Yes, I am a Doctor Who fan. I ran across my first episode of it by accident on KCTS 9, the public television station, in my first year of college. Sunday nights, I, and one other friend, the only other friend who appreciated it, watched it religiously. It was a staggering departure from the science fiction television I had grown up with, dulled in spirit and wonderment. Doctor Who operated on plane above all else, catalyzing my initial dive into physics and remains to this day one of my fundamental coping mechanisms when dealing with the absurdities of our existence.
Doctor Who, the longest running science fiction series, first aired back in 1963 on BBC television – before I was born. The last episode aired in 1989. Until recently.
The series has started filming again. I have tried explaining to people who know nothing of Doctor Who the reasons I love it so, and even few science fiction fans I know can appreciate the earlier episodes. But this has not lessened my excitement. It even shocks me how excited I have been to learn of a television show’s return.
It may be because Doctor Who lives outside the normal constraints of space and time, and I perhaps felt a kinship in this, where so much of the world is always caught up in their silly little things. But it’s not just that. Intelligence, compassion, determination, flying by the seat of his pants, ignoring needless restrictions, a genuine passion for exploration and an indomidable curiosity for all things….
The world is not like that. The people of the world like things – gathering them, hording them, building barriers and walls, procreating, consuming, spending their time in frivolous amusements. Most are very, very mentally lazy. They are content without the passion for understanding. People who do have a passion for understanding and exploration more often than not are viewed as a little freakish. But Doctor Who is perfectly content being freakish, simply because thinking such a thing is meaningless.
So I have been watching the new episodes, and the first season has ended. They were not disappointing. It has left me wanting more, and I’ll be waiting until Christmas. I wouldn’t normally write about such a thing, but I had to, considering the last issue I wrote about, the father beating his son to death because he thought he was gay.
So this now becomes an ode to Captain Jack. The Doctor and his companion Rose, whom he picked up on Earth, befriending her during an invasion the Doctor was silently thwarting, ended up traveling back in time to London during the bombings by Nazi Germany. Captain Jack was a con man from Earth’s far distant future who had also arrived to salvage, sell and pawn off a crashed alien space ship, but the ship had brought with it crazy effects upon the populace that were spreading.
I was amazed when Captain Jack, who was impersonating a Royal Airforce Officer, spoke to a fellow officer, complimenting him on his bum. Captain Jack later meets Rose, the Doctor’s companion, saving her life, and they have an intensely romantic encounter. Still later, the companions need to distract this RAF officer who earlier Captain Jack had complimented, and Rose was going to go down to do it. But Jack stopped her, saying that he’d be the better one for the job – which shocked Rose until the Doctor explained to her that Earth during Captain Jack’s time was all about mostly going out and having fun in the universe.
Honestly, I couldn’t believe this development in the story – it was all handled so naturally and without pretense. There were no stereotypes, no oddness or strangeness, just matter-of-fact-ness. Leave it to Doctor Who, I suppose, of all things, to bring to television something utterly new – the completely without prejudice or stereotype representation of a guy who likes guys and girls, equally well, or as Captain Jack says, it’s all about how good you feel.
This swashbuckler travels with the Doctor and Rose until the last episode, flirting and saying nice things about everyone. Normally the Doctor’s companions do not show much physical affection toward the Doctor, let alone a male companion. I was dumbfounded. Astonished. So incredibly happy and inspired by this most natural and utterly without bias portrayal.
So my hat’s off to this new Doctor Who series, being created and broadcast in a time of darkness where nameless threats and lies exist so prevalently and men beat their children to death thinking they might be gay. How petty and ludicrous we can be.
Here is a voice which says, there is so much yet to see! There is so much yet to learn, and to experience! There is so much we can be!!
The BBC rocks. As does the actor, John Barrowman.
Captain Jack finds himself transported to a fashion boutique, not knowing yet that it’s a voyeuristic television show.
Robots dress him in the latest fashions as the masses watch on TV – everyone watches everything on TV, and the shows do not always have happy endings for the people. “Your ratings just went up,” he jokes.
Jack decides against some of the more extreme fasion makeovers.
Captain Jack tries to get some of the citizenry to help fight off the Daleks with him, with little success.
Leaving them, fighting to keep Daleks at bay to buy them time. Saying goodbye to Rose.
Saying goodbye to the Doctor.
A farewell kiss to both.
Doesn’t think he’ll see them again.
Watching, just as he’s about to be killed.
The smart, swashbuckling, con-man lover from the future.