Asylum of the Whovians

Here’s a conundrum worthy of Sutekth’s prison on Mars. I love Doctor Who but I’m glad it’s off our screens! “Eh what was that, my boy?” exclaims Hartnell.  “Does not compute!” the Daleks scream. But it’s true and before you send Orcini round to bump me off for my heresy, let me try and explain…

My problem is this. I can’t watch an episode LIVE and enjoy it. I always think: “Who is this newcomer? Is this a worthy entry to Doctor Who canon? Does this upstart deserve to stand alongside “City of Death” or “Caves of Androzani”? Are the audience enjoying this? Are we about to jump the shark? Is this too slow? Too silly? Too complicated?” I’m becoming far too analytical. “Do I like this episode?”, I wonder, “and why?” I don’t immerse myself in the story and let it wash all over me. I don’t soak up the Whovian goodness. In other words, I don’t allow myself to enjoy the ride.

And yet… once the episode or series has finished, everything changes. It’s there. It exists. It’s had its ratings and audience appreciation figures. Like it or lump it, it has become part of Who-Lore. There’s nothing left to worry about. When I watched “Hide” for the first time, I worried it was too slow. On first viewing I thought “Journey to the Centre of the Tardis” had no emotional depth. Now I don’t care. I can enjoy the episodes for what they are, warts and all. I can start to catalogue and compare them. The episodes merge into a season. The seasons blur into eras. I can look at them in context. It’s almost like a historian not being able to judge events until a period of time has gone by. I have new statistics, can recount how many episodes each Doctor has had, how many encounters with the Daleks there have been, how many companions etc. I can enjoy being a Whovian, jealously guarding my newly updated Whovian backlog. Now I am safe, I can actually take a deep breath, lie back and enjoy an episode of Doctor Who for myself.

But were it no so complicated! Oh to be a young viewer again, marvelling at Baker regenerating into Davison or Cybermen vomiting in the Death Zone! A bright-eyed Whovian newbie, without any fears of the show being taken off the air or need to analyse episodes so deeply. Pre-Grade and pre-blogging. Maybe I don’t need the Doctor but a Doctor. Go on then, dear reader, maybe it’s time. Send Orcini round and put me out of my misery! But somehow I think, Davros-like, my Whovian gene will live on to see another day…

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