There, I said it. I don’t like Doctor Who. Or Torchwood. And do you know what will annoy you even more? I’ve barely even seen it.
I sat down in March 2005 and waited. Doctor Who was back, and with some fanfare. Growing up a Trekkie I never really had much love for Doctor Who, in fact, I only ever watched the Sylvester McCoy stories, trapped in the kitchen on a portable as my Mum took over the TV watching either Coronation Street, Brookside or some other soap. Still, I was willing to give this regeneration (see what I did there?) of the famous name a try. But oh, after fifteen minutes or so I was done. It still looked cheap and I found Christopher Ecclestone odd, and Billy Piper wooden. I decided there and then it wasn’t for me.
Yet the bandwagon rolls on, kids put Sonic Screwdrivers on their Christmas lists, the tenth Doctor has arrived and a slew of famous guest stars are queuing up to appear in the show. Maybe I was wrong, so I tried again. I watched the episodes with Peter Kay and Simon Pegg but still nothing really grabbed me. Everyone in the world seems to love the Doctor, except for me. What am I missing? Friends have tried to convert me, but my interest begins and ends with the phrase ‘the ones with Catherine Tate’.
I guess my big issue with Doctor Who is that despite his alleged status as a timelord, so much of his stories and adventures involve humans and Earth, or specifically, Cardiff. Now I’ve been to Cardiff, and not had anything like the amazing adventures he seems to have. I suppose there’s a good reason why. It’s cheaper to film in Cardiff than it is to film in Gallifrey.
Then came Torchwood, promising to be a kind of British Buffy, but it’s not, really, is it? John Barrowman grates on me like salt in a fresh wound, and oh, look, more Cardiff. I worry for the population of the Welsh capital. It looks like a scary place to live. I got as far as the episode with the Cyberwoman before I checked out. I tried, okay? But that was too much even for me. And I watched the last season of Sliders.
Maybe I’m being harsh on two of Britain’s finest sci-fi fare, but when I compare it to a lot of the American shows I’ve enjoyed over the years, it’s just, well, a bit naff. And at least those shows didn’t have the Daleks turning up at the end of every bloody season. Or the Cybermen.
In my opinion, Doctor Who just can’t compare to say Deep Space Nine, Battlestar Galactica or in the case of Torchwood, Buffy or the Winchester brothers of Supernatural fame. The writing is better, the effects are better, the production values are better.
But I’m not totally ignorant, okay, so I’ll make you a deal. The next time that Doc gets a new face, I’ll give it another try, and I’ll really try to get through a whole season. Just no bloody Daleks, please. OK?
Check out Adam’s previous column here.