There you go, you already know how this article ends. So if you are unfortunate enough to not know the answer yet, read on.
For those of you thinking Huh? Dr who now?, Doctor Who is a British TV show, created in 1963 (No, it’s not over yet. Yes, it’s been running that long. Yes, it’s THAT good). Its main protagonist is The Doctor, a renegade Time Lord who travels through space and time and fixes it. All with a few friends, a scrap of psychic paper, a sonic screwdriver, and a time machine disguised as a phone booth. He is, in his own words, a madman in a box.
So why is it an epic show? The possibilities, for one. Time Lords don’t die, they regenerate into new personalities with the same essence and memories. So it can now go on forever (pulled a clever one there BBC!), but every episode is still brilliant and original. And it always will be, because you can visit every place and period past, and when you run out of those, there are infinite futures to choose from.
The show has a classic theme, Good vs Evil, having a moral code, the extraordinariness of ordinary people. The Doctor is a lone voice against violence, tyranny, cynicism and blind acceptance, and he doesn’t care who he stands up against to do what’s right. He isn’t a rebel, this is a man who responds to disappearing planets or a child’s bad dreams alike, and his only motive is undying compassion.
In today’s world, where everything is reduced to a digital screen, where we race through our lives so fast we have no time to stop and stare and wonder, you need an outsider’s perspective. And this man – this complex, dizzying, vexing, brilliant man – snatches up a little piece of the humanity you thought you’d lost, and he says to you –
“Look at this! Just look! Isn’t it magnificent? Isn’t it beautiful?! Do you know what this is? Have you noticed it before? This is a piece of you! Well of course it’s brilliant, it’s so human, isn’t it? This is your potential, these are your flaws, this is what makes you so… you. These are your dreams, your actions, your words. Nobody, nobody in all the universe does it better. You’d better take care of it. Or not. Because this is humanity isn’t it, always moving forward? This is why you never ever ever give up. It’s fan-tas-tic!”
And all those ideals and aspirations are yours again, fueled back to life by this wonderful man. This is a man who can see beauty in vicious creatures, feel compassion for a deranged race of monsters, weep for a lonely child. And it makes you feel awe for everything it means to be human – love, hate, tradition, slavery, empathy, greed, glamour, ignorance, and so much more. He is so genuinely enraptured by it all; it is contagious; it makes you feel sad and happy and inspired, and changes your life forever.
The episodes themselves are vibrant and gleefully chaotic; they bend the rules of science as we know it, create new ones that you’d love to be real. They unabashedly run bad puns and dreadful special effects from the ‘60s with that classic British deadpan humour. There are subplots and details revealed years later, and they make you love them for it even more.
This is a show that makes things like egg whisks and plungers, jelly babies and jammy dodgers, statues and shadows, take on a whole new meaning for the rest of your life. Everything is important, and everyone is important.
So why is Doctor Who the best show ever? Because it spans entire generations. Because it has all the intelligence and hilarity and energy of all the others put together. Because it’s ever so quotable and has a fan base that does the coolest, geekiest stuff ever. And because it’s inspiring and mental and daring and magnificent, and so amazingly, beautifully, human.
Also, I really like the theme song, and I now have a craving for fish fingers and custard.
— Shefali Azad
(The author of this piece is currently studying Wildlife Biology at Clemson University, SC
She has watched over 200 TV shows and erroneously believes that this makes her some sort of connoisseur)