There are two TV series that I absolutely love. The first is Firefly, by Joss Whedon. The second is, of course, Doctor Who. I know a lot of people know me for being a Trekkie, but my Trek geekdom pales into insignificance against my love for all things shiny and sonic.

Here’s why…

When I first came across Firefly, it was just before the release of the follow-up movie Serenity. I discovered a set of promotional postcards with images of Mal, Jayne, Inara, Zoe and River and giving information about them. The blend of sci-fi and western was apparent, and grabbed my attention. With the aid of Google, I discovered more about the series, and how it had been cancelled, and then resurrected by the love of the fans. A few weeks later, I was browsing in HMV when I happened upon the box set of the series. I snapped it up. Within two days, I’d watched the whole series and was driving my girlfriend of the time mad with it. I loved it.

The writing was kooky and odd, but also dark and realistic. You could actually believe these nine characters living together on a rusty old cargo ship in space, just trying to get on with their lives, earn an honest living and never quite succeeding to maintain mundanity. It was fabulous.

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I’ve loved Doctor Who since I was a kid. I watched most of them on re-runs on Bravo and UK Gold if I remember rightly, through cable and Sky television. I loved all of the series, but Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as the Doctor and Ace were my favourites as a kid. There was something about Ace knocking ten bells of shit out of a dalek with a baseball bat that was highly amusing to my twelve year old self.

I also liked how the Doctor got darker over time. I always borrowed DW books from the library, and they were an excellent insight to the Doctor and his motivations. I liked this guy, not just because he was a good guy, but because he sometimes got it wrong (often with comical results) but he was also not quite perfect, either. He was dark, and broody and moody at times. He manipulated people, not least his trusted companions, to work to his advantage.

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That is the trait that interests me in both the Doctor, and Malcolm Reynolds. What’s of use to them, that is all they are interested in. They will vehemently protect their respective crews/companions, and even humanity in general. But they also screw up from time to time. And they will both not think twice about manipulating people and events to suit their purposes.

When RTD revived Doctor Who, I was over the moon. I’d been disappointed by the failed movie with Paul McGann, and so was really stoked. I wasn’t overly disappointed, either. The series was slightly dark, broody in the same vein as the Seventh Doctor. Rose was not too dissimilar to Ace, and I was eager for more. Then Christopher Ecclestone left, and we got this tall, quiffed guy in Converse and a pinstripe suit to take the reins.

Now, I’m not gonna slate David Tennant. His was a brilliant Doctor, carefully crafted. But the series under RTD, and DT’s style of Doctor, came at odds. Here was a Doctor, alone in the universe having done terrible things to his own people to end the Time War, being a serious Emo about it, while at the same time also being flippant, comical, and busy. It was off. For me, the best episodes were at Steven Moffat’s hands, the darker episodes where we really saw the Doctor’s darker, more vulnerable side. This was something RTD repeatedly failed to carry off for the four series he helmed.

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Finally, Steven Moffat took the helm. And some strange, kooky comedy actor called Matt Smith became the Doctor. Many people wondered how he could possibly take on the role from DT’s massive success and wide appeal.

But some of us saw the connection right from the moment he was announced: the dark and the light.

With Moffat at the helm, this would be an entirely darker series than ever before. There would be bigger surprises and shocks, and even greater mortal dangers for the Doctor and his companions right from the word go. So, would Tennant’s Doctor have been right for this series? Well, no.

The Tenth Doctor was still moody, dark, emo, broody. But he was too much so to carry off a constantly dark series. It would have become too oppressive to watch. No, this new series required a new Doctor, a Doctor who could tap into all of the traits of his predecessors. The clown of Troughton; the old man of Hartnell; the dandy of Pertwee; the manic, wide-eyed glee of Tom Baker; the sharp wit and temper of Colin Baker; the youthful exuberance of Davison; the eccentric romantic of McGann; the guilt-ridden melancholy of Eccleston; the cheeky but egocentric Tennant; the deep ruthlessness of McCoy. Put these all together and you have the most complex character yet: the Eleventh Doctor.

Matt Smith does this all brilliantly well, helped no end by an enthusiastic writing team mentored by Moffat. He his cheeky and flippant, yet tired and alone and sad.

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Out of all the Doctors, I can finally say *this* is my Doctor. Closely followed by McCoy and Ace, this new paring of Smith and Karen Gillan has been brilliant.

So much so, this is the first of the new Doctor Who series I’ve actually parted money for, downloading the HD episodes on iTunes. I shall be investing in a new sonic screwdriver. And I would love to have my own TARDIS console room somewhere. It is right up my street, steampunk inspired and finally uses multi-levels and walkways. This to me has always been lacking in previous series, as the TARDIS is supposed to be immense, and finally we have a console room that makes you feel there is far more beyond it.

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So there you go, my little ramble about Doctor Who and Firefly. I love them both. Well, specifically the Eleventh Doctor, and Firefly. I can’t wait to see Browncoats: Redemption (the fan film out in September) and the Christmas special of DW which is too far away. Part of the reason why I bought the series. I can now gee out totally whenever I like and watch either of my favourite shows over and over again.

I’d better stop rambling now. Until next time, geronimo!

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