In a science fiction literature online class I’m taking this semester, this week’s assignment was a discussion post on what we thought the best science fiction show was in a minimum of 120 words– my response was almost 600 words. Now obviously I edited my response down to those 600 words and the original response was much more verbose, but I realized that anytime anyone asks me a question involving the show I picked, I am rather loquacious about it and probably over-answer the original question. So I decided to post my response here, and remember the question originally was “what is the best science fiction show, in your opinion?”;
In my opinion, the best Science Fiction show is Doctor Who. While more recent episodes seem to lean closer to being called fantasy rather than science fiction, at it’s core, Doctor Who is a science fiction show. Back in November 1963 when the very first episode aired, the whole point or plot of the show was an educational series for children; whenever the Doctor went back in time it was to teach kids history and whenever he traveled into the future it was to teach science and technology. But Doctor Who has become so much more than just a children’s educational show over the past 52 years. Now, Doctor Who is shown in over 75 countries with an average of 10 million viewers per episode, and that includes viewers from both Old Who and New Who. The show Doctor Who first ran from 1963 to 1989 when viewers fell to almost 3 million. However, the ideas and concepts from Doctor Who, thankfully, did not die in 1989 with the show’s 26th season, but changed format to include audiobooks, graphic novels, and books. Then, in 1996, they tried to relaunch Doctor Who on the screens by making a TV movie, but the timing was not yet right. In 2005, Russell T. Davies brought Doctor Who back to BBC television, and that revival is still currently showing today.
But not only does Doctor Who have a vast collection of episodes and viewers, it has an incredibly large fanbase that one might say is bigger on the inside. Besides the episodes, books, special episodes, and graphic novels, there are huge conventions thrown every year solely for Doctor Who. Even at other conventions, you can usually find at least ten different people cosplaying a different Doctor Who character. There have been 13 different doctors, and each one looks different and has some different personalities, so there is always one Doctor who just resonates with every fan. I would say that that itself is one of the reasons Doctor Who is so popular, is that the main character can change and as he changes, he can appeal to more and more fans. For instance, the first Doctor Who episode I ever watched was “Rose” which was the first episode of the 2005 revival, so the very first Doctor I ever saw was the Ninth, but my all-time favorite Doctor is the Tenth. Each Doctor has some iconic quote or some inspirational speech, whether it’s Eleven’s speech in Akhaten; “That’s what I’ll do; I will tell you a story. Can you hear them? All these people who lived in terror of you and your judgement. All these people who’s ancestors devoted themselves, sacrificed themselves to you. Can you hear them singing? Oh, you like to think you’re a god. You’re not a god, you’re just a parasite, eaten out with jealousy and envy and longing for the lives of other. You feed on them, on the memory of love and loss and birth and death and joy and sorrow! So…So…Come on, then. Take mine.” or Twelve’s anti-war speech; “You just want cruelty to beget cruelty. You’re not superior to people who were cruel to you. You’re just a whole bunch of new cruel people. A whole bunch of new people, being cruel to some other people, who’ll end up being cruel to you. The only way anyone can live in peace is if they’re prepared to forgive.” There are many, many, many more quotes showing just how much of an impact Doctor Who has on life, and to show why I think Doctor Who is the best Science Fiction show, but as River Song would say, “Spoilers.”