Note: Some spoilers for two Season 1 episodes.
I have a confession to make. Although I grew up watching Doctor Who and consider myself a fan, until the last two weeks, I had not watched much of the "further adventures" of everyone's favorite timelord. Sure, I kept up on the actors and saw bits here and there, but I couldn't bring myself to watch the episodes.
They say you never forget your first Doctor. It's on a t-shirt, so it must be true. Mine was Jon Pertwee. I saw some of the other two previous Doctors during my Dad's weekly monopolization of the TV on Sunday morning, but didn't pay much attention. For a long time, the show was the background of whatever art project, She-Ra adventure, or book I might have been into at the time. Eventually, though, I came around. I might remember Pertwee fondly, but I loved every minute spent watching Tom Baker's scarf-bedecked time traveler. Along with Sarah Jane, K-9, Romana, I was hooked, even if I would never admit it to Dad. In fact, I remember being downright pissed when Baker's Doctor was regenerated. That one took some explaining. Eventually, I came around, although I might have harbored some misbegotten ill will towards his replacement.
Fast forward (quite) a few years, and we now have a new, shiny Doctor Who. However, it is 2005, when I was fed up with TV and largely stopped watching most series. Dad told me that he was really liking the new Doctor and Rose, but I still wasn't convinced. It took a few more years and a Netflix streaming subscription before I braved the Who-verse again. However, by now, Dad was gone and watching a show that brought up so many memories of him was too painful.
It's been almost 2 years since we lost him. As Father's Day came around this year, it brought back lots of feelings. The sadness won't ever really go away, but it has been tempered by the wealth of positive memories he left. Dad was my gateway to sci fi and fantasy as a kid, so it felt like the right time to try Doctor Who again.
Watching Episode 10, The Doctor Dances, I could picture my Dad smiling and nodding at the good Doctor's proclamation that this time "Everybody lives!"
Eccleston's last episode, I knew what was coming. The interchange between the Doctor and Rose, though, it got me.
When he says to Rose that she was fantastic, "and so was I," it took me back to one of the last conversations I had with my Dad. We were talking about parenting and he told me that he thought I was a fantastic parent. Of course, since I'd had him (and mom) as role models, that meant he was fantastic too.
Tears were shed, but I can look at the Doctor now and remember the good times. So I will continue to do so and work my way through all that I've missed. I think Dad would approve.