There. I said it. Despite my proud status as a TV nerd who watches all manner of genre entertainment on a regular basis, I have never liked “Doctor Who.” This has been my secret shame for many years, but I can no longer keep silent.
I am no Whovian, and I doubt I ever will be.
Disclaimer: This post represents the opinions of the author only, not the position of Zap2it. So please be nice to everyone else.
Before you get your pitchforks and throw me to the Daleks …
Please don’t kill me, passionate fans of the Doctor! I mean no disrespect to you or your show in my admission. “Doctor Who” is a fine example of science-fiction television and a singular achievement in any form of entertainment.
I just don’t enjoy watching it.
There are many other TV programs I don’t like to watch, of course. Honestly, this could easily be an article about “The Walking Dead” or “American Horror Story” or one of another of the many high-quality shows that I don’t happen to like. The only difference is that I’m publicly allowed to dislike those shows.
But this is “Doctor Who,” so I need to give my reasons. Actually, it’s mostly just one over-arching reason. Which is …
“Doctor Who” scares me
I am terrified of “Doctor Who.”
This is not a new thing in my life, a phobia that sprang into being with the BBC reboot of the long-running series. My fear of the Doctor and his adventures dates back to early childhood, when older “Doctor Who” series would rerun on PBS.
With the low-budget effects fought by the early Doctors, it’s not that the aliens and monsters and whatever else were all that terrifying. Even as a small child, it all looked fake to me. But that’s not the scary part of “Doctor Who.” And — as any Whovian will probably tell you — it’s not the bad costumes and cheap effects that make this show the classic that it is.
What scared me as a child and still scares me today is the nightmarish quality that underlies so many of the show’s stories. No matter how cheap the execution, there is always a dark brilliance just below the surface of “Doctor Who.” It’s almost like someone has taken every childish, monster-under-the-bed fear and distilled it into something that can shake the hearts of people at any age.
Take the Daleks, for example. They’re almost laughable in their blind desire to “exterminate.” But how do you fight a monster that has no reason? What do you do when nothing but running can save you? When every battle is, in essence, a losing one against an unstoppable force?
For a more modern nightmare, there are the Weeping Angels. I honestly don’t know exactly what these creatures are supposed to be, but even the mention of a threat that **only exists when you don’t look at it? I shudder at the thought. It’s like someone took the fear of what lies hidden in the dark and gave it concrete form.
There isn’t even any comfort in the heroes of “Doctor Who.” The Doctor himself, although always altering slightly, keeps a dark edge to him. Death haunts this deathless creature, and he inhabits a universe that is always on the verge of collapse. The Doctor’s companions in turn get the ride of their lives — a ride that often ends in either death or a cursed existence.
I don’t want to live in the Doctor’s universe. However fantastic and enthralling it may be, this is a universe that wants to hurt me. I’d honestly prefer it never existed.
Only true quality can inspire such feelings
Many great actors have passed through “Doctor Who” in its long run. Writers and directors with more talent than I can even envision have taken the time to craft something that turns any imperfections into more strength. I’m a huge fan of many of those associated with the show when I see their work in other venues.
It’s just that, with “Doctor Who,” they turn that genius into something that literally haunts my dreams.
Now hitting the 50-year mark, “Doctor Who” has left an indelible stamp on science fiction in particular and on television as a whole. I think we’re all — Whovian and non-Whovian alike — made richer by this show’s existence.
But I don’t have to like it. That’s OK. After all, nothing this big or this monumental needs the love of the universe. “Doctor Who” doesn’t need me.