Exactly fifty days now until the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, Christ and Pop Culture is three parts into a 12-part series exploring Doctor Who’s Doctrine.
I’m blessed to assemble and help edit that series, titled after a phrase I first began using on SpecFaith.1
We want to explore Doctor Who’s stories, characters, themes, Christianity vs. humanism, romance, visuals and music, and of course proven fandom since the program’s 2005 restart.
Here I’d also love to hear SpecFaith readers’ reasons for loving Who. More on that later.
When I was a child, I thought like a child and enjoyed Christian programs for children. Those included the Christian Broadcasting Network’s anime TV series Superbook, in which children travel in a whirling “time vortex,” and Adventures in Odyssey, whose stories often included a time machine-like device shaped (at first) like a phone box.
Now that I’ve grown, I don’t put away these childish things. Also, I enjoyed finding what may have been their inspiration.
An instant fan, I watched the classic Doctor Who series until PBS stopped running the show in 1992. To me, only that series has lasted through time, sparking the imaginations of children and adults on account of great story writing—but also thanks to some creative plagiarism.
Yes, classic Who fans who also know science fiction novels will find that Doctor Who stories aren’t that original. Some are even blatant rip-offs. How does that affect the show’s stories?
When you first meet the Doctor, in any of his incarnations, he seems like a walking bag of eccentricities, from his fashion sense to his mannerisms. But what has been part of the revival’s brilliance is its revelations that the Doctor, for all his brilliance and derring-do, is a shell of an alien. All his eccentricities actually conceal a demi-god who verges on breakdown, and he’s certainly more than the benevolent-yet-eccentric savior we may think. He’s a “mad man with a box” — and the emphasis is on mad.
Next on CAPC I’ll write one or two further episodes myself. (Yes, I am beginning to feel like a certain other showrunner Steven [with a V].) We’ll continue exploring the series’s magic, its diversity of fans, the music of Murray Gold, love stories (and sporadic agenda moments), themes borrowed from many religions, and of course the Doctor’s faithful companions.
Lord willing, two weeks before this series’s conclusion before Nov. 23 (Who’s anniversary date), we’ll semi-conclude with a two-parter called Best In Show. It’s for that miniseries that I ask you: What’s your fan “testimony”? What are your favorite Who episodes, story arcs, Doctor actors, companions, musical cues, planets, time eras, visuals, villains, anything? How have you enjoyed God’s beauties and truths through Doctor Who’s beauties and truth?
Your answers here may be included in that two-parter about 1.5 months from now.
And with that request, I definitely feel like Steven “Grand Moff” Moffat, holding contests for people to contribute to a Doctor Who series. One difference: I would tell the truth about whether The Doctor actually dies or if I’ve finished using the Weeping Angels.
- In early July I began contributing to Christ and Pop Culture, which is now a member blog of the Patheos religion-blogs network. Its mission is to explore all of pop culture, including storytelling, music, news, and politics, from a Christian perspective. There I’ve covered Christ-figures in fiction, “faith-based” films and superhero blockbusters, a dash of apologetics, the “romance prosperity gospel,” and Harry Potter vs. Left Behind. ↩