The early 1990’s was when I first came across “Doctor Who.” I found it on a local PBS station while flipping through the channels during a commercial break for “Saturday Night Live.” The first thing I remember was the big, rubbery, pink hand of a Zygon on a spaceship’s control panel. The sight of this show confused and intrigued me. I never thought something like this would ever be shown on PBS. At the time I thought PBS only aired boring shows in the evening like “Mystery,” “Masterpiece Theater,” and “The Lawrence Welk Show.” I believed someone hijacked the station and put on some weird sci-fi movie from the 70’s. Thankfully, it was pledge time and after a few minutes of watching a man with an unusually long scarf run around, a break popped up and explained what the hell I was watching. After a few more minutes I returned to “Saturday Night Live” because, who didn’t love The Church Lady, right? However, every commercial break, musical performance, and rerun after that night, I ended up watching “Doctor Who.”
When the show came back in 2005 I only moderately cared. It was something I found interesting, but I never considered myself a true fan. The Sci-Fi Channel’s lack of excitement didn’t help me either. However, things changed in 2007. While working at the same PBS station I watched as a child, the first series with Christoper Eccleston came down their satellite every afternoon for two weeks. It felt right this time. The show finally had the budget to met it’s fantastic ideas. From then on, I was in. Whether I got the episodes from the library or the kind people that uploaded them online, I caught up as quickly as I could.
Since then I’ve really identified with the show , and it’s become a bit of an obsession with me. I watch a classic or current series episode almost every day; there is something Tardis related around me most of the time; heck I even wear thick framed glasses because David Tennant’s version of The Doctor wore them.
The hardest part of being a “Doctor Who” fan is when the actor playing The Doctor moves on. Sure, the character regenerates into a new person, but it’s still difficult. It’s a bit like saying goodbye to your best friend from childhood. You know they’ll still be out there, but you’ll probably never get to see them again. On Christmas we said goodbye to the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith. I teared up a bit, because as I mentioned above, I was saying goodbye to a friend.
Matt Smith’s time as The Doctor meant a lot to me. He helped me appreciate Vincent Van Gogh. My interest in space exploration is significantly higher. I now understand that bow ties, fezzes, and stetsons are cool. Most importantly though, I was able to introduce my favorite show to my girlfriend through him. If that mad man wasn’t around I don’t know if she would have been as willing to watch it. Thanks to Matt Smith, Showrunner Steven Moffat, and all the other brilliant people that put “Doctor Who” together, I was able to share something deeply personal with someone I love. One of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced is sharing The Doctor with my girlfriend, and having her embrace the show as well. She is so wonderful, she made Tardis cupcakes for my birthday.
Several days later I still miss Matt, but the good news is we’ll have a new friend to play with. Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor. He’ll probably be a bit more stern than the recent versions of The Doctor, but so was John Hurt in “The Day of the Doctor” and that turned out pretty well. If nothing else we should get some pretty good mash ups with “Doctor Who” and “In the Loop.”
But for now, goodbye Raggedy Man.