When I was 12 years old, I discovered Doctor Who.
We were visiting my aunt, and I was bored, so I snuck into the living room to see what was on TV. I found this weird show and watched an episode. When it ended on a cliffhanger, I went looking for more and found it, albeit a different story. Not only did I get to meet the Doctor, I saw two women characters who were strong, independent, and brave. I wanted more.
I watched the show religiously into my college years. But it became harder to find and eventually went off the air, and my interest turned to other things (Star Trek: The Next Generation was entering its third season). But those characters, not only the Doctor, but usually more importantly the companions, had become indelible role models for me.
And then the Doctor came back.
I was an adult now, with kids and responsibilities, when this wonderful show came back. I didn’t watch it at first, as I didn’t want to risk tarnishing the memory of the show I had loved as a child. But Deb was so excited about it, and I trusted her judgement, so I watched. And watched, and watched. It was still the show I loved, and the women in it were just as strong and capable as they had ever been, if not more so, as they lived up to modern ideals instead of the now-dated images of earlier eras. And one of those early companions came back as well, older, wiser, much like me, and still serving as a role model. (Heck, she even got her own series!)
Tonight, I watched the first appearance of the newest Doctor. And instead of being the companion, the heroic female I was invested in was the Doctor herself.
After the past few weeks, I needed this. I reminder that we go on. We persevere. We try to help and do what’s right. She did what the Doctor always does, tries to help. But for the first time, she looked like me.
In this dark, depressing and dangerous age, it’s good to have the Doctor. Craig Ferguson summed up the ethos of the show perfectly when he described it as “Intellect and Romance Over Brute Force and Cynicism.” Watching the show tonight felt, not like escapism, but instead a reminder, a steeling of the backbone and a promise of hope. I needed that tonight.
Thank you, Doctor. From two versions of me thirty years apart.