The Humanism of Doctor Who


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As a long-time fan of the Doc, having begun watching during the 1970s with Tom Baker‘s brilliantly reimagined 4th Doctor, it seems that from the beginning, Gallifrey‘s prodigal son has had a liking for humans.

Arguably the least significant species in the universe and with no cool powers of our own, possessing technology often poorly matched with that of other species, like the Doctor’s friendly little pals the Daleks, and his own species, the Time Lords, humans often get put on the galactic endangered species list with frightening regularity.

Nonetheless, the Doctor, even at his most grim, like his 5th and 9th incarnations, has a soft spot for us ‘stupid apes,’ and has often expressed a belief that humans are potentially the greatest force for both good and evil in the entire universe, that we as a species are capable of fantastic achievements.

Now, having access to virtually all of time and space, the Doc seems to have a point, since he’s been to worlds where humans are almost extinct and also journeyed to periods of thriving galactic human empires.

He’s seen firsthand what humans are capable of, from our very worst to our most brilliant best…

I enjoy the series tremendously, and while it’s sometimes campy and often ridiculous, well, it’s meant to be. Never mind the frequent use of rubber-suited actors as aliens, or the current use of humanoid CGI aliens, after all, DW has a tradition to uphold…

…a tradition going all the way back to the original series in the 1960s with William Hartnell as the title character.

My personal fav is Chris Eccleston’s 9th Doctor, one of the more dark and brooding versions I’ve seen, the revenge-consumed tragic warrior, and Eccleston was a good choice for the role when the BBC decided to revive the series since its cancellation in 1989.

Doctor Who has always, considering it’s use of contemporary culture as an element in the series, drawn upon much of what it is to be human.

Even when the nonhuman status of the lead character is sometimes thrown into sharp relief, like with Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor, and shows more of the alien in his nature, this serves if anything to celebrate the humanity, and show us, as viewers, just what we may achieve, at least in fiction.

It shows a hint of the greatness we can accomplish in the here and now, or even the near future. That is, the great things in store for us if we don’t kill ourselves off first.

About Troy Loy

I seek to learn through this site and others how to better my ability as a person and my skill at using my reason and understanding to best effect. I do fractal artwork as a hobby, and I'm working to develop it to professional levels, though I've a bit to go till I reach that degree of skill! This is a crazy world we're in, but maybe I can do a little, if only that, to make it a bit more sane than it otherwise would be.

Posted on Tuesday, 0:08, April 19, 2011, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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