DOCTOR WHO

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Doctor Who has to be one of my greatest geek obsessions.

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I distinctly remember my first encounter with Doctor Who.  I was 12 years old, and channel surfing.  This was a time before cable.  So, you had a limited number of stations to watch.  PBS was the king of alternatives.  Part BBC America, part History Channel, and part Nickelodeon, if you didn’t want the same tripe American television was offering, PBS was the place to go.

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One Saturday morning I stopped on a show that was totally different than anything I had ever seen before.  It was Doctor Who.  More specifically, it was the episode “The Face of Evil,” starring the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.  My initial thoughts were, “Why are the sets so bad?  These are the worst SFX I’ve ever seen.  This plot makes no sense.”  Ironically, it has become one of my favorite stories oft he classic series.

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A year later, TV Guide published an article about Doctor Who, and its rich history.  It explained how it had been running for 18 years and was currently on the fifth actor to play the role.  It gave a very basic bio of the Doctor.  More importantly, it said that PBS was going to show Doctor Who from the beginning of Tom Baker.  Now my interest had been peaked.  Armed with a little more foreknowledge and an open mind, I watched my first whole episode of Doctor Who, and couldn’t get enough.  The episode was “Robot.”  And although I didn’t understand why the Doctor just fell out of a big blue box, landed on the floor, and changed appearances, I just went with it.  I knew that there was 11 years of the show I had not seen.  Like jumping onto a moving train, I had to trust I’d metaphorically land firmly if I just watched.

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Tom Baker was unlike any SciFi action hero I had ever seen before.  He wasn’t handsome.  He wasn’t suave.  He was….weird.  Very tall, bushy hair, no dress sense, manic, temperamental, and slightly insane.  Having been mostly exposed to the classic American heroes, the concept of an Anti-Hero was new to me.  How can somebody be the hero of a story, but not be heroic?

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