Doctor Who

 

 

Saga of the last living Time Lord, his time traveling blue box and trusty sonic screwdriver: once upon a time Reuben’s favorite show. To Alex it had always seemed corny, failing to transcend its cliché sci-fi schlockiness: the slow-rumbling, kettle-shaped killer robots-as-mortal-nemeses (how typical); the inescapable constant of every planet in every parallel universe somehow starting with the letter ‘X’ or ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ (or else ending with numbers); all the bumbling archetypes of a bad b-movie spitting cheeky dialogue back and forth while a lattice of lasers blare in the background, or twisting through time in a spark-happy ship, dangling from a string on an epileptic sound stage to narrowly slip certain doom, episode after episode, season after season. Not until after Reuben’s death would Alex slowly begin to appreciate the charm of the show—the irreverent wit, the surprisingly deep depths of its mythology, its sincerity and shamelessness: its insistency to proclaim I AM WHAT I AM to an army of cynical naysayers. In time, the allure of the show would prove undeniable. Like anything, once you put the time in, the characters would become real, more real than your friends, more real than your family, in some inexplicable way more real even than reality. Who wouldn’t wish to step inside a phone booth and be whisked away, granted a shot at unknotting some insurmountable knot in timea re-roll of the cosmic dice? But in spite of its chintzy effects, its actors subjected to the indignity of donning layers of latex or caked with green makeup, the endless cannonade of hokey jokes and needlessly convoluted storylines, eventually for Alex it would emerge as the most tragic thing to ever grace the small screen, if only for one reason—at some point the writers had concocted an ingenious device to replace the lead role without disrupting the fluidity of the series: Doctor Who would be forced to regenerate every few seasons, his personality severed, head and limbs replaced by the head and limbs of some stranger, essence snuffed out all for the sake of a continuing storyline.                       

 

For this sin, Alex would eventually resent the show.