Nostalgia Kicks: An Adventure Through Time
Me: Doctor, Doctor. I think I’m having a mid-life crisis and regret a lot of things I missed in my childhood. What should I do?
The Doctor: Step into my office…
Cue the Doctor Who theme.
The mid-life crisis does seem to be a purely male endeavour and although I am not perhaps at that stage in my life quite yet, the early signs are there. A deep consideration for changing career, going back to university to study, reminiscing about old times, and of course the age-old question of ‘when is it all going to end?’ Oh, and Doctor Who.
Most men who go through their mid-life crisis buy a fast car, hire a prostitute (and then marry her), dress like they’re in the 80’s or take drugs, but I have opted for a much cheaper (and safer) option: treading through an unlived childhood. As there is no mini-Jeremy terrorising the household, I lack any means to do what most parents are able to do, which is to vicariously relive a childhood through their own children, whether through forcing them to dress up as Disney characters and making them dance on TikTok for 10 seconds of fame or watch all the cartoons I watched as a child. That is still yet to come, I suppose. But until it does, I’ll just have to do it to myself.
I could watch reruns of Nickelodeon cartoons or watch all the old movies I loved as a kid, but I think I can spend my time a little better than letting my mind rot watching old episodes of the Rugrats. Sure, there is some good new stuff out there, but having been left so disenchanted with a lot of what’s on now, I decided it was a good opportunity to step back in time and see what was.
With the added factor of living abroad and not being surrounded by British culture and missing my family terribly, I thought it’d be more interesting to see what I have missed from back home, not just since I moved to Japan, but perhaps what I could have done while I was there, had I been able to focus just that little bit more. In a way I suppose it’s a conscious effort to reconnect with what I consider a big part of me and be a bit more learned in British culture and history.
What better way to do a bit of time travelling than through the oddly popular Doctor Who? I say ‘oddly’ as I am still trying to understand why it as popular as it. Doctor Who is one of characters on the list of British greats along with James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, all with a long list of actors that have played them, and a character that many actors want to be. The famous mechanical ‘thrumming’ of the TARDIS, forever locked into the visage of a 1960’s British police telephone box, is one of the most recognisable sounds to all British people, and now much further abroad.
I started watching the show ‘seriously’ sometime in December of last year, starting from the first series from the reboot starring Christopher Ecclestone as the titular Doctor. I’d be lying if I said I had never seen any of them before, but I certainly wasn’t sitting down every week desperately waiting for the next instalment to start. Released in 2005, I would have been coming up to my seventeenth birthday (Christ, really?), a time when I was far more interested in anything coming out of Japan and spent most of my time on my PC than I did watching TV. Being able to watch Japanese anime online with subtitles was a major change in how I accessed my entertainment. Now it is entirely possible that I am mashing a number of years together and getting all mixed up, but at least from what I remember, it just wasn’t on the top of my list of things to do at that time.
Throughout the years I did dabble, and I do remember the transition between David Tennant and Matt Smith, but I am very sure that I only watched a few episodes of each, such as the famous Weeping Angels, which I just rewatched recently and it is satisfyingly as creepy as it was the first time I saw it. And I have watched the occasional special episode along with a small run of the newest series with Jodie Whitaker.
In some ways I am grateful as I am now able to revisit it with fresh eyes and despite a lot of the drama that surrounds it from angry fans who hate the fact that they made the Doctor a woman, I can circumvent all of that and just appreciate it for what it was and is today. With that in mind, I do want to keep it purely at face value and stay as far away from the fandom as I can, which I think is another benefit of watching it now as opposed to being engrossed in it from the start. I haven’t watched all too much of the latest episodes and I have avoided reading any click-bait articles that try to convince me that everything is either extremely terrible or extremely amazing. There’s no in-between. I should also add here that I do not, in theory, have any problem with a female regeneration of The Doctor but perhaps the timing was not best and from what I can tell, that is the least of the show’s problems at this stage.
As I currently only have access to the “reboot” series, the order in which I will end up watching the show is going to be a little higgledy-piggledy but I think I can get my head around that with ease and will just have to allow subtle references of previous stories to wash over me until I get round to watching them and then perhaps understanding retroactively.
That being said, I have found a little workaround.
Not only am I making efforts to watch the show, but I have combined it with my desire to read more and having come into a rather sizeable collection of Doctor Who books from means that I could not possible write here, I have decided to give them a go as well. With my shiny new Kindle in hand, it’s time to rewind the clock 60 years and see how it all began, starting with Doctor Who and An Unearthly Child.
I’m looking forward to getting into it and I think I am going to enjoy it all very much. I’ve already loved most of what I have read and watched and will continue to watch it with enthusiasm and a little bit of nostalgia to help things along. I don’t think I will write any in-depth reviews of anything I watch or read, as there is plenty out there already, but I may consider writing the odd article if anything comes to mind, so please look out for those in the future. With the show’s 60th anniversary coming up this year, now is as good a time as any to see what all the fuss is about.
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