Sheba Wood ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Writer
While I rock back and forth on my TARDIS Blue bed awaiting the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who, I figured that I would offer some personal insight on the new series of the show so far. First, let me say that I do not intend to speak upon the behalf of whovians everywhere, for that would be quite unfair. I am but a low fangirl with Tumblr as my only outlet for my obsessing over leather jackets, captains, beautifully messy hair and bowties. However, as my gift to the Doctor Who fandom here at Emerson, I am going to take us for a trip down memory lane over the next few months looking at the 9th, 10th, and 11th regenerations of The Doctor (Let’s not get into the whole John Hurt business yet. It is a bunch of timey-wimey stuff at the moment). Then I will talk about the differences between the writers and therefore the show as a whole. Well then, you ready? Fantastic!
First, for those poor unfortunate souls who have yet to discover Doctor Who or for people who haven’t watched in awhile and have forgotten almost everything about the show, here are the basics. The Doctor is from the planet of Gallifrey, which was destroyed after a war against the Daleks. This is known as the Time War. The Doctor is the only Time Lord left and he travels around in a TARDIS. “TARDIS” stands for “Time And Relative Dimension In Space.” The TARDIS looks like a 1960s Police Box because it used to be able to camouflage itself, however that ability was broken while The Doctor was in England during the 1960s. The Doctor travels around all of time and space with companions (Usually from Earth and these people are usually very attractive, but that isn’t why The Doctor chooses them.) exploring, discovering, and trying to save people from danger across the universe. Also, Time Lords have the power of regeneration. When a Time Lord is close to death, their body will change into a completely different form, which explains why there have been eleven doctors so far. With his new body, The Doctor gains new personality traits as he grows into the man he thinks that he needs to be. The modern episodes of Doctor Who started with the Ninth Doctor already existing and traveling about, until he meets the woman that changes everything.
When we first meet Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor in the first episode of the new series, “Rose”, he seems to be the Doctor we now know and love; Running around after aliens with a smile, saving silly single-hearted Earth dwellers from certain death, being rather sassy, but a part of him is missing. The Doctor we first meet in the new series is one that is born from a life of constant fighting and loss, so much so that he is traveling alone. He has complete disregard for Rose when she tries at first to understand his life and what is happening to the mannequins, but he just goes off into the TARDIS and vanishes. Though Nine still has that sassy and quirky demeanor that the fans adore, it is more of an emotional wall than his pure enjoyment of life.
Perhaps this is why we love the original companions so much. Through the entire first series, we see The Doctor have more fun, become more humane, and eventually start to love himself. Who does he have to thank for that? Captain Jack Harkness. Why? Captain Jack can do no wrong. In all seriousness, it is also because of Rose’s companionship. The way that Rose is so open and accepting of every extraterrestrial being that they come into contact with and how she tries to save people just as The Doctor attempts to heal the worlds that he visits, opens his eyes to the genuine sincerity that is still out in the universe. Although I know that whovians don’t forget that The Doctor is from Gallifrey, I think that we sometimes choose to ignore the fact that The Doctor had to fight in a vicious war that left him as the only survivor. Most people can think of a time when they felt lonely, but to go so far as to lose everyone that was your species, none of us can possibly imagine what that feels like. If you think that it would break your one heart, just remember that Time Lords have two.
That’s why when Nine is regenerating, and he says that he was fantastic, although Ten was my first Doctor, I cried. Nine is a perfect example that being surrounded by kind-hearted people can truly turn someone’s life around. Sure, The Doctor probably would have continued to save worlds, but how much evil would he have had to see before he believed that nothing was worth saving anymore? Then where would we be? I would rather not be exterminated or deleted (Not smart enough to be upgraded) and I am glad that the Doctor found someone in whom he could see the true warmth of human nature: Our potential, our drive, our optimism and courage and most of all, the power of love. We have Rose Tyler to thank for that. Sure, Nine was only around for one season, but that time was so vital for us to experience, and I believe that had we not had Nine, we would not love Ten as much. We can truly appreciate and be thankful for how happy Ten was most of the time since we saw how tortured he was before. I will say that I am overall glad that he traded in the leather jacket for the pinstripes and sneakers, but one without the other doesn’t make sense. Love is born out of hate sometimes, just as compassion can be derived from loss.
So, people should stop selling Nine so short. After all, he is the king of sass. When you get nicer, you lose some of the sarcastic sassiness. That’s why I stay so evil. I know that we all love Tennent (Because he is goregeous and talented and beautiful and perfect) but let’s not forget to applaud Eccleston for his performance and the fact that he made the banana fun in a more innocent manner. Parts of Nine are still in the Doctor today, but that is for another day. My personal favorite has to be him dancing to Tainted Love when he first takes Rose somewhere, specifically to the end of planet Earth (Don’t worry, it isn’t any time soon.) The Doctor loves to explore just as actual human doctors enjoy discovering and studying things. I am sure that he doesn’t mind saving people every once in awhile, but exploration and exposing his companions to life outside of their natural environments, teaching them that there is more to life out there allows both his companions and the Doctor to redefine themselves for the better, and that is why I will always love Nine. He became a better person with a little love and humanity.
Sheba Wood ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Writer