Doctor Who is one of my favorite shows, and has been since about a year ago (I barely knew anything about it until one of my obsessed friends told me to give it a chance). Though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of watching the entire classic series, I am very familiar with the modern continuation of it, having watched and re-watched all eight series multiple times.
One thing I like to stress to people who both have and haven’t watched Doctor Who is that it literally made me a better person, or at least gave me a template for what a “good person” should be. Not to say that the Doctors are perfect, but they are heroic figures that one can usually look up to. So, you ask, how exactly does Doctor Who make you a better person, specifically speaking? I’ll tell you below (watch out for the spoilers, there are a bunch of them)…
1. You Will Acquire A More Whimsical Outlook On Life.
The amount of emotion I exude on a daily basis often gets, more often than not, compared to a character like Dexter from the show Dexter more than anything else. So, you might find it surprising that my favorite modern doctor is 11, portrayed by Matt Smith. This Doctor is known for his constant cheerfulness, whimsical attitude, and brief flirtations with supreme anger and sadness. Whenever I watched 11 I thought to myself, “Man, I wish I was more like that guy!” 11 wasn’t exactly the person I aspire to be, but he embodied everything that I usually lack, what with his ability to exude energy and optimism at all times, connect with all kinds of people, and easily handle every situation with a grin, a fez, and clever one-liners.
Even his theme music, from the classic “I Am The Doctor” to “The Majestic Tale of a Madman in a Box” emotes a sense of wonder, zanyness, and heroism that I envy. I give 11 credit for giving me the bravery to take theater classes in college, and convincing me to be more “out there” in my social interactions. Thanks Matt, you’ll be missed!
2. It Will Open Your Mind To Endless Possibilities.
Well, this is a show about an alien who travels all of time and space, isn’t it? Nothing is impossible here, even the rules of time can be broken if the plot demands it (looking at you Stephen Moffat). This can be said of a few other science fiction shows, but Doctor Who is the only one that truly has no limits in what kinds of stories or situations it can present to you. It’s a good reminder that there’s a nearly endless universe out there to explore, which helps especially when you’re being brought down by the drudgery of daily life.
3. It Will Teach You About Relationships.
Doctor Who, at its core, is essentially a show about relationships, whether they be between the Doctor and his companion or the companion and another love interest. I’m sure all of you know about the 10th Doctor and Rose, or 11 and River, or Amy and Rory, or Clara and Danny (I guess I’ll throw Rose and Mickey in there too). The relationships on this show aren’t exactly the most stable, and they usually always end in some sort of catastrophic tragedy, but for the most part they are rather realistic and heartwarming, and provide a kind of blueprint for a real life relationship (especially Amy and Rory).
4. It Will Help You Deal With Loss.
Doctor Who is one of the only shows I can think of that replaces its lead protagonist with a new actor every few years. While this keeps the show fresh, it also means that you have to see your favorite Doctor die/regenerate. I know I’m not the only one who felt a few tears welling up in their eyes when Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith left the stage. Tennant’s departure was especially jarring, since the show dragged it out so long and pulled on so many of the audience’s emotional strings that a large portion of the Doctor Who watching population refused to give Tennant’s successor Matt Smith a chance.
Eventually though, most got over it, and came to enjoy the 11th Doctor regardless of the insanely tragic way that 10 left us. As most of you probably know, the 11th Doctor regenerated in a bit more of an optimistic manner, which stayed true to his character and made accepting 12 (Peter Capaldi) much easier. Not only does the Doctor change every few series, but so do the companions. Doctor Who helps you appreciate what you have while it’s still there, as you know that it can and will likely be gone in just a handful of episodes…
5. You Will Become More Sociable.
The best thing about Doctor Who for many is that it has such a large fanbase. I’ve worn a shirt that says “Bow Ties Are Cool” in several states across America, and everywhere I’ve gone I’ve had fellow Who fans high five me or comment on my apparel. It’s like being part of a secret club. It takes a peculiar person to like Doctor Who, and so right off the bat, if you find a fellow fan, you know you’ll have a ton in common. I will say however that it’s a bit of a strange fanbase, demographically speaking. Teenage girls and middle-aged men alike find something to like about the show, which I suppose says something about its magic.
6. You Will Be More Inspired (Thanks To Its Soundtrack).
“I am the Doctor, and I name you THE BONELESS!”
Doctor Who‘s music has a strangely satisfying effect on me. All I need to do is listen to one of the many versions of its theme song, or any of the Doctor’s themes, and I’m instantly pumped and ready to go. Even right now, as I type this, I’m listening to one of the Matt Smith era songs “A Mad Man In A Box,” which, while being slightly tear-inducing, is also highly motivational. The 12th Doctor’s theme music doesn’t have a name yet (at least not that I can find), but it’s equally inspiring to listen to.
The 10th Doctor’s themes were a bit on the sad side, but also had heroic flourishes of their own. Maybe I’m just incredibly nerdy, but I often make a playlist of songs from Doctor Who’s many soundtracks and listen to them to push myself just a bit harder during my runs or other exercises. Nothing like reaching mile number two, feeling drained, and hearing the familiar intro to “I Am The Doctor” stream into your ears!
7. You Will Be Able To Stand Up For Yourself.
“I’m the Doctor. Basically…run.”
The modern iteration of Doctor Who has had its darker moments, and such times have required the Doctor to take things into his own hands and not let anyone or anything stand in his way. The 9th and 12th Doctors have been particularly harsh when it comes to dealing with enemies and allies alike, when it serves their purposes. 10 and 11 were a bit more on the whimsical side, especially the latter as noted above, but they too could turn on a switch inside their Time Lord minds and become absolutely scary in terms of how brutally they dealt with their enemies. The bottom line here is that, while you can be whimsical like 11, emotional like 10, or stubborn like 12, what truly matters is that you are able to put your foot down when it counts and not allow yourself to be stepped on, by anyone or anything.
It was about a year ago today that I started watching Doctor Who on a daily basis, and it only took me about a month to catch up (actually, Matt’s last episode was the first one I caught live). While it didn’t teach me everything I know about life, it did make me a better person in a multitude of ways, more than I can even list here. They do say opposites attract, which is why I think I was so enamored with 11 and his out-of-the-box way of perceiving just about every situation. While I miss the man with the big hair, and all of his predecessors, I have enjoyed his successor as well (though this past Saturday’s finale was a bit too Clara-centric for my liking). Did Doctor Who change your life, or at the very least, change your perception about something? Please share in the comments below!
Featured photo credit: Matt Smith’s Bow Tie/Paul Hudson via flickr.com