I was late to the Doctor Who universe, only discovering it a few short years ago on Netflix. I’m hardly an expert, but then who could be in such a short time? The Doctor has been saving the universe for over fifty years.

Created by Sydney Newman and first appearing on the BBC way back in 1963, the Doctor is an ancient Time Lord (roughly 2000 years old by now) from the planet Gallifrey. If you don’t know anything about the Doctor you might assume that he was just another swashbuckling science fiction hero – Flash Gordon meets Captain Kirk. You’d be very, very wrong.

The Doctor is feared by villains across time and space, but not for his skill with a laser gun. The Doctor uses his intellect to undo his adversaries, and avoids killing at all cost. Without question, it is the Doctor’s brilliance and his kindness that distinguish him from all other sci-fi heroes.

Also, while there is only one Doctor, you still have a variety to chose from. Unlike his fellow British creation, James Bond, the Doctor’s changing face is a part of the story. When the Doctor is on the brink of death, his body regenerates. Like a phoenix he rises from the ashes with a new face, even a slightly adjusted personality. Yet at his core, whether played by William Hartnell or Peter Capaldi, the Doctor’s moral center never wavers, and he always has that twinkle in his eye.

Everyone has a personal favorite among those who’ve played the Doctor. Mine is David Tennant, the eleventh Doctor (yes, I do count John Hurt’s War Doctor). I was quite attached to Christopher Eccleston, and wasn’t ready to let him go after only one season. I was resistant to the change when it came. I didn’t see Tennant in the role at first. I soon changed my tune.

Tennant played the Doctor as both kind and mad, filled with hope and yet nearly suicidal. Much of the time he was the same old Doctor, smiling and cracking wise. Yet there was such hurt in his eyes, such rage in his belly. This was clearly a man who’d seen too much of the universe. Time had caught up to him, and it was only by surrounding himself with companions on his travels that Tennant’s Doctor kept himself going.

But no matter the darkness, the Doctor always manages to guide us through with a smile and a wink…and sometimes a kick up the backside. Time and time again, throughout the decades, the Doctor has managed to inspire our imaginations and our desire to do good in the world. He is a character to aspire to be, no matter how unattainable that goal may be. Through his adventures we are reminded that it isn’t always might that saves the day, but often times a brilliant mind and a kind soul.

We may not ever get to fly about in a TARDIS, wielding our sonic screw drivers against an army of Dalek’s, but we can still follow in the footsteps of the Doctor. “Never cruel or cowardly. Never give up, never give in.”
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