Those of you not familiar with the BBC television show might be asking, “Doctor Who ?” Well, exactly.
I was first introduced to this show through a co-worker and was directed to watch an episode in Season 4. My first reaction was, “Huh?” It was campy yet serious, silly with gravitas. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I ignored it for a while. Then I decided to watch it again and discovered that other actors were playing the Doctor and the companion. I thought, “Wow, this show jumped the shark for sure.” Little did I know that this is the show’s 50th year and the Doctor has had countless companions and 11 Regenerations. It is a story that goes on, and has basically become a staple of British culture. I was intrigued. Ted and I found out that all the current seasons were available for streaming on Amazon Prime and just as Henry was born, when we needed something to occupy our minds for long nursing sessions and late hours, the Doctor entered our lives.
For those of you who don’t know: the Doctor is a Time Lord who travels through time and space in a blue police box called the TARDIS, saving the universe in small ways and large while rocking some (mostly) great hair and witty banter. Did I just lose some of you?
Well, why do I love this mad man in a box? He is one of television’s most interesting characters: He’s mysterious and downright silly, compassionate and wrathful, dashing and nerdy. And a Christ figure to boot, and I love me a good Christ figure. Let me make my case for Christ (teehee) with the caveat that I am not claiming the Doctor to be a perfect approximation of Christ; no character can fit the person of Christ exactly, but I love seeing pieces of his image displayed wherever I can find them.
- The Doctor is God-like, able to literally be resurrected after dying (called regeneration in the show). He transforms lives with compassion, daring, brilliance, and never in ways you would expect.
- He is pretty all-powerful, but he needs to be in relationship with others (called companions). They become his friends, his heart, and sometimes his conscience. Sometimes he needs them to keep his mercy in check.
- Part of what’s great about the doctor is who he chooses to surround himself with. The companions he chooses are so very ordinary. Rose is a 19 year-old shopgirl. Donna is a blustery middle-aged temp who never quite made life to be what she wanted. Amelia Pond is the lonely little girl in need of a rescuer. He loved these companions because he saw strength in their weakness; he loved the wonders of their smallness. Interestingly, the most successful of the bunch, Martha Jones, a self-assured medical student, was perhaps the least loved (though she was loved, but not in the romantic way she desired). She already had a path for her life, and wanted the Doctor on her terms and not his. Perhaps that is why she is also the only one who willingly leaves him.
- The Doctor has such an appreciation for all the mysteries of the universe. For example, when he comes across a werewolf, he doesn’t run in horror, but exclaims, “How beautiful.” I love that he sees beauty where we would only see monsters.
- What I love best about him, is the way he really sees into people, and that for the moment they have contact they are changed, electrified that there is hope in the world.
And that is why I love the Doctor and am eagerly awaiting my mad little Christ figure on Christmas Day.
Here are some clips of the 10th Doctor (my fave!) so you can see a bit what the show is like. Spoilers are included, but they won’t make any sense to you if you haven’t seen the show.