Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Doctor

My father is Tom Baker. Depending on how much of a nerd you are today or were as a child, or if you happen to have the misfortune of being British, that name may mean something special to you. Some of my earlier memories involve sitting at home watching Doctor Who with my brother and sister, who are both older than me by several years. At the time, the Doctor was played by a British actor with my father’s name (something which deeply impressed my brother and sister, but was lost on me). I don’t remember much about those series, but periodically throughout my life, somebody I would have recently met will learn my father’s name and their face will light up with recognition and nostalgia. Nerds.

When the BBC rebooted the franchise several years ago with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, a guy I know from England was very keen on it. He went to great lengths to explain why I needed to be watching it, and basically gave me a spoiler-rich synopsis of the finale, in which the Doctor regenerates into David Tennant. I was more or less sold on the idea that it was something I would probably like, but it took until the fall of past year for Sarah and I to actually sit down and commit to watching any of it. By that time, it was the fifth series since the reboot, and the Doctor had regenerated again into the personage of Matt Smith. We were thoroughly won over. Not long after we finished Series 5, we decided to begin a new subscription to Netflix almost entirely for the purposes of streaming the Eccleston and Tennant shows from the beginning.

Sarah is not a fan of Eccleston. I can’t imagine that he’s very many people’s favorite Doctor, but I think he did a noble job of recreating the character and his bowing out opened the door for David Tennant, who has probably come to embody the Doctor as much as Tom Baker did a generation ago. We’re near the end of Tennant’s run, but there are new Matt Smith episodes to come, which is nice. It’s good to have something to look forward to, but I don’t look forward to the waiting.

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