And why I deem it worth using up the rest of my voice to talk about it in the car after I stayed up too late watching the 50th anniversary at a friend’s house. And why I deem it worth writing about today, when my head feels like styrofoam thanks to allergies (and thus shall all hate mail be forwarded). To be clear: I’ll try to avoid spoilers in this post and speak in generalizations.
But really? It’s a show about a time-traveling alien in a time machine disguised as a police telephone box from 1969 who runs around traversing planets and stars (also known as space pretties) with human companions. You know the phrase, “Hide behind the sofa”? It originated from discussion of this show. The progressive philosophies are a delightful hodgepodge mess to sort through, and yes, it has varied content issues.
Here’s why I deem it worth the monsters.
The quotes. Example:
The show has so much to say about living up to your name, your identity. It advocates not ‘making an identity for yourself,’ but choices. Every choice has consequences. Promises need to be kept. And you always have a choice.
It has so much to say about guilt, and how, even though it can drive you to do great, beautiful, wonderful things, it needs to be reconciled. The good things are wonderful. Beautiful. But you cannot atone for the things you have done. Guilt is not to be commended, but forgiven.
The wonder of the universe, and stumbling around astounded as a child. Never be too grown-up to make the wrong choice and be bored. And then, when you get old and very very tired, the show points you to look again. Look with someone. Watch them be lit up with delight. And never give up on them, always give them a second chance.
The Doctor has said, “I am sorry,” a thousand times, and always manages to be sincere.
The bigger scope of this idea is something lacking in most modern entertainment. Recently I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A lot of people died in that movie. Typical of an action flick. It really, really bothered me.
As a general (well, decreasing) rule of thumb, main characters don’t die. And even if they do, minor/random characters you don’t know die all the time, and that’s normal.
Don’t get me wrong, now. Lots of people die in Doctor Who. Lots. The difference is in the writing.
Nearly every single death matters. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent time watching the character grow, or if the Doctor only learns their name after they die. And the Doctor is the sort who will always, always stop and tell someone they are important. The other thing about this show is that it shows what happens when you don’t, either. It shows what happens when you forget to tell someone that they’re important, that you discard them, brush them off. It is complex and beautiful and terrible, similar to people.
So here we end up: The Doctor, in the TARDIS, next stop everywhere, made of ice and fire and rage and weariness and kindness, the very very last, with all of space and time at his fingertips.
And this madman, this eccentric alien who is so alone and has the biggest family on earth stops to tell people they matter. And maybe we don’t do that enough, and maybe we don’t value other people enough.
Maybe we don’t think about it enough:
That people are worth the monsters. Choose.
For Further Reading
Becoming the Doctor — Katie Lynn Daniels
Worth the Monsters — reblogged posts from my Tumblr (varying levels of spoilers be found here)
[Header image from Flickr user Tim. The ‘Beautiful’ image source has since been lost in the time vortex, the ‘Fish’ GIF is from the Doctor Who Tumblr, and the ‘Important’ GIF is from Tumblr user saynotosleepsummer.]