Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why Who?

It must have been 1980 or 1981. We lived in a little town called Windsor, Colorado. To fully understand the moment I am about to describe, you need to know a couple of facts. 1. We did not have a TV at the time. 2. I was a child with a vivid imagination, perhaps too vivid, and… 3. I was fascinated with fear. At the time, it came across as simply fear, but I was interested in everything that I found scary.

One night at another family’s house, I caught a few minutes of a strange, wonderful and bizarre television show that was scary, exciting and almost incomprehensible to an outsider. It was episodic television. It was Science Fiction of the intellectual sort, and yet it had monsters and action as well. I asked my friend what it was. He told me it was called Doctor Who.

To make things even more fascinating for me, I went nearly thirty years without an opportunity to see any more of that show. Occasionally I would see a book about it, or I would catch a few more minutes of it late, late on Saturday nights on PBS. Then, after I had kids who were very similar to the way I was as a child, DVD presented us with a wonderful opportunity and a shared obsession. We watch the old shows, we watch the new series, and we indulge our desire to be scared.

And yet it is not just fun escapist entertainment. Throughout the decades Doctor Who—above all else—has been a show about ideas. It has influenced generations philosophically, politically, and intellectually—for better or for worse. Now that the show is in its eleventh incarnation and 31st season, I have decided to take a few weeks exploring (further, as I have hit this topic twice already) some of the major themes and ideas the show has presented to all us kids for all these years…

5 comments:

  1. Just so everyone knows I do not have this fascination for Dr. Who

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  2. But do you have the same fascination with fear, Jeff?

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  3. Don't worry, Jeff. The fact that you wrote Dr. and not Doctor is a dead giveaway that you are not a fan. It sort of makes me sad, though. We used to like all the same things growing up: Star Wars, Star Trek, Robotech... you could make a good geek if you weren't too cool.

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  4. Oh, my Sons, thank you for a good laugh! (I needed it after a day at school!)

    I saw another commercial, Jason...will try to find it. Says: do you remember the first time: you realized clowns were creepy; you realized puppets didn't have legs; and so on

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  5. Becky, I woudn't say I am fascinated with fear it self but yes. I think it is the Dietz in me that wants so much control that when I face something that stirs fear in me I feel the need to conquor it or overcome it.

    Jason I think where the divergence began was that night in Santiago when Dad and I had gone to the store and saw the undercover cop dressed up like a woman doing a sting to catch solicitors. The next night the family went out to eat and when walking home we walked by him again. LAter we were talking about how creepy he looked and out of no where a completly innocent man was walking past us and came up from behind and passed you close by. You not knowing he was comming screammed bloody murder and this guy jumped and nearly cleared the street and made it to the other side in one leap. I dont know who got the biggest scare you or him. But that episod lead me to rather than join in your fascinations to observe yours and watch the funnies that came from them. :)

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