started talking about it. I was much more into the geek culture at large, but I still didn’t get what this whole Doctor Who thing was all about.
My brother-in-law (my wife’s brother) started watching it, and recommended it to me. He said it was awesome and i needed to check it out. I still kind of sat on the fence for a little while. I was working the grave yard shift at the time, in a call center, and we didn’t get a lot of phone calls, and at the time we didn’t have a lot of work, and there were a lot of nights where the main goal was staying awake. Doctor Who was on Netflix, and so I talked my wife into trying Netflix for 30 days, and during that time< iwas going to watch as much Doctor Who as they had.
That was about 6 years ago.
Where did you start?
One of the things that I see asked about the Doctor WHo fandom most often is where to start. There really isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. For me, I felt completely and utterly overwhelmed. The show had been around for 49 years by the time I started watching it. That is a lot of history. A lot of show to catch up on. And it’s not just shows. There are books and comics and audio stories and a really bad TV movie. It can be almost paralyzing, and honestly, I think it scares a lot of people off.
For me, I started with Christopher Eccleston, season one of the new series. I needed a starting point. I am a completist in a lot of ways, so I needed to start at a beginning, but I knew I wouldn’t last through the very beginning, so this felt like a good place for me. I watched his one season or series, and then moved on to David Tennant and then beyond, until I had caught up with where the show was- which was the middle of Matt Smith’s run.
What drew you in?
I think for one thing, I was looking for something new and something different, but something I would enjoy as well. It was just a good time for me to start it, because I had the time and the means to binge watch it. That was the initial draw for me.
It grew into a lot more, though. I really started to like the Doctor as a character. I liked that he genuinely wanted to help people and protect people. I like that he used his smarts and conversation to do it. He didn’t need a big gun, or to kill people or anything like that. He just talked people down. He used problem solving skills. It was just very different, but in a good way.
Then there was the history and the whole premise. It was intimidating at first, but once I started getting into it and started reading about it and understanding regenerations and things like that, I really started to get into it. It was a whole new universe I got to know, and I enjoyed that.
Who is your favorite Doctor?
That is my least favorite question, when it comes to Doctor Who. I would say, the four I know the best are 9, 10, 11 and 12. I am less familiar with the classic Doctors. Here’s the thing, though, my favorite is probably the one I am currently watching. When I first started with 9, it was hard to see him go. I wasn’t sure if I would like this new guy at all, but then I ended feeling the same way when 10 left. I think as you get to know these actors and their takes on the character, ytou begin to appreciate them and care about them. It becomes almost impossible for me to pick a favorite.
If I had to pick, right now, it would be 12, but that might only be because his time just ended. I am looking forward to the new Doctor.
Speaking of the new Doctor…What are your thoughts on 13 being a woman?
I honestly have no issues with it. I don’t know that there is anything inherently male about the Doctor. I think the character will be just as effective as a female. I think one thign that really sold me on the idea was when Missy showed up during 12’s run, and she was the latest regeneration of the Master. She was great. Totally won me over on the whole idea.
The thing with Doctor Who that people sometimes forget is that it is all fantasy, so having an alien race that can regenerate into a different gender doesn’t bother me at all. I just want the stories to be good and the acting to be good, and none of that is dependant on the Doctor being male.
Who is your favorite companion?
Tough question. I really liked a lot of Clara’s story, especially as her time went on with 12. Her initial time with 12 was rough, but it got better. I also really enjoyed the Ponds with 11. River is one of my favorite characters, and I would say her, but she was more of a once in a while companion than a constant companion, so I don’t know If I would count her in the same category. For me, I think I liked Donna with 10 the best. She was funny, and smart in her own way, and she challenged him in a whole new way. It was nice to get away from the young girl pining for the Doctor.
What advice would you give someone who wants to check the show out?
Do it. It is one of my favorite shows, and it’s totally worth checking out. Just jump in. For some people, like me, you may need to start at a beginning. Eccleston is a good place to start for that, but you can go even further back and start with the first Doctor. It’s all pretty good. If you’re not a completist like me, check out some of the popular episodes people talk about- like the Empty Child/Doctor Dances or Blink or Vincent and the Doctor. I think each of those give you a good taste of what the show is about.
One of the hardest things in any fandom is the gatekeeping that goes on as you start to check stuff out online about your fandom. There are groups you can get involved in and message boards and stuff like that, and a lot of the fans there are awful. Avoid those. Avoid any group on any internet or social media where they tell you that you aren’t a fan because of this or that. There is plenty of that in the Doctor Who fandom. Oh, you’re not a real fan because you7 don’t know the classic doctors. If you only liked Doctor Who because you thought this Doctor was cute, then we don’t want you in the fandom- it can all start to feel pretty exclusive. Just know, that most of the Doctor Who fans out there are not like that, most are pretty welcoming.Sometimes it is easy to miss that.