I have never seen a full episode of Dr. Who. But I figured that, if I want to have any sort of SF street cred, I need to learn a little about it. I did go to Wikipedia first, which showed me some pictures of a TARDIS and a link to the Guinness World Records (Dr. Who, it appears, is the longest-running science fiction show in the history of the world. Pretty intense).
But it’s my experience that the best way to learn about something new is from an absolutely rabid fan. Wordpress seems so have such a person in Ben Young, who has been writing a weekly Dr. Who fanfiction podcast called “The Shadow in Eternity.” Rather than commentary on past or current episodes, Young created an entirely new storyline: one in which The Doctor is a woman.
Since holiday music kind of gets on my nerves (especially since it’s been playing since Halloween), I’ll be plugged into “The Shadow in Eternity” next month: it’s available on Ben Young’s blog, as well as on iTunes.
If you remember, last semester I took a class called “Twilight Zone Culture.” The basic premise of the course was that The Twilight Zone–in terms of popularity and reputation as a “classic” of science fiction, I see it as the American answer to Dr. Who–was ignored by censors because it wasn’t “serious.” Thus, fantasy and SF slipped under the radar in the McCarthy era–allowing Rod Serling to make serious social commentary in the 1960s. Young’s podcast interested me because he said something very similar about Dr. Who:
Doctor Who is also a great example of science fiction being able to make social and political comment because institutional censors dismiss it as insignificant (the Daily Mail recently noticed this; though it may have been a publicity stunt for the new series). The 2005 anti-Iraq war episode, for example, broadcast to millions the week before the UK General Election, was amazing.
Oh – and the OTHER reason is that I wanted to try to save what I loved about Doctor Who from the terrible writers and managers behind the current show. Arg!
With a female Time Lord and a pacifist “renegade alien” hero, let’s see what Dr. Who‘s all about.
“The Shadow in Eternity” podcast can be listened to on its website, downloaded from there, or found on itunes. All links are on the home page.