Monday, August 25, 2008

I Don't Have Sci Fi

This Bank Holiday weekend hasn't exactly been boring for me... but if it had, I would have been kicking myself that I don't have the Sci Fi Channel.

With hours of Doctor Who - including some real classics - padding out the regular programming, I would have been made up for the weekend, with pizza and beer and vodka all on the menu.

As it turned out, a few minor disasters from the middle of last week overspilled onto this weekend, leaving me to bemoan minor disasters and a lack of the Sci Fi Channel in my wing of Kasterborous Towers.

Now I don't want this to turn into one of those "isn't it wonderful" gushes, but how far have we come now that Doctor Who can make up a weekend of programming on Sci Fi, and a comic and actor can appear on a popular Friday night comedy panel show dressed as the Fifth Doctor without anyone batting an eyelid?

The whole Russell T Davies era has been like a parole, a reintegration back into society for Doctor Who.

I've recently been researching my family tree, and was astounded to discover that there was very few diagnoses for the myriad of now-identified mental disabilities and conditions in Victorian times. As a result pariahs were commonly identified and cast into workhouses or Bedlam.

This is in many ways what happened to Doctor Who between 1989 and 2005, give or take a few weeks for compassionate leave in 1996. Dismissed as unsound of mind and character, the show was carted off to asylum, from where it was soundly mocked and derided. It's purpose was lost.

Yet the show never really changed that much; several key themes from season 26 were continued 16 years later in season 27, notably the notion of the companion being such an important character.

So next time when we see a weekend of Doctor Who, or young children wandering around conventions with their parents, we should avoid thinking along the lines of "remember when..."; instead celebrate a 16 year moment of national lunacy being swept under the carpet in much the same way as 1980s Doctor Who was.

Oh and realise - as I now have - that having Sci Fi isn't that important.

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