Tales from /lost+found 34: Semicentennial

Sorry this is late. Somehow got the AM/PM thing wrong when scheduling…

So here we are. Back where it all started. November, 2013. The day that my ennui ruptured the space-time continuum. When something I had loved for literally as long as I could remember communicated in unequivocal terms that I was wrong for ever having thought of it as something grander and more transcendent than just another TV show. That… Hurt (pun unintentional). I was actually pretty upset about it for basically all of 2014, which I imagine sounds very small and petty. But I found a way back, eventually, by wandering back in my mind to an earlier time when people I don’t know and who owe me nothing took my childhood love and tried to turn it into something.. Ordinary. Something just like everything else. I went back to May 14, 1996, and I just shoved the universe a little bit. What if the dominant model for Science Fiction television in the US in 1996 were just a little bit goofier, more amenable for what Doctor Who was selling.

It’s not always easy to admit when you’re wrong. And I was wrong about this. My reasons — the reasons I gave — were better than most, I think, but they just weren’t actually adequate to the task because nothing could be. But the reasons I gave weren’t the full story, because I didn’t realize the full story at the time. Which is: I was wrong because I just couldn’t see it working. I couldn’t see it. And then, one day, out of the blue, I could. It happened, of all times, while watching an episode of Top Gear. So I guess thank goodness it took another week for Jeremy Clarkson to punch his producer.

The thing about the TV movie, possibly its worst sin, was that it tried to make Doctor Who into something ordinary. If it had been picked up, the best possible outcome would be an American TV series that, even if successful, would have meant the end of Doctor Who. Eight seasons, and the end. The flame could burn or it could last. Eight seasons of a US Doctor Who and we get no BBC Books, no Curse of Fatal Death, no Big Finish, no Scream of the Shalka, no 2005 revival, no Torchwood, Sarah Jane Adventures or K-9 the Series, no Lego Dimensions, no 3D theatrical premiere, no Proms show, no cleverly titled 2005 blog post after a night of making out with Leah in a Karaoke bar. Doctor Who would become a permanent part of the past, dead and buried.

But then, there are always possibilities…

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