For years, the top four spots in my all-time favorite TV shows have been locked in stone: number one is "The Prisoner "; number two is "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"; number three is "The Dick Van Dyke Show"; and number four is "Columbo". That's the way it always was and I thought that's the way it always would be.
In the last nine years, one show has moved up to break into the Top Five (although I always keep Super Six lists). And today, that show is celebrating its 50th anniversary.....
First off, I don't want you to think I'm one of those "fans" who only got on the bandwagon with the RTD reboot in 2005. When "Doctor Who" made its first big impact on the American TV market in the late 70s, I had read the pre-publicity and was ready to sample this "new" sci-fi venture.
But I also remember seeing at least one of the Peter Cushing theatrical releases on TV years earlier when I was living in Connecticut. (From that viewing, I only remember that I didn't like it very much - still don't - but it was my first exposure to a very talented man, Bernard Cribbins, whose performances I would enjoy whenever I stumbled across them.)
When "Doctor Who" debuted in America, I had no clue about its history in British television, nor that other actors played the Time Lord before Tom Baker. When I saw Patrick Troughton in "The Omen" when it first opened, I had no idea he had already served his time in the role (in what has since become my favorite incarnation of the Doctor.)
All I kept thinking while watching the Fourth Doctor in "The Robots Of Death" (my first adventure) was that this wild-maned, toothy-grinned mad man with a box, sporting an unmanageable scarf, was unlike anyone I had seen before in American sci-fi shows.
So it's always been an enjoyable addition to my overall television viewing experience. I really hoped for the best when it returned with the TV movie in 1996, despite its flaws and revision of the Daleks and the Master. Had it gone to series, I'd have watched it. (As Paul McGann has reminded us recently, he was a worthy incarnation of the Doctor.)
But with the show's return in 2005, something had changed in my life. I had begun my "studies" in televisiology, in the hopes of one day creating my own fantasy realm/shared universe similar to those found in the works of Philip Jose Farmer, Marvin Kaye, John Myers Myers, and the two who started it for me, Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague DeCamp.
And I've come up with the Toobworld Dynamic, a shared universe in which almost all TV shows, TV movies, commercials, online content, and even a few theatrical movies share the same world.
Over the years, "Doctor Who" has risen to take its place at the very hearts of this TV Universe because of the nature of the show. It could be anything: drama, comedy, a Western, a cop show, a medical program, a love story, a travelogue, a science lecture, history lesson, political intrigue, a musical, slapstick, murder mystery, in color and black & white..... All it needs would be flying monkeys to achieve my vision of perfection!
Regular visitors to the Inner Toob blog will know that it's become an O'Bsession of mine as I've found dozens, if not at least a hundred, connections to other TV shows. Some are deliberately stated (crossovers with "Torchwood" and "The Sarah Jane Adventures", mention of Arthur Dent), but mostly they're the products of my knock-about imagination. Connections to shows like "Batman", "Star Trek", "The Twilight Zone", even "I Love Lucy "!
It has come to the point that - even without today's milestone - I would always be finding new things to scribble about "Doctor Who". For the last five years, near as, I've held a one-man blogathon about the show on New Year's Day. The umbrella title for such a project? "Who's On First".....
Anyhoo, it's too late to make a long story short. But I just wanted to say that O'Bsessively thinking about the show as the anniversary approached made me realize it was time to update my Super Six list of TV shows once again.......
4] "The Dick Van Dyke Show"
3] "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
2] "The Prisoner"
And my Number One favorite TV show is......
Well, duh. Haven't you been paying attention?
Happy anniversary, "Doctor Who".
Someone who saw my list (and probably suffers from OCD) insisted I share with them my Top Ten. So here's the rest of the line-up:
7] "The Wild, Wild West"
8] "Star Trek" franchise
9] "Monty Python's Flying Circus"
10] "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"