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The word “melodrama” has taken a rather sorry turn in modern usage. Today, if someone or something is called “melodramatic” it is viewed as “over the top” in a bad, silly, or unbelieveable way. It suggests a lack of subtlety or character or a firm relationship with reality. Generally, if someone calls your work “melodramatic,” it isn’t a compliment. (And yet the word “dramatic” hasn’t quite descended to the same depths as its longer cousin.)
This saddens me, because in the classical sense, I love melodramas. The work of Dickens or the Brontë sisters and even Jane Austen can be called melodramas because they appeal to emotion and are sensationalized to heighten those feelings. So many of my favorite stories are technically melodramas, from Little Dorrit and Jane Eyre to more modern incarnations like Ripper Street and Doctor Who. (The argument could be made that these are technically dramas, but I personally feel like “drama” is just short for “good melodrama.”)
Image via NancyWho on fanpop.com
It’s been a while since I was this obsessed about a show. More than a show; an entire universe spread across many different kinds of media. One of the most appealing aspects of Doctor Who is that it exists in so many forms, allowing for a wide array of stories and expression. And one of the most challenging aspects of Doctor Who is that it exists in so many forms, making it very difficult to track them all down.
I’ll say right up front that I haven’t watched any classic Doctor Who. I really hate watching a series out of order, but since there are 100 episodes missing from classic Who, I was reluctant to dive into the franchise at all. However, my friend Storm Elf assured me that I could start with the 2005 series that introduced the 9th Doctor and I would be fine, since there’s a 16-year gap between classic Who and its reincarnation. We watched the first episode together at Katsucon and later she hosted a Doctor Who viewing for the next few episodes. After that, I went through a lull where I didn’t watch any Doctor Who. But in late September 2013, after listening to several Sapphire and Steel radio plays, I felt in the mood for some more weird time-related stories and decided it was the right time to start up Doctor Who again.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into.