“State your name, rank and intention.”
“The Doctor, Doctor, Fun.”
A few years back I stumbled over the series “Doctor Who“. I don’t own a TV, so it was mostly Wikipedia entries and some other references. Thing is, it confused me.
What I couldn’t understand was, how someone could like such a series. It didn’t make sense to me. Stupid aliens, a box that’s bigger on the inside, story lines that seemed unbelievable. It kept nagging in the back of my mind until I decided (more or less on a whim a few weeks ago) to buy the first four seasons of the relaunch. I went to work somewhat sleepy for the next days because I watched the episodes whenever I could — usually until late in the night/morning. I now own seasons 1 to 5, including the specials.
Thing is, once you start watching the episodes you discover well thought out story lines — which discuss issues that go beyond the things you see (and, with the tenth doctor, someone with a stylish sense of dress).
I was reminded of the usual reaction as a child/teenager when I said that I loved watching Star Trek (TNG & DS9). For most people, Star Trek is just bad actors badly dressed with masks claiming to be aliens and some space battles. Only when you start seeing the topics they deal with — human nature, issues like prejudice, hate, fear, sanity and much, much more — it goes beyond deep. It uses the age-old trick of telling stories which are highly relevant in a way that makes dealing with the issues no-threating. Nobody is offended if “aliens” do something that everyone with half a brain recognizes immediately as playing on a common human trait or at the behavior of a specific country. And, seriously, the idea of illustrating the stupidity of prejudice based on skin color by having an alien race have either the right side of their body in white and the left in black or vice versa (actually a TOS episode) … brilliant. I learned more about ethics and morality from Star Trek than from anywhere else, including the years of “catholic religion”/”ethics” in school.
I don’t think that Doctor Who is similarly deep (sorry), but it has something — it’s very stimulating and raised questions and brought me ideas. And I nearly missed it, because I reacted with rejection when it made no sense to me at first.
So, what do you miss out because it seems ridiculous to you at first glance?