It’s a quiet Sunday and the warm summer day beckons. I really should be industriously clearing the winter’s debris from the patio. My husband is outside, tending to our yard, pruning and trimming back the overgrown shrubs. He occasionally pokes his head in to see what I’m up to. There’s a mass of grasses and weeds in the strawberry bed just begging to be culled. Any number of chores could be accomplished today, if only I would focus. Instead, here I sit, thinking about time travel.
Ah, yes, time travel as explained by the Doctor. I’ve been working my way through the past 6 seasons of the BBC series, Doctor Who. This sudden immersion in all things Whovian was spurred by my teen-aged son, a dedicated fan of the Doctor. I remember the Doctor from his previous incarnations in the 1970s. Tom Baker will always be my Doctor, wrapped in that ridiculously endless striped scarf.
The re-booted Doctor Who is a far cry from the earlier series. The original special effects were wonderfully cheesy and low-budget, whereas the modern series features spectacular explosions and elaborate sets (although the Daleks retained their basic salt shaker appearance). The TARDIS is still bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, but the instrument panels are sleeker and modern. The newest Doctors are younger and, well, more attractive than earlier Doctors. There’s a sexual tension between the Doctors and their female traveling companions that I don’t recall from the past. Maybe I see it now because I am nominally an adult.
I like the idea of time travel, the ability to travel to the past, to have a street level view of the world as it once was. The temporal paradoxes both fascinate and confound. I have read and re-read the novel, Time and Again, where the travelers used self-hypnosis to move through the centuries. No time machine required. Genius! Traveling to the future doesn’t have the same charm. Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of the future that is unappealing. Or perhaps it’s the typically dystopian portrayals of the future. After all, who wants to live in a grey post-apocalyptic desert, hiding from mutant dogs? But offer me a chance to travel to Victorian England or medieval France, and I will happily jump in your TARDIS any day.
Lacking a time machine or the ability to self-hypnotize, I surrender to my guilty pleasure, watching the Doctor with my son, who has committed entire episodes to memory (not bad for a guy who can’t recall where he left his cleats this morning). It’s too hot to weed, anyway.