Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday (#?) to The Doctor .....

Doctor Who, one of the most popular and longest-lived franchises in science fiction, premiered on this day in 1963.

In a day when a show's life is measured may be measured in just a short run of episodes, it's hard to imagine that one could remain - and grow - over 45 years. I think that's been helped by the near-limitless opportunities for story and character development. The series has taken viewers back and forth through time and space, in and out of alternative realities and - with the 10th Doctor at the controls of the Tardis - across the barrier between parallel universes. Occasionally, those travels criss-cross with one another, creating opportunities to resolve old issues, anser old questions from previous episodes ... and start new ones.

Add to that a changing cast, as well. This Christmas season, British viewers of the series will meet the 11th Doctor ... did I tell you the character is an alien with the ability to regenerate when mortally injured? He comes back as the same character, but with a new appearance and personality. Also ever-changing is the Doctor's companions, usually women, whose appearance does not always coincide with the Doctor's regeneration ... Rose Tyler accompanied the 9th and 10th Doctors. The 10th Doctor has had two companions since then.

It's really hard to overstate the show's impact. It continues to be referenced in just about every medium of pop culture ... the most recent I've seen was a quick sight gag/play-on-words on Robot Chicken, and an episode of American Dad ("Escape from Pearl Bailey," 2008), when a candidate for class president courts the vote of those who are "obsessed with an old British TV show," much to the approval of students in the bleachers dressed at the 4th Doctor.

... wish I had a scarf like that. Happy birthday, Doctor!

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