Friday, February 8, 2013

50 years of Doctor Who





It was like an ugly bait and switch.

A couple weeks back, Wired reported that all 11 Doctors would be appearing in the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who.  That's right.  All.  How, might you ask, would the three deceased ones such as Jon Pertwee make it back from beyond?  Why, special effects of course.

This turns out to be almost entirely a rumor with little to no basis in fact.  Yeah, it let me down, too.  This is not to say that the reunion won't happen, but it is far from confirmed and the odds are against it.  And I'm still going to watch.

In truth, I know relatively few of the Doctors.  My childhood introduction to Doctor Who was staying up late to watch it on PBS and the Doctor at the time was Jon Pertwee, a grandfatherly type of presence that granted a calming effect whenever the word "exterminate!" started to be repeated.  After that came Tom Baker and his, in my opinion, classic episodes "Ark in Space" and "The Pyramids of Mars."  I also seem to recall an especially atrocious feature film with Peter Cushing as the Doctor, but I could be mistaken.  As I entered my teens, I dropped away from the show, stupidly believing myself too cool for it.  However, when BBC resurrected the series with Christopher Eccelston, I was hooked.

BBC America recently ran a three-hour retrospective on the series and I found myself especially intrigued by the earlier incarnations of the Doctor, my exposure to which as I stated previously, was limited.  Case in point, the first Doctor, William Hartnell.  It was his Doctor who outlined the rules for a time traveler in an episode dealing with Aztec times.  More than that, the subject matter was originally intended by the BBC to teach history to children.  Fascinating, but I digress...

So what will the anniversary episode entail?  Writer/Producer Stephen Moffat is tight-lipped about it as you might imagine.  I'm certain he likewise has the cast and crew threatened into silence as well.  What is known is that Doctors Matt Smith and David Tennant are pretty much locks for the show.  Eccelston, however, has shown open resistance to joining the episode (yet, as the link above points out, playing "Destro" was just fine with him.)

What menace will the episode feature?  Well, the Daleks are probably the go-to choice, but they're rather overexposed.  I would rather see an old nemesis like The Master make a return, but let's face it, it could be anybody.  Perhaps even a villain that is entirely new to the mythos.  Whatever it is, I fully plan to be there to find out.

After all, I'm never opposed to a ride in the TARDIS.  To turn that down would be foolish indeed.
Rule Britannia!


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