1. It is the best form of escapism, which is why it is the worst form of escapism. Doctor Who is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Even if it is a time-travel show, the scope of its characters and settings is too wide for it to be compared to any other time-travel film or fiction. Because there is so much opportunity for renewing (and sometimes, regenerating), it always takes you to a place that is unlike anything you’ve ever known or seen, but one in which you feel completely at home.
2. You never came across anything you love as much as your favourite TV show when you were six-years-old, until you watched Doctor Who. It is a show that people of any age group or gender can relate to, but if you fall in love with it, you do so with the same sense of wonder and enthusiasm you had when you were a child. It is a feeling very unlike our grown-up ways of appreciating pop culture, where we binge or go through phases.
3. Next time your mother regrets your not becoming a doctor, tell her nonchalantly, “Ok, I just need a sonic screwdriver and a flying blue box.” The Doctor is the main character who, to speak highly metaphorically, acts as carer and healer of the universe. On a thematic level, the show explores what it is to be someone who cares.
4. For a sci-fi show about aliens, it is neither too alienating nor too science fiction-y. You can even ignore these aspects and stay for the endearing, loveable characters, their banter and the plot. Few shows can make you feel instantly attached and invested in new characters. Heck, in this show you even have the main character being played by different actors.
5. For a show high on comedy, it makes you cry. Copious amounts, memorably, much more than any Oscar-winning dramatic film. Unlike some comedy shows with dramatic moments, Doctor Who doesn’t cue you to cry. The characters and their relationships with each other feel so natural and at ease, you don’t want them to go.
6. The near limitless scope of time and space in setting and storyline ensures you can be anywhere, at anytime. One day it’s Shakespeare, the next day it’s Agatha Christie. They even put Hitler in a cupboard.
7. It is positive without being cheesy. The Doctor refuses to use a gun, though he has plenty of blood on his hands. Even if other characters have wielded weapons from time to time, the inherent message in every episode is to work things out sans violence.
8. It isn’t unafraid of showing its main character in a bad light, without expecting you to feel sorry for him.
9. It throws up new ways of looking at our humanity every time. And often, there are great, big speeches to make it even more obvious. And worthy of reflection. And quotable.
10. Your own world, your own mind, will never be the same again. Doctor Who becomes a reference point. And that is why you get a little too attached fans, known as ‘Whovians’, who seem to speak a different language to people who don’t watch Doctor Who. Because it is the best/worst form of escapism, the withdrawal symptoms are also the worst, with almost everything reminding you of it. In the end, you just accept it, because as far as pop culture influences go, it is not too bad to be influenced by something so positive, humane, endearing, open, adventurous and fun, is it?
This is a re-post. Series 9 of Doctor Who(2005) begins today. I am so excited!