I've been on a bit of a Doctor Who kick this year.
As manager of a Blockbuster Video franchisee, I enjoy some authority to determine my store's inventory. Taking undue advantage of such authority comes natural to me, and I have been surreptitiously adding DVD episodes of older Doctor Who to our BSI (Basic Store Inventory) library. I've also been acquiring the recent seasons, starring Christopher Eccleston (Season 1) and David Tennant (Season 2 - current).
I must say that the current Who offers incredible writing that pays homage to the older stories and feel, without relying too much on it. There's Daleks and Cybermen aplenty, and our beloved Sarah Jane Smith even figures prominently in one storyline (She has aged incredibly well. After-effects of too much time spent in the TARDIS, I suppose.). But the stories are wholly modern, wholly their own, and anyone without any prior experience with Time Lords, and with an imaginative brain, can enjoy it. And David Tennant is probably the best Doctor to date... with one notable exception.
There is only ever one Doctor for me, of course: Tom Baker.
In 1980-1983 I lived in Stringer, Mississippi. I was 10 years old in 1980, and
effectively marooned in a backwater with little or nothing to do save rely on my own imagination for entertainment. (That, admittedly, has been my salvation throughout much of my life.) We had 2 television stations we could receive regularly: a local NBC affiliate, and a PBS station. Somehow, that PBS station managed to get hold of steady episodes of the Tom Baker years of Doctor Who, which may have saved science fiction for me as a form of intellectual entertainment. I was able to watch Tom as the 4th Doctor in the afternoons after I got home from school. Tom's performance and personality left a deep impression on me; and how could it not? He was only being himself, and he is a very force of nature, Tom is.
I have been pleasantly surprised to see that many guys (Yep, they're all guys. The ladies just never got it. Science fiction just isn't generally something the womenfolk care for or understand. I've known a couple of exceptions, but they are rare.) smile and get this wistful, glazed-over expression when they find out we've got Who from Pertwee, through Baker, and some Davidson. They often had the same experience I did as a child: Tom Baker, and the Third and Fifth Doctors bookending his tenure, opened up a window into another, alien dimension for us. And it was marvelous. We're all getting older, but some things never will change, no matter how many regenerations we live through.
Thank you, Tom, for being our Doctor.