For long-time followers of the blog, you might remember that I used to be a pretty big Doctor Who fan. I eagerly awaited each new episode. I bought Doctor Who goodies at Gen Con. I knit both variants of the Fourth Doctor’s scarf and cosplayed as the Fourth Doctor for Gen Con 2013. I listened to Doctor Who-inspired music. I even had my very own sonic screwdriver! (It turned into an actual screwdriver, which was pretty awesome.)
But by the time Peter Capaldi stepped into the TARDIS as the Twelfth Doctor back in 2014, I wasn’t enjoying the show as much as I used to. After one of the original showrunners for new Doctor Who left in 2010, the show lost some of its magic, and at the end of the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure, I decided maybe I needed a break from Doctor Who. I didn’t watch any of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Doctor’s episodes, and only started a rewatch of the Tenth Doctor sometime last summer when I was missing Rana pretty fiercely. I joined the Whovian Running Club in memory of Rana, too, but aside from that, I didn’t really get into Doctor Who much. I was really excited to hear that Jodie Whittaker was the Thirteenth Doctor, as I’d been wondering if the Doctor would ever regenerate as a woman, and that almost got me back into watching it… but not quite.
But then I heard that David Tennant was coming back to the show… as the Fourteenth Doctor.
Now that… that got my attention. (That and hearing that Russell T. Davies was coming back as a showrunner.) The Doctor never had the same face twice. Never. I may not have been super invested in Doctor Who over the past decade, but hearing that the Doctor regenerated with the same face he had a couple of regenerations ago? That got me interested. I needed to watch the 60th Anniversary specials.
(It also didn’t hurt that it’s now a lot easier to watch Doctor Who than it was when I first got into the show. It’s on freakin’ Disney+ now! Disney and the Doctor still breaks my brain.)
I waited to watch the specials until all three were released – because honestly, I’m more of a binge-watcher these days than I used to be, and I didn’t want to wait between episodes. I wanted to get the whole story in one fell swoop. I was a little trepidatious going into it – almost ten years had passed since I last watched any new Doctor Who episodes. I know I’d missed a lot. Was I going to be woefully confused as to what was going on?
I shouldn’t have worried. It felt almost like coming home to the Doctor Who I first fell in love with. Sure, time had passed and there were lots of new things (seriously, when did the Doctor learn how to make force fields with the sonic screwdriver?), but even with 15 years passing between the last time we saw Donna Noble and her appearance in the specials, it felt like I was seeing old friends again for the first time in ages. The dynamic between the Doctor and Donna is the same as always, and the monsters ranged from terrifyingly adorable to just plain terrible. It was exciting and familiar, and I loved every second of it. And after the rough mess the last few years have been for me, I needed that. I needed to return to something comfortingly familiar that still had some new stories to tell.
I won’t get into too many spoilers here, for those who haven’t seen the specials yet, but as someone who loved the Ninth and Tenth Doctors and their companions, this was a delightful treat that got me excited about Doctor Who again. And I’m really excited to see Ncuti Gatwa as the Fifteenth Doctor – from the little bit we saw of him at the end of the specials, I feel like he’s going to be a very fun Doctor, and I’m curious to see where things go with him piloting the TARDIS. (Only six more days until we get to find out!)