The Doctor: Anti-hero, Alien, Smart Guy

Let’s talk Doctor Who.

There’s a lot I could go on to say about this show, and I’m sure I’ll get into more eventually because I really love it. For now, let’s just talk about the main hero and why he’s so compelling. I’ll be talking about the modern continuation, since the rest was before my time.

As a primer, Doctor Who is a British science fiction show about a man who’s a Time Lord; an alien with advanced technology, including a time traveling police box called a TARDIS that’s bigger on the inside. Also, whenever he’s fatally injured, he can make himself regenerate a new body, effectively becoming a different person with the same memories. He’s made it kind of his mission to protect the earth and the human race. Here’s the first part of one of the online specials put up by the BBC:

So, what’s so refreshing about the Doctor as a hero?

1. He doesn’t use violence to solve his problems. He’s used an actual weapon probably less than five times over six seasons. I think he’s maybe been in one physical fight over that time period, in addition to one more time when he threw a punch. That’s it, in six seasons with thirteen episodes each and a handful of specials. In fact, he actively disapproves of violence.

2. His main advantage is his intelligence. This is what he does use. And he’s arrogant about it to the point where it can be a weakness. It’s also awesome to see him go into a complete geek-out at some cool technology or someone he recognizes from history.

3. He’s still an anti-hero. Despite his dislike of violence and conflict, he can still be a bit of an extremist when it comes to his goals. He’s a deeply flawed character, and in his attempts to save humanity, he’s done a lot of destroying. This doesn’t always sit well with him and he gets called out on it. He hates violence, but he’s practically eradicated species to save the world. He wants peace, but there are entire civilizations who hate and fear him. He’s a walking contradiction. Some think of him as the best person there is, and some think of him as the worst. And the TV series sells it so well, that he’s such a lovable character.

But it often reminds us that it’s more complicated than that.

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4 Responses to The Doctor: Anti-hero, Alien, Smart Guy

  1. wildbow says:

    Doctor Who is one of those shows I’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t gotten around to.

    The sheer amount of episodes & background are kind of intimidating, not just because there’s so much to brush up on before I could consider myself up to speed, but because I can look at the fandom and suspect that I -will- like it enough that I won’t get anything done when I start.

    • Marie Erving says:

      I get what you mean about it being daunting. I listened to a bunch of friends talking about this show for years before I finally decided to try it. And that was only after they forced me to watch an episode, when it was too late to stop.

      And I certainly wouldn’t want to mess with your work ethic, because your fans would kill me, and I’m totally with them on wanting to see what you get done next.

      But I feel obligated to say that, if you’re interested, season 5 of the new series is a pretty good entry point. New doctor, new characters, and pretty much only one plot point that carries over from the previous episodes.

  2. Robie says:

    I love David Tennant as the Doctor. Matt Smith is really good as well!

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