Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Half Century of Science Fiction...

Sunday marked a milestone which passed me by entirely. It was the 45th anniversary of the British scifi series Doctor Who.

On the day following John F. Kennedy's assassination, November 23, 1963, the first episode of Doctor Who hit the airwaves. Through its many seasons, spinoffs, and incarnations, it has remained a popular story. It follows the adventures of "the Doctor", a time-traveling alien "time lord" on his journeys throughout time and space, correcting injustices and exploring frontiers in a less-than-reliable archaic time machine known as the TARDIS.

On an interesting side note, the show is featured in one of my favorite movies. In several scenes of Get Real, the lead character's father is watching old episodes. A Doctor Who clock is proudly displayed on the wall and he is dressed as a Cyberman (one of the Doctor's adversaries) as he prepares to attend a convention. On another interesting note, the lead actor (Ben Silverstone) is older than me... by only six days.

The show has seen 751 aired episodes since the 1960s and is featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running scifi series in history. Ten separate actors have been cast in the main role over the decades, including Peter Davison ('Tristan' from All Creatures Great and Small) and the most current, David Tennant.

This show marked my first indoctrination into scifi only a few years ago and quickly became a favorite. Its mix of real history, bizarre creatures, philosophical undercurrents, and quirky humor add to its unique charm.

So, happy belated birthday, Doctor Who. Here's to hoping for many more years of fantastical oddities...

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