The 101: The Last of the Time Lords

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Laura Preby, Photo Editor

Every issue, the weirdos behind The Beacon’s Arts & Entertainment section indulge their vanity and give a thoroughly biased crash-course in whatever madness happens to be dwelling in their warped minds. Their views do not reflect those of The Beacon, its staff or Wilkes University.

Blah blah blah. This week, Laura Preby is hopping into the TARDIS to hang out with…

The Last of the Time Lords

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Who is The Doctor?

“He comes from somewhere else. He travels in the TARDIS that is bigger on the inside than on the outside and can travel both space and time.”

This quote, spoken by Amy Pond during the introduction of the sixth season of the modern version of “Doctor Who,” is the best description of who the titular Doctor is and what he’s about.  But there’s so much more to the story that has had nerdy fan-boys glued to the television for the past half-century.

“Doctor Who” the longest running sci-fi television series ever, has over 700 episodes since its birth in 1963. The Doctor, who has been played by a succession of different actors since the show first inseminated the imaginations of television audiences way back in the swingin’ ‘60s, is the last of the Time Lords (an ancient, ageless alien race) who, by traveling through space and time, sets out to right the wrongs of the world and has encountered more than a few foes along the way.

Some of the most iconic monsters in the series are the Daleks, the Cybermen and the Weeping Angels, to name a few (find out all about these nefarious extraterrestrials in the Cheat Sheet on the other side of this page).  And, honestly, it’s hard not to piss off a few people in the 1,200 years the Doctor has been alive.

The Doctor, currently played by Matt Smith, makes his journeys with the accompaniment of a companion, until recently the aforementioned Amy Pond, a stylish red-head with an attitude similar to my own.

Smith, the Eleventh Doctor, will be taking on a new companion, Clara Oswin Oswald, in the second half of the seventh series, which will begins airing on BBC America on March 30.  This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic television series, which originally went off the air in 1989, only to be relaunched and reinvented (but not rebooted) in 2005 for a new audience.

“Doctor Who” is one of the few shows that audiences can watch the old episodes as well as the new ones and still understand what’s going on.  Unlike “Star Trek,” which keep changing characters with each new series, “Doctor Who” features a lot of the same faces and references throughout the years, allowing you to relate with them whether you’re 15 or 50.

The new episodes, said to be some of the most epic thus far, feature a series of new foes, and the return of older ones portrayed in a way we’ve never seen them before.

Over the years, there have been eleven different Doctors played by different actors, which is a great gimmick to keep the show running when actors get uninterested.

Simply put, the Doctor does not “die”; he is regenerated into a new being after he sustains any injury that would result in death if he were human.  He regenerates in a new body with a similar personality (but never exactly the same) and different amounts of sexiness depending on your taste and sexual preference (Tenth Doctor = Yum)  There are also rumors of a female Doctor in the near future, although this is something that’s been discussed for some time.  Yay or nay?

Aside from the long-running television show, there have also had many spin-off series such as “Torchwood,” “The Sarah Jane Adventures” and “K-9.”  There is also a popular Doctor Who comic that I indulge in on occasion. Additionally, there’s been exciting news of a “Doctor Who”/”Star Trek” crossover comic, being released this May, that would make any geek set down his Magic cards, turn off his Nintendo 64 and skip off to the comic book store.

Whether you’re a die-hard Whovian or have never experienced The Doctor for yourself, now is a great time to sit down with a few reruns and prepare yourself for new adventures with everyone’s favorite Time Lord.

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Think you know Doc? Think again. There’s a lot to keep track of when you have 50 years of continuity to sift through. It’s only a start, but you should be well on your way to geek royalty if you keep handy…

“The Whovian’s Guide to the Galaxy”

TARDIS

Stands for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space.” Essentially, a combination time machine/spaceship, the TARDIS looks like a blue police phone box on the outside (something once common in England), but is much, much, much bigger on the inside (as virtually everyone who enters makes sure to mention).

More than just a spiffy ride, though, the TARDIS itself is alive, and doubles as The Doctor’s oldest friend and greatest love.

All together now: Awwww.

Sonic Screwdriver

Never leave the TARDIS without it! The Sonic Screwdriver is The Doctor’s trustiest tool, a sort of intergalactic all-purpose Swiss Army knife which can be used to open doors, scan alien life-forms or do anything else the show writers need it to.

For the nerd in your life, you can buy your own. It can’t scan alien life-forms, but it can change the channel on your TV. Except for when “Doctor Who” is on.

Daleks

The most recognizable villain in the “Doctor Who” canon, your average Dalek look like a cross between R2-D2 and a tank. Basically a metaphor for Nazi eugenics, the Daleks have very little tolerance for any species other than their own, and have one specific agenda when they encounter “inferior” races:

EX-TERRRR-MINATE!

Cybermen

Who doesn’t love big, scary robots? Too bad they don’t love you. It’s not anything personal, they just know you’d be better if you were made of metal and had no emotions. When you hear them shouting “delete” at the top of their synthetic lungs, get out of town before you end up assimilated, Borg-style.

Oh well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Weeping Angels

Looking fear in the face is one thing, but what if you’re not able to? The Weeping Angels are unique in that they’re “quantum-locked.” When you’re looking at them, they appear harmless. Just statues of, well, weeping angels. It’s when you turn your back that things get dangerous. When they’re not being looked at, these not-quite-angels are released from their marble prisons and free to kill you. And, trust me, they want to kill you.

You literally will never see it coming.

The Master

Every great hero needs a villainous counterpart. Sherlock Holmes had Moriarty. Darkwing Duck had Nega-Duck. And The Doctor? He has The Master.

Another Time Lord (yeah, that whole “Last of the Time Lords” thing changes every now ‘n’ then, per the needs of the writers), The Master is utterly insane. While The Doctor values all life, The Master detests it.

Appropriately, this not-inconsiderable difference of opinions has led the two endangered extraterrestrials to clash time and time again.

Companions

The official nickname of The Doctor’s many sidekicks over the years, the Companions serve as audience surrogates, someone for us mere mortals to relate to and someone for The Doctor to kindly explain everything to.

Though most Companions have been female, it’s worth noting that only one has truly captured The Doctor’s heart. So, naturally, she was tragically written out. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

K-9

A robot-dog with an encyclopedic knowledge of pretty much everything. Plus, he has lasers guns and says “Affirmative” a lot (everyone has a catchphrase on this show, even the damn dog). In other words, he’s the perfect pet.