If you have a Netflix account and are looking for something different… I highly recommend you check out the British sci-fi series Doctor Who. While it has had several incarnations over time, the more recent series, starting with the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and followed up with the Tenth (David Tennant, my favorite) and the Eleventh (Matt Smith) is well worth your time.
If you need some background, you can check out the Wikipedia page for Doctor Who. It will provide you with plenty of information, but honestly, if you start with Season One of this latest run, you won’t need anything to really catch up. You might be interested enough later to want to find out about all of the earlier Doctors and such, but it wouldn’t be necessary.
Doctor Who is thought-provoking, silly, innovative, campy and most of all, highly entertaining. The absurdity of the show only adds to its charm. And, you will find the characters loveable and endearing. As you can tell, I am quite a fan.
The show’s main characters are a hero (The Doctor, who regenerates occasionally) and his female sidekick travel companion (who changes from time to time). However, there are a host of characters who reappear and are woven throughout the story’s timeline. It could be argued though, that the Tardis is the main character in the show 🙂
The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through both time and space in the Tardis (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). The Tardis is the non-descript blue “police call box” that is “much bigger on the inside than on the outside”. It is both a time machine, and a spaceship in the quirkiest of ways, and is in some respects “alive”. The last of his kind, The Doctor moves throughout history and the universe as a spectator and as a guardian of all that is right and good. He has a particular interest in Earth and humans, and is constantly coming to the aid of mankind throughout history.
One of The Doctor’s traits is the ability to regenerate if necessary. This allows for the changing of actors from time to time, as well as introducing fresh personalities into the show. I must admit I was devastated at the end of Season One when the Ninth Doctor regenerated. To me, he was The Doctor. It took me a couple of episodes to warm up to the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), but once I did, he easily became my favorite. I was sad to see him go after several seasons, and I have not warmed to the Eleventh Doctor as much, but he holds his own.
The Doctor’s sidekicks are a huge part of the show as well. Rose Tyler was there for Season One and Two, and it was painful when she left. She was ‘replaced’ by Martha Jones, who never really lived up to the role in my opinion. While she had her moments, I always wished Rose was there to handle the situation. Her greatest contributions came at the end of her run while dealing with “The Master”. Next in line is Donna Noble, who is quite a character and a significant departure from Rose and Martha. She and The Doctor have a cosmic link and a great deal of chemistry with one another, although not as romantic as Rose and Martha. The companion for the Eleventh Doctor is my favorite, Amy Pond. I would have loved to have seen her paired with David Tennant, the Tenth Doctor.
Together with his sidekick, and his sonic screwdriver (not a weapon), The Doctor encounters historical figures (the Queen, Shakespeare, Van Gough, Winston Churchill, etc.), historical events (Mt. Vesuvius, etc.), alien species (the Ood, the Adipose, the Raxacoricofallapatorians, the Slitheen Family, the Vashta Nerada, etc.), and enemies (the Daleks, Cybermen, and more).
The series typically bounces loosely from a space/alien theme to an earth/historical theme from episode to episode. This keeps you from becoming too attached to one genre over the other. The earth episodes may be past, present, future or even parallel earth. 🙂
The show is rich in characters, twists and turns, and it has a hero who is truly that… a hero. The Doctor is, after all, The Doctor, and the world has always turned to him in their time of greatest need.
If you take my advice and check out this series, don’t give up on the first episode. Make sure to watch at least three, and you will be hooked for good. I guarantee it. I’m psyched now, and I want to go back and watch all of the available episodes again. I can’t wait for the next season to be released on Netflix.
Come along Pond…