Talkin’ Turkey With Tim Babb
Today is the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who. I will be watching tonight’s big episode, but I’ve stopped watching seasons 6 and 7 and I don’t know if I’ll ever pick them up again. I had an epiphany the other night. Fir a while I’ve been saying that I can’t really get into this show because it doesn’t do what I want it to do. And I’ve figured out what I want it to do…be like Quantum Leap.
For some reason (perhaps an old email exchange with a former listener) I was always comparing Doctor Who to Star Trek. It’s really not an apples to apples comparison. To be fair, Quantum Leap isn’t either, but it’s much closer. Both shows are about a guy who travels through time, mucks about with events wherever he goes, and has a partner to help him out.
I’ve discovered THAT’S the broken expectation I have with this show. I keep expecting the Doctor to be like Sam Beckett. He’s not…and in all fairness, he’s not supposed to be. He is the character that was created back in 1963. But that’s just not who I’m looking for in a main character. Sam Beckett is a man of science, but he’s not above giving someone a round house kick if the situation calls for it. The Doctor never really does much of his own fighting. He has other people do it for him…and a lot of them end up dead!
I don’t have hard facts on this, but from my recollection, Sam Beckett never let anyone die. If he did, it was a MAJOR moment in the show and it effected him emotionally as well. People die around Doctor Who all the time and all he says is “I”m sorry. I’m so sorry.” But seconds later he’ll be making jokes. Again, I get it…that’s the character. That’s how he deals with the madness he faces day in and day out, but it’s just not for me.
I think it’s summed up best for me by a line of dialog in the episode “The Family of Blood.” (line starts at 0:36)
For those who can’t watch the video (or in case BBC had YouTube pull it by the time you’re reading this…
Joan Redfern: Answer me this – just one question, that’s all. If the Doctor had never visited us, if he’d never chosen this place… on a whim… would anybody here have died?
[the Doctor does not answer]
That’s where they lose me. First off, why doesn’t it matter that all these humans have been plucked out of history? It never seems to have any effect on the future. What about that butterfly effect people are always on about. If one small change in the past can have a drastic effect on the future, what does it mean if hundreds of people were killed before their time. Didn’t these guys ever see It’s a Wonderful Life? The whole town changed dramatically…and that was just ONE guy!
Secondly, the Doctor doesn’t seem that broken up (in that episode) that his showing up there caused a bunch of people to die. She tells him to go and he walks out without a word of apology or even a look back. If he loves humanity so much, why does he hang around us? It’s like he wen tto the Man of Steel school of saving human lives (boom). I mean they tell you right there in the first episode of “NuWho”
Some Guy: The Doctor is a legend woven throughout history. When disaster comes he’s there. He brings a storm in his wake and he has only one constant companion.
Rose Tyler: Who’s that?
Some Guy: Death.
Um, take that somewhere else, buddy! I prefer my time travelers to put right what once went wrong, not kill a bunch of medieval peasant folk.
That said, I’ll be watching tonight because David Tennant is an amazingly charming actor who I enjoy watching immensely. Also, Billie Piper is back and I really fell in like with Rose Tyler those first two seasons. And this Matt Smith guy is not without his charm.