Review (Television) – Doctor Who

In 1976 my high school chemistry teacher told the class about a British science fiction program called Doctor Who that was airing on the local public television (PBS) station. I was always interested in science fiction since childhood and was an avid reader and viewer of old TV sci-fi programs. The first episodes that I saw were staring Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor. I watched with interest but had no clue about the history of the show. As I entered university Tom Baker had replaced Pertwee on the televised episodes. For the next three years Tom’s first four seasons were rerun on an endless loop five days per week Monday through Friday. Seeing the first episode of the twelfth season “Robot” I learned that the Doctor could change his appearance when mortally injured. I started to research as much as I could prior to the days of the internet and social media. After finding Doctor Who Magazine and discovering fanzines through an import company I was able to piece together The Doctor’s history. Pinnacle books and The Science Fiction Book Club re-printed the Target novelizations of old Doctor Who episodes which I devoured.
Fanzines, Doctor Who Magazine, novelizations and PBS airings carried my fandom through the 90s. Then in 1989 the show came to an end with a wimper. Fortunately the show did not fade away like so many other canceled programs. The “Wilderness Years” brought forth original novels, spin off video productions, a TV movie and eventually Big Finish audio dramas. When the series returned in 2005 there was already a rich tapestry of stories built upon the original classic serials. New Doctor Who allowed a whole new generation of fans to enjoy the show and to my great surprise it crawled out of the wilderness to a level of popularity never before seen.
The nature of the program allows for all sorts of stories to be told from historical adventures to space opera. The change of the Doctor leads to a freshness of characterization that other programs do not have. To fully immerse yourself into the history of the program start with 26 years of the classic series, a TV movie, and going into 11 seasons of the new series. In addition there are the spin off TV programs; K9 and Company, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, K9, and Class. There are 55 years of comic strip adventures, six different novel series (plus spin off novel series), dozens of short story collections and hundreds of audio adventures. All of that is for the Watsonian fan, if you are more Doyalist there are hundreds of non-fiction books and audios as well. Being a fan of Doctor Who is a lifetime commitment but is well worth the endeavor.

New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos
New photo by Wanderlust Family Adventure / Google Photos