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Friday, February 1, 2013

New Season, TV Special for Doctor Who’s 50th Year

Written by Jon Williams

I’ll admit up front that my research for this post was as minimal as possible. Doctor Who is a fairly recent interest of mine—my wife and I just finished watching the 2006 season (the finale of which was absolutely heartbreaking)—so I didn’t want to accidentally come across any spoilers for what’s to come.

For those unfamiliar, Doctor Who centers on a character known only as “The Doctor,” an alien (in human form) known as a Time Lord. He travels throughout time and space, getting into various adventures, via his craft, the TARDIS, which is shaped like a 1960s-era London police call box. His travels frequently bring him to Earth, where he generally befriends a female companion to accompany him for a time.

The British series has long been a staple of BBC programming. The first episode aired on November 23, 1963. The original series ran until 1989; it was revived in 2005 and has been going strong ever since. The new season, starring Matt Smith in his fourth season playing the Doctor, premieres on the BBC and BBC America on March 30. In addition, a television special, An Adventure in Space in Time, is filming this year to document the beginnings of the character and the series.

Doctor Who’s popularity isn’t contained just within one long-running television series. One spinoff series, Torchwood, deals with a small team of alien hunters operating out of the Torchwood Institute, which was established following one of the Doctor’s visits to Earth. Another, The Sarah Jane Adventures, follows the exploits of Sarah Jane Smith, a former companion who finds that she can’t settle into a regular life after traveling the universe with the Doctor. There are also a number of books that detail the Doctor’s adventures, in addition to these TV shows.

In the series’ 50th year, it’s still attracting new fans (I’m evidence of that), while longtime fans will want to revisit old favorites and discover the spinoffs. Make sure the Doctor is available at your library.

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