Sunday, April 24, 2011

the Doctor

In my youth, I was completely hooked on science fiction. Asimov, Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, Riverworld, Dune, the list goes on and on.

I also read a good bit of fantasy, but somewhere along the way, I got away from it all.

Still, there are scifi experiences that will stay with me forever. The viewing of both Close Encounters of the Third Kind and ET were profoundly moving events. I remember sitting in a darkened theater, completely transported to another reality. The wonder of it all moved me to tears.

Sometimes I'll pick up a book or watch a movie and hope for that kind of occurance again. I was beginning to think that but maybe I'm just getting too old, or perhaps my sense of wonder has vanished.

Then I discovered Doctor Who. I know I'm coming really late to this party, but have you seen Doctor Who? I'm not talking about the original (which I may watch next) but the 2005 series.

Wow, this is really knocking my socks off.

Great writing, lots of humor, all written with ideas worthy of the best speculative fiction of the olden days. While it's character driven, the stories are so original, sharp and clever, it's a real delight.

They use an unusual premise. The main character is Doctor Who, a Time Lord and the last of his race. He moves through space and time, experiencing cultures, personalities and adventures along the way. As a Time Lord, he has the ability to regenerate. This allows them to keep the series going by using different actors (it's been ongoing since 1963) and I feel, keeps the premise fresh. The series was re-invented in 2005 with the very talented Christopher Eccleston playing the Doctor. Next comes David Tennant, who, while it took me a while to adapt, I must admit, I now love

As he travels through time, he has different companions, which also change after a season or two. This brings an unusual feel to the show. The Doctor is always the same "person" but by using different actors, he evolves in different directions. And each companion brings something new to the mix.

It's a novel and exciting premise.

I'm also really impressed with the special effects and makeup. I'm not a huge fan of CGI in current film and television (I think it's often overdone). But these folks have got it just right. The makeup ranges from no more than clever paint make up to full blown prosthetics, but they're always realistic and completely original. They also understand that what you don't see is as awe inspiring as what you see. A very clever production team on this show.

I've got to tell you, it gives me hope for both science fiction and television in general. If you have any interest in science fiction, or just want to watch some intelligently written, quality series television, I can recommend it highly. It also has a lot of heart, which I can really appreciate in these times.

This is the kind of television that may take a bit of time to get in to, but if you give it a chance, I think you might like it.

As a side note, there is a spinoff called Torchwood. If you're into puzzles, can you tell me how this name relates to Doctor Who?


CeiPui said...

I had the same feelings as yours when I first watched "Close Encounter Of the Third Kind", I was 15 at the time.

I love "Star Man", I was ~20 when it came out, it's more a love story.

Never watched Doctor Who, and will definitely try it (2005). Thanks for mentioning it, I see that it has a very high rating in IMDB.

Jerry and Suzy said...

Interesting, but you lost us somewhere in there. Of course, that's largely because we aren't scifi fans (but we did love Close Encounters and ET!). We have no idea who Doctor Who is, or even what is a CGI. Then again, we hardly ever watch TV. As we have often said, different strokes for different folks. Glad you have latched onto something that makes your day!

Donna K said...

I watch very little TV so if you are late to the party, I haven't arrived at all LOL! I do like some sci fi but have never heard of this. My favorite type of sci-fi is time travel so I might have to pop in on this one. Have you ever seen the movie "Somewhere in Time"? Not really sci-fi but a very beautiful movie about time travel.