23 November 2013: yesterday, someone assassinated President Kennedy. The papers are full of it. Somewhere in a back column, they mentioned that writers C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley also died yesterday - but of course JFK is the bigger news. And somebody told me that BBC Television will be starting some new science-fiction show tonight - science fiction on television, of all the strange things to do!
Well, fast-forward by precisly one-half of a century, and the dead guys are still (surprise, surprise) dead. The balance of attention between Kennedy and Lewis' death-days has levelled out a bit, which I'd say is a good thing, as Kennedy may have been 'the most important' on a materialistic scale but Lewis was far more significant from a spiritual perspective. Ultimately, though, they're both still dead. As is Huxley, but I know very little about him really.
Doctor Who, on the other hand, is very much alive and kicking, and since the beginning of this month or thereabouts, the entire BBC seems to have metamorphosed into a giant promotion-and-celebration machine for its own sci-fi brainchild. I haven't yet seen Mark Gatiss' drama about the show's origins, An Adventure in Space and Time, but it's waiting on the hard-disk recorder and I'm rather looking forward to it. Ditto The Science of Doctor Who. But the big news, of course, is the 75-minute anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, which will be airing tonight, precisely 50 years after the very first episode went out on 23 November 1963.
I've seen that first episode, An Unearthly Child (along with the next 12), and it makes for an intriguing comparision - most of the major components are already there half a century ago, but on many other levels the thing has progressed and reinvented almost beyond recognition. The acting has improved (thank goodness female roles no longer consist of "She sees the shadow of the monster. AAAAAAIIEEEGHH!!!"), as have the set design, the cameras, and the visual effects. It's not that the show has increased in ambition, necessarily, more that the technology has got to the point where the ambitions can be realised much more closely.
Tonight promises a huge, ambitious, monster-infested multi-Doctor story, and I for one am dead keen to see it. May or may not blog again afterwards, if I think my reaction to it was interesting enough to blog about.
Until 7:50 pm, then.
- The Colclough