Current Conversations: Sci-fi series celebrates 50 years

current conversationsBy Katie Brown

Editor in chief

I looked skeptically at the DVD box with the words “Doctor Who” emblazoned across the front. The reason for the mad craze surrounding the longest running science-fiction television show baffled me. However, I placed the disc into my player and sat down to watch.

“Doctor Who,” a 50-year-old British science-fiction television series revolving around a time-travelling alien, has a multitude of followers across America who will be glued to their television sets March 30 as “Doctor Who” begins its newest season. To understand the reason for these cultish followers, one must travel back in time to 1963.

The original “Doctor Who” series aired Nov. 23, 1963, and William Hartnell starred as the first Doctor. The next 40 years, the series continued as the Doctor “regenerated” into new actors, constantly giving viewers fresh faces. The Doctor travels through space and time in his TARDIS, usually accompanied by a human as a companion who together fight enemies and save planets.

After viewers in the U.S. began to decline, Universal, which owned “Doctor Who” at the time, ended the series after a 1996 telemovie. A nine-year hiatus followed before BBC began their newest series.

Dubbed as “modern Who,” the 2005 series quickly gained fanatic followers. BBC added brilliant screenwriter Steven Moffat as the main writer of the show, which helped gain more fans.

Christopher Eccleston starred as the 9th Doctor and brought a modern flavor to the show. David Tennant and Matt Smith soon followed, with each actor adding a different dynamic to the Doctor.

After airing on the Sci Fi channel in 2006, America as a whole went “Whovian.” Fan clubs, conventions, podcasts, comic books and novels are only a few of the results of the “Doctor Who” fandom.

The Whovian community resides on most social medias, flooding the Internet with photos, memes, news and general fanatic hysteria. There is also a cry for “Doctor Who” merchandise, such as catchphrase t-shirts, TARDIS pillows and toy Sonic Screwdrivers.

But the question as to why the series receives this much attention remains. As I began the series, I realized that “Doctor Who” was more than another show. The writers produce relatable characters that viewers can identify with. Moffat’s incredible writing draws people in and hooks them onto the diverse characters, the strained relationships and the universe-ending dilemmas that can last for seasons.

I proudly call myself a Whovian who will anxiously wait by my television this Saturday to be transported into a universe so fantastic that I hope it continues for 50 more years.