Mad Man with a Box
Since today is Steampowered Sunday, I thought I would do my factoid as a separate post again, simply because if feels really odd to tack on personal bits on the tail end of “feature”. Since I vowed to finish this month with a factoid a day, this seems like the best way of handling that. Anyways… as I have stated before I grew up in a really small town. There are smaller I am sure, but 2500 people is pretty damned small especially for being a county seat. As a result I did not have cable until I went to college. The cable ran to within a quarter mile of my house growing up, but because of that we were limited to six channels. Essentially an NBC affiliate, CBS affiliate, ABC affiliate, Fox, UPN and the local PBS channel.
Since network television has always been crap, I spent a good chunk of my childhood watching Public Broadcasting like Mister Rogers or Nova. Late at night however the PBS channel changed and brought into our living room all these excellent British television shows. They varied over the years from Are You Being Served, Faulty Towers, Monty Python, Keeping Up Appearances, Benny Hill, Blakes 7, The Tripods… but the constant was always Doctor Who. Some of my fondest memories of my father were staying up late to watch Doctor Who.
Late Night Doctor Who
I realize it is not much of a shocker that me… a notorious geek… loves Doctor Who. It goes deeper than that. The first Doctor I can really remember is Jon Pertwee aka the Third Doctor. However to me Doctor Who will always be the fourth doctor, Tom Baker. Seeing that hat and that scarf still gives me warm fuzzies. Doctor Who above all represented what was good and right in the world. The solemn defender that used his mind rather than brute force to solve problems. While I love the modern incarnation of Doctor Who as well, it is simply a different animal. For as crappy as the special effects were, even rewatching the old episodes on netflix, everything from that era felt more fantastical and hopeful.
Doctor Who also gave me and my father a time to bond together. It was not something my mother liked at all, so she gave us the time to hang out together. More or less I was raised by my mother and grandmother, in that they were the people who I spent most of my time with. My dad was almost always working, and when he was off work he was busy with his photography business. So the moments when I got to just hang out with my dad felt few and far between. Even today when we get together, the topic will eventually lead its way back to whatever is happening in the current series with the current doctor.
While there are a lot of things that I am nostalgic about, and am willing to geek out over… Doctor Who just feels more pure. While the show has better special effects and has ratcheted up the horror factor a notch or two… it still feels very much the same show at its core. It will and always has been about a mad man with a box, who deeply loved what he saw special and different in humanity. That gives me hope for us as a species, that this lonely man from Gallifrey could care about us that much. I hope that the series continues on forever, infecting each new generation of viewers with the same spirit of wonder.