Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Doctor Returns

I seriously don't know why or how I knew Doctor Who was returning. At this time I didn't really use the internet for much, other then to do homework (see, I can't escape school now that it's sucked me back in, and in fact this fall is the first time since 2006 I haven't had classes) and to play online games with my friends. But there, in the back of my mind, I knew that there was a new series and that, well, obviously, I had to see it. The one thing I did know, from my various British addictions, was you could be sure, whenever the show showed up in the US, it would be a long time since it had aired in England. In fact it was almost a full year from the airing of "Rose" on the BBC till it aired on Sci-Fi (or Syfy as it now ludicrously is). As it turns out, I didn't have to wait that long...

In the spring of 2005 I was done with college (round one) and at a bit of a loose end, thinking maybe grad school, maybe not. My friend Sara had gone to graduate school in Halifax, Nova Scotia at NSCAD. She was graduating that spring and having a big gallery show/thesis/dissertation combo event with mashed potatoes on the side (seriously, there were mashed potatoes at the opening). Her whole family and a few of her close friends, me included, decided to descend on Halifax. Cold and wet and bleak and full of children wielding led pipes... the drug capital of Canada... needless to say, I didn't go out much. After most everyone else had returned to their respective homes, I stayed in Canada for another two weeks or so. I spent most of my time in Sara's little cramped apartment. She had one roommate, Kenny, and no spare space. The kitchen was minuscule, the bedrooms were tiny, the bathroom was somewhat large, but the hallway was non-existent as it kind of merged with the stairwell and the ceiling in this stairwell was mildly psychedelic, as the landlord had plastered the ceiling with these swoopy wave patterns. It was white, but there was like glitter mixed in. This ceiling fascinated me, because all I could think of was who would spend that much time on a ceiling? It would have actually fit in quite well with a few of the TARDIS interiors over the years.

Her roommate Kenny was also doing his performance/thesis/dissertation, so he was gone much of the time. He was gone and in return for keeping the tiny kitchen clean (not that hard) I had full access to his tv. I was instantly addicted to Canadian television, mainly because it's like all the big shows are on one station and some of it is in French. There was no flipping back and forth between ABC and CBS and Fox, it was all there on one channel. And while watching that one channel of an evening they said something that really caught my eye... on April 5th, a mere ten days after "Rose" aired in the UK, the CBBC was showing the first episode of the new Doctor Who! Even though Kenny had basically given me carte blanche over his television, I made sure to ask him as soon as I saw the ad that I would have the tv that Tuesday night. He said there was no problem and my heart leaped.

Here I was, far from home and my cat, in another country, but I was going to watch Doctor Who! Not just any Doctor Who, the newly rebooted series! I remember the Sunday night before there was a horrid cold front that moved in. Sara and I were driving back from PEI and it was so windy the car was struggling the whole way back to Halifax. And then the wind that night. It howled and howled. I started putting on more and more clothes in an attempt to keep warm. The next day the whole apartment was frigid, because of the fact the landlord turned down the heat during the day. The cold continued into Tuesday, but I didn't care, I had a fire in me to keep me warm, I had The Doctor. I remember it was still a little light outside the window as I sat down on the edge of the orange plaid blanket that covered Kenny's bed. I was instantly hooked as soon as Christopher Eccleston said "Run!" I mean, the first episode sure had it's flaws, but, well, that was to be expected. Mickey was the main flaw, but then, well, Rose left him in the dust didn't she? When the episode ended and I realized that come the next Tuesday I would be in New York again and not able to watch "The End of the World" I was beyond depressed. When Christopher Eccleston's face lit up in that wide smile surrounded by the London Eye, well, I knew I couldn't wait till this show came stateside.

I still think how naive I was to the ways of the internet. I didn't know about downloads or torrenting. I knew about Amazon UK, and so, I pre-ordered the DVDs, which came out in batches of three episodes every so often and then took about a month to get to me. So over the course of 2005 I slowly watched all the series. Each episode making me more and more a Whovian. In fact, that Christmas when they aired David Tennant's first episode simultaneously in Canada and England, I told Sara all I wanted for Christmas was for her to tape that episode, she did and I was ever so grateful, it was like being back in Canada again!

Step two was to get others addicted. When I went back to New York in Fall 2005 to look at a grad school, I bought tons of Doctor Who tie-in books at Forbidden Planet. When I was back again in Spring 2006, well, then the inculcation of my friend Miss Jessica began. We had returned to her apartment after a long night seeing Alan Cumming in The Three Penny Opera, and then several hours outside to meet him (which we did!) Then there was the train ride back to Queens, so it was long after midnight when I popped in disc one and said, "just one episode." Soon it was episode two and we were singing along with the 9th to "Tainted Love." Over the years, whenever me and Miss Jessica get together, well, there is always Doctor Who involved somehow. When she came to visit me shortly after David Tennant became The Doctor, a certain line from "New Earth" was used repeatedly while bowling. "Ooh. Curves. Oh Baby! It's like living inside a bouncy castle!" (Say while caressing a bowling ball, or other round parts of your anatomy. Oi! Not so dirty, we were at a bowling alley! They allow small children in bowling alleys and they get the cool bumpers).

Since then, the addiction has only gotten more rooted and with my increasing knowledge of technology, my addiction is fed on a regular and timely basis. Though I will admit to not watching the end of Rose's time on Doctor Who till I read some spoilers... I was really worried they were going to kill her and I knew I couldn't take that (and right there is where I lose my friend Moxie's sympathies, Rose hater that she is). Ever since that fateful Tuesday evening in Canada, I have become a Whovian in every sense of the word. And you know what? I wouldn't change a thing! Meeting new people, falling in love with new Doctors and companions, having recurring jokes with friends. Every single second of it has been awesome. Though if Moffat makes me cry again this Christmas as much as I did during the Michael Gambon Christmas special... I may go slam his hand in a car door so he knows the pain he has caused me.


Newer Post Older Post Home