Thursday, August 21, 2014

An Adventure Beyond a Lifetime

I've been having a good time this week: in preparation for Season 8 beginning on Saturday, BBC America is playing all sorts of Doctor Who material in addition to the episode reruns. So some of what I missed out on by only getting into the show this year is now available to me. One of those sometimes is the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time, which covers the story of how Doctor Who began.

Certain parts of this story I already knew--but not everything. And even for me, there was much of nostalgia in this movie. When I watched it, I had watched the classic episodes up to "The Web Planet," so I recognized the clips and sets that they showed because most of them were up to this episode. And the way that they introduced the Daleks, with suspense and comments about their silliness, all leading up to their ultimate success as foes. I heard about Daleks years before I ever heard of Doctor Who--that's saying something.

But besides all the excitement at seeing this show begin and seeing reminders of its early days and its greatest successes, as a movie this story offered something rather unique--and just like the show itself. It's tragic the way that William Hartnell is so successful as the Doctor and yet simply cannot, physically, handle the role anymore. It's heartbreaking when he has to leave. But then his words "I don't want to go" echo the Tenth Doctor, and as he is filming his final scene, he sees the Eleventh Doctor on the other side of the TADIS. And we're reminded of the cyclical nature of the show and of everything. Sadness must precede a new dawn, and every person's role, however important, must end and a new person's role begin. It's the story of Doctor Who and it's the story of life.

The story of Verity Lambert was inspiring and the story of a show's success was sweet, but best of all in An Adventure in Space and Time was the sense of a moment in time setting the stage for and overlapping over every future moment in time. There is joy, there is tragedy, there is hope, and there is life. I really enjoyed this movie.

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