True story: I could not have cared less when Russell T. Davies re-launched Doctor Who. In fact, I wasn’t even aware that it had happened. I was aware of the show and the character of the Doctor and knew some of the basics (alien, regeneration, TARDIS) since half of my middle school friends were super-nerdy dudes. But I never watched a second of Doctor Who when I was in middle school.
That lack of watching continued for over a decade. I assume that when BBC America finally started airing series one it was a big frigging deal. But I was completely ignorant of it.
It’s possible that I would have continued not watching Doctor Who to this day if not for one thing. That one thing being the BBC America premiere of Robin Hood. I’d seen print ads for Robin Hood that piqued my interest so I decided to watch the pilot. It was something of a miracle that we even had BBC America because I’m pretty sure that was a recent addition to Dish Network at the time. But thankfully I was able to find the channel. In fact, I put BBC America on 10 or 15 minutes early, so I ended up watching the end of the show before Robin Hood. That show was Doctor Who and it was the final episode of series one, “The Parting of the Ways.”
Talk about an introduction to the Doctor. I was instantly swept up in the story even though I hadn’t the foggiest idea what was going on. I immediately checked the guide to find out when the episode would be repeated and watched a repeat. Seeing the episode in its entirety didn’t help as much as I’d hoped, though, because it was the second half of a two-parter. But I definitely liked what I’d seen and decided to Netflix series one, which I (obviously) loved. David Tennant may be my favorite Doctor, but Christopher Eccleston was my first and he remains my second-favorite to this day (even though Matt Smith is wonderful).
It should be noted that I also loved Robin Hood. At the time I was far more obsessed with Robin Hood than I was with Doctor Who, but it’s easier to obsess over a TV show that is airing new episodes than one that isn’t. I started videotaping (yes, with a VCR) Robin Hood episodes so I could watch them whenever I wanted. It goes without saying that I preordered season one on DVD.
Anyways, I started thinking of all this on January 1, when I noticed the Robin Hood boxed sets on my bookshelf and decided to watch the first couple of episodes for the first time in forever. (I’d been thinking about the show since I saw The Hobbit, though, since the guy who played Thorin Oakenshield was Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood.) Sadly, they didn’t hold up that well, especially the pilot. I mean, Jonas Armstrong, who played Robin, is still hot, but I found that I didn’t really know what had grabbed my attention so strongly before.
In the interest of science, I watched the first three episodes of series one of Doctor Who so I could see if they still held up. Maybe the problem wasn’t Robin Hood, y’know? Maybe the problem was me. But no, the Doctor Who episodes still held up. It was the first time I’d watched any of those episodes in ages as well since I’m most likely to re-watch series two.
So yeah, my love for Doctor Who owes a lot to my fondness for the character of Robin Hood. (I don’t know that I’ve mentioned it here before, but The Adventures of Robin Hood is one of my all-time favorite movies. Yes, the Errol Flynn movie. It’s so good!) I mean, it’s possible that the Internet would’ve convinced me to check the show out eventually, but I like the way I discovered it for myself.