The ‘Doctor Who’ Phenomenon

Posted on Nov 13 2013 - 10:23am by Guest Writer

By Natalie Deford, Guest Writer

‘Doctor Who’ bow ties and blue phone booths can be seen on the belongings of Lutes all over campus.

BBC’s Doctor Who is a wildly popular series that first aired in 1963 and is now celebrating a glorious 50 years in the art of science fiction television. The anniversary special, “The Day of The Doctor”, airs on Nov. 23 with a worldwide simultaneous broadcast.

While the by-products of this show are everywhere, not everyone knows what the show is about and may require some background information.

“The series is mostly about having fun with a crazy person in all sorts of places that may or may not get you killed,” Junior Adrian Mayoral said.

The Doctor in the series is from the planet Gallifrey and is the only surviving member of his species, the Time Lords. Gallifrey was destroyed in the Time War with the Daleks, the Doctor’s greatest enemy. They are squid-like creatures inside metal casings with extermination rays. They appear, among other alien species, continuously throughout the show.

The Doctor has been running ever since the war and travels through space and time  in a blue police box that’s bigger on the inside. It’s called the Time and Relative Dimensions in Space or TARDIS.

The Doctor’s tool is a Sonic Screwdriver, which unlocks, fixes and jump-starts just about anything. It also sometimes serve as a weapon. He always tries to save everyone, even at the cost of his own life. Luckily, this is not as much of a problem as it is for humans because Timelords regenerate.

When the Doctor faces mortal injury, he doesn’t actually die. He starts over as a new doctor played by a different actor. This is how he has so far had 11 faces and the show has been able to continue for 50 years.

The series was revived in 2005 with the introduction of the ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, and his companion Rose. Since the revival there are 7 complete seasons in the new series.

Following Eccleston came David Tennant as Doctor number ten. The eleventh, and current, Doctor is played by Matt Smith.

Normally, the doctor travels with a companion because he is lonely. The companions usually happen to stumble upon the Doctor in some sort of alien-related crisis on earth. They end up helping him in most cases and are fascinated by him as he is unlike anyone they have ever met before.

If a person is lucky enough, the doctor will say, “come with me,” hand them a TARDIS key, and take them anywhere they want to go.

Mystery is definitely present throughout the show, as it is not just science fiction. So perhaps this mix of styles contributes to why  the show is so popular.

“The show contains action, adventure and sci-fi, all genres I love,” Junior Campbell Brett said.

Sophomore Maia Palmer said she likes the show’s mix of, “Fantasy, adventure and humor,” She also said “the story is unique and the characters have a lot of depth.” She said she enjoys how the doctor and the companions handle the situations presented in each episode.

Freshman Kiera Stevens is an avid fan who recently cos-played the TARDIS as her Halloween costume, complete with light-up hat.

Stevens’s favorite part of Doctor Who is how it changes over time. She said the show is, “constantly evolving in both people and storyline which makes the show crazy and amazing.”

Stevens said her best advice for newcomers to the show is, “don’t judge the entire series by the first episode.” One episode is not enough to get the full Doctor Who experience and several episodes must be watched in order to see if you like it.

Whether that something special is the combining of multiple genres, the actors, the characters, the endless possibilities, the system that keeps the show regenerating and continuing, or a wonderful mix of all of the above, Doctor Who has certainly made its mark as something fantastic.

The 50th anniversary special, “The Day of The Doctor,” airs Nov. 23 on BBC.