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I've been thinking a lot lately about Doctor Who.

When I was 15, I was living in Napa, California. The ONLY exposure to Doctor Who I'd ever had was seeing the target novelisations in our school library (our school librarian was a MASSIVE Sci-Fi fan, needless to say we bonded immediately). My friend Paul and I thought the title stupid, and judged the show on that basis alone -- it's stupid, we said, what a dumbass show. Nowadays I'd whack anyone who made such a judgement with so little information, but back then I was a stupid kid.

I moved that summer to Sacramento. My aunt and uncle (hereinafter referred to as "my parents" for those paying attention) were going out of town, and since they didn't yet want to leave me alone (I was kind of a troubled teen), they asked a friend to take me in for the weekend. Her daughter was my age, but we didn't see eye to eye on much, her being more interested in booze and drugs than anything interesting.

At any rate, while she was busily drinkiing with he boyfriend late Saturday night, I wandered into the other room and stated flipping channels. I came across a british Sci-Fi show which was already in progress, and finding it interesting, settled in to watch.

I was amazed. Sure, the production values weren't the best, but the story... it was amazing. I grabbed up a TV Guide to see what it was. Imagine my chagrin when I realised I'd just become a fan of Doctor Who.

For several weeks I only watched if the TV Guide blurb said the show would be in an outer space setting -- I didn't think they'd do anything interesting in the past. But one night I decided if I was going to like the show, I was going to watch it all -- besides, I didn't have many friends, so what else did I have to do on a Saturday night?

I became a die hard fan almost immediately. It became a routine in my house -- every Saturday night, my aunt and uncle would clear out of the living room and go to bed about 9:30 or 10, and I'd sit in the dark living room, immersed in a great show.

Later, when I started actually making friends here in Sacramento, lo and behold I discovered most of those were already fans. One lived a few blocks away, and every Saturday we'd gather at her place around 6pm, watch Star Trek TNG, then other stuff, then Doctor Who. Through her I caught up on the parts I'd missed.

Eventually, of course, there were no new shows to make, the series finally being cancelled in 1989. Sadly, it was cancelled just as it had hit a rennaissance -- for much of the 80s, the show had begun to die creatively, but starting in 1987 it began to soar again -- just in time to end.

Those of us who love The Doctor are hard-pressed to make others who don't like it see what we do. Most often the reasons I've been given are the sets, or the designs, or the acting. Sure, the sets were often rickety, sure the SFX often left much to be desired (though it got MUCH better in the last few seasons), and ok, sometimes the performances were a bit Over The Top. But it had something that can't be faked, and can't be argued with. It had beauty and promise and hope for the future of mankind. It had a cohesive history (with a few hiccups, though even those can be explained easily with the phrase "sideways in Time") of Mankind, built over thirty years of broadcasting, to tell stories against. It was magic.

Even now, the music for the series makes me happy -- all I need to do is hear it, and I have feelings of a happy nature wash over me. Often, when I'm upset about something, I'll pop in an episode. It invariably makes me feel better.

Below, some of my favorite lines and snippets of dialogue, little pieces of the magic...

"I am not human, Sarah! You don't understand the implications. I am a Time Lord ... I walk in eternity."

"It is the end... but the moment has been prepared for."

"Listen to me, Morgaine! All over the world, fools are poised, ready to let Death fly! A light, brighter than the sun! A little girl looks up -- her eyes turn to cinders. Not a war between men, not a war between nations, but just Death! Death gone mad! Is this honor? Is this war? Are these the weapons you would use? TELL ME!"

And the words which ended the series.... they didn't know at the time it was the end forever, just for the season .. but the words are appropriate.

"There are worlds out there, where the skies are burning. Where the rivers sleep, and the seas are dreaming. People made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there's danger. Somewhere there's excitement. Somewhere else, the tea is getting cold! C'mon, Ace. We've got work to do!"
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johnstonmr

August 2017

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