A few years ago, my whole family embarked on a journey together. We started watching Dr. Who. We started with the newer series featuring Christopher Eccleston and continued watching up to the most recent Christmas special. It has become something of a love affair between us and the lovable Doctor.
But it wasn’t always like this. We’d tried to enjoy the Doctor on a few occasions before, but couldn’t really get into it. It felt a little cheesy, a little eccentric and an little weird; especially the older series. We weren’t sure if it was just a British thing or if we just weren’t getting it. It certainly wasn’t because it was sci-fi. As a family, we love Firefly (and even Serenity), Star Wars (not really sci-fi, I know), Star Trek, Falling Skies and I could go on.
But, it wasn’t until I learned how to watch Doctor Who that it finally clicked for us. I explained the “how” bits to my family and it clicked for them. So, what’s the trick? Here it is:
When enjoying fiction, we must suspend disbelief. This allows us to accept the story as it is. If the story forces us to suddenly let go of this suspension of disbelief, we are likely to dislike the story and abandon it. With Doctor Who, like all stories, it required us to suspend our disbelief and I don’t think we had a problem with that. What we needed to do was suspend our awkward avoidance. I had a friend tell me, “Embrace the quirky, cheesy, eccentric style and dialog; just admit that you are a little crazy too and go along for the ride. While you’re riding, pay close attention to the warmth and depth of the characters despite the awkwardness… this is how you love Doctor Who.”
And, it turns out, she was right.
Do you love Dr. Who? Does this ring true for you? Let me know in the comments.