(In which Job flirts with science-fiction with, as yet, unknown results.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 9, 2007 12:08am | Post a Comment
I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to.

No, not renting out a room in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion (you would not believe what they’re asking for a studio, which doesn’t even include holograms of ghosts eating cake!)

I’ve begun watching “Doctor Who”, starting with the original series, which ran from 1963 to1966 and stared William Hartnell as a particularly unsexy lead.

Some of you know I am a sucker for British television, though the love is not unconditional. I would no sooner sit through an episode of “Are You Being Served?” than a lecture on safe-sex from a 19th century French poet.

Still, many of my favorites (“League of Gentlemen”, “Absolutely Fabulous”, “Black Adder” to name a few) hail from the Isles, and I do expect a certain sophistication from its programming. It’s not that I need obscure historical references in order to evoke a giggle, I just appreciate that, as opposed to many US shows, not every actor looks like they live at Hefner’s mansion, and not every joke is accentuated by obvious pauses, eye-rolling, and orchestrated laughter from a studio audience.

So far the show is good fun. Because of its spookiness and languid pace, I can only convince myself to watch it at bedtime, which is a minus.

It’s not uniformly entertaining. The scenes which focus on the core characters (the Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her school teachers, Barbara and Ian) are enjoyable and emotionally complex enough to be intriguing, though the actress playing the granddaughter seems to sometimes forget she’s on a TV show and not a West End production of Electra.

Inevitably there must be scenes which focus on the antagonists. In the first storyline, these happen to be a bunch of primitive cavemen, who may not know how to make fire, but manage to speak modern English better than most US high school students. These scenes tend to run long, so far.

It’s all new to me, and I’m weathering the slow pace of season one in order to eventually savor the joys of more lauded seasons, such as the Tom Baker years.

I feel a little weird devoting myself to a sci-fi show. It’s out of character. While my chums have been hypnotized by the fantastical, (such as “Star Trek” or “X-Files” or “Real Time with Bill Maher”) I never really “got it”. Something about the option of futuristic technology offered too many easy-outs, I guess.

I do love Philip K. Dick. He manages to be futuristic while maintaining the oppressive clunkiness of physical law. But I digress.

It’s leaving me eager to discuss “Doctor Who” with others who’ve seen it, but left me wary of who those people might be. Will I soon be numbered amongst the sexless geeks who populate cyber-space, exchanging cheeky remarks about Scully in Klingonese? I am not ready for that, and remind myself I have a boyfriend who has no intention of allowing me to be sexless.

It’s too soon to worry, anyhow. I’m barely into this thing, and for all I know I won’t see it through.  For the present, however, I am on board.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a telephone booth and a dead planet. Regards to the Queen…

Relevant Tags

Disneyland (15), Haunted Mansion (5), Doctor Who (6), William Hartnell (2), Bbc (15), England (22), Are You Being Served (1), League Of Gentlemen (2), Absolutely Fabulous (4), Black Adder (1), Philip K. Dick (5), Star Trek (16), X-files (3)