Tag Archives: Doctor Who

The Golden Age of the Geekosphere

Tonight, I’m going to see Avengers: Age of Ultron (the movie I’m most excited to see this summer). That got me to thinking about the multitude of things that make being a geek/nerd/fanboy/fangirl just so cool these days.

Yes, we’ve got it pretty good, and here are 5 of my favorite reasons why:

1.) Nerd/Science Culture Acceptance


What he said.

Let’s start with the most general of them. Over the last few years, what has been traditionally ‘nerd’ culture has leaked over into mainstream. Game of Thrones has been instrumental in this shift, along with shows like The Big Bang Theory and Sherlock. While the former has given us our share of fantasy and dragons (historically in the purview of geeks), the latter two have shown us that intelligent characters can carry a narrative, going far beyond the tape-around-the-glasses/pocket protector stereotypes of generations before.

We also have TV shows like Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, where we can see the beauty of science, and why it’s useful. We have websites like Geeks are Sexy and IFLScience. We can watch the livestream of the ISS, see sunsets from the surface of Mars, and use brand-new images of planets from Mercury to Ceres as our computer wallpaper. We may not have starships (yet), but little by little science is spreading into the public consciousness.

Maybe we’re a long way from mainstream or wholesale acceptance, but it’s a start. I’ll certainly take it.

2.) The Marvel Cinematic Universe


A triumph of the human spirit.

Okay, so you might think this is a big step down from #1, but go with me for a moment.  The Marvel Cinematic Universe did the impossible – it wove individual movie franchises into one big story. Despite its name, it isn’t just about the cinema anymore. We now have TV shows like Agent Carter, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Daredevil, not to mention comic books and cartoons, all of which take place in the MCU.

While this by itself makes the comic book fanboy in me want to do the Snoopy dance, the MCU showed audiences and studios alike that this is viable way to make movies. Marvel has plans for more movies in the MCU through 2020 and beyond.

That means that we will wind up with at least two decades of superhero movies, if you start the clock with X-Men in the year 2000. And the current generation of movie-goers will have had the privilege of living through this era, of seeing all this unfold in the theatre. That’s pretty exciting.

One of these days the MCU might play out, but right now it’s going strong. Even if others try to emulate the MCU badly (*cough* DC *cough*), we at least got Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy out of the deal, so go us!

3.) The Regeneration of Doctor Who

Vale Decem

You don’t have to go.

The years 1989 to 2004 were a dark time for Whovians. The only Who we got back then was that pretty awful TV movie that was a weak attempt at a reboot. I do admit to liking the style and charisma that Paul McCann brought to the character, and this was the first time we saw Who with more ‘modern’ effects. But… the Seventh Doctor got a punk death, Eric Roberts played the Master, and the story was just plain bad, and clearly written by people who were not invested in the franchise.

In 2005, however, Russell T. Davies rekindled the series with Christopher Eccleston as the title role. Steven Moffat took over as showrunner after David Tennant’s run, and the show is still going strong. I hope the BBC will learn from its mistake in 1989 and keep the show going indefinitely. Now that the ’12 Regeneration Limit’ issue has been addressed, there’s no reason why Doctor Who can’t continue to move forward with new adventures.  Doctor Who is something that science fiction fandom needs, and for the foreseeable future, we have it.

4.) Netflix & YouTube (& All the Social Media)


I laughed, I cried, I rebuffered.

This is a pretty broad category, to be sure. Netflix and other video streaming platforms have given fans an unprecedented access to episodes of our favorite shows, past and present. Previously, fans had to make do with a library of DVDs or VHS tapes. Though there is often a delay between when a program is broadcast and when it ends up streaming, it gives fans nowadays the ability to binge watch whole shows. It’s just as easy to watch the original G1 Transformers as it is to watch the Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.

YouTube has made a great addition to fandom as well. Here you can share fan theories and lateral content, parodies, song covers, and cosplay advice. Some of the fan-made trailers for movies and TV shows are in many ways better than the actual thing. It’s a wide-open canvas for fans to express their creativity. If that weren’t enough, social media sites bring fans news and information with unprecedented speed, as well as giving us a way to connect with the people who make the TV shows, movies, and music videos unlike ever before. You could tweet to Neil Gaiman, Lindsey Stirling, or Emilia Clarke and they might actually Tweet back.


5.) ThinkGeek

Hey, listen!

With or without a promo code.

What’s the surest way to know that geek fandoms are doing well? Merchandising. Manufacturers wouldn’t make a pizza cutter in the shape of the Enterprise, or plush facehuggers if they didn’t think there was a market for them. Turns out there is.

Marketing licensed merch and cool gadgets is nothing new, but no one, and I mean no one, does it better than ThinkGeek. There are endless places online to find fan-based T-shirts, but ThinkGeek goes above and beyond. They have collectibles, apparel, gadgets, toys, and things you didn’t think anyone would make but you are sure glad that they did.  Seriously, folks, there is a spotlight small enough to sit on your desk that is a miniature Bat Signal.

Beyond that, it feels like the people at ThinkGeek actually get these licenses. They know what these properties mean to the fans because they are fans of them themselves. Do yourself a favor and go sign up for their email newsletter. When it comes in, read it. Does is it sound like you are being pandered to by people who wouldn’t know a Wookie from a Dalek? Nope, not at all. It’s more like walking into a meet & greet at a local convention. They’re the friends-in-fandom you never knew you had. If you haven’t already, go check them out.

A Final Word

There are many more things I could list about the awesomeness of modern geekery, but that would take more than a humble blog post to even scratch the surface.  The upshot of it is: there has never been a better time to be a fan, and I’m glad to be a part of it all.

May this emerging golden age of the Geekosphere Live Long and Prosper.

Why I Love The Doctor

I’ve heard it said that being a geek means never having to say you’re sorry for loving something. Good thing, because this blog post is all about why I love the Doctor in Doctor Who.  If you’re a Whovian already, this post is likely just shooting fish in a barrel, but I will tell you why I love the show and the character of the Doctor in particular.

For those of you who are not necessarily fans of the show, here is a peek into that particular fandom.  It’s true that Whovians occupy a strange niche of the overall sci-fi genre. You can see them at conventions with their scarves, long coats or bow-ties, often waving around sonic screwdrivers with every photo-op.  Or maybe it’s just a T-shirt with a blue box on it or the words “Don’t Blink.”

Regardless of what they look like, these folks are linked together by a single television series that first debuted in 1963. The central character of that show is the Doctor (BTW, his last name is NOT ‘Who’), and is one of the most compelling and enduring characters in all of science fiction. Here’s why I love him:

50 Years Creates a Legend


Yeah, baby, yeah!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the show.  With more than 200 episodes in its continuity, not to mention novels, video games, comics and radio plays, the Doctor has been on a lot of adventures. This gives him a body of past accomplishments that practically dwarfs any other sci-fi character. Doctor Who is, after all, the longest running sci-fi TV show of all time.

Even in the current series, there are references and throwbacks to things which happened at the very beginning of the series.  By this point in the storyline, the Doctor has achieved a nearly unrivalled heroic status. I mean, if you can boast that you’ve saved the Universe or the Earth more times than Kirk or Picard, and possibly as many times as Superman, I’d say you have some bragging rights.

His Heart (Both of Them)


With all my heart.

The Doctor has lived over 900 years.  He’s fought evil forces and saved quadrillions of innocent lives. While some of his travels can be lighthearted, there are times when the Doctor is deadly serious, and must champion existence itself.  It is the force of his convictions and his almost unimaginable capacity for compassion and mercy that drive him. There are so many times in the series where he could have chosen the easy path and just walked away.  But he doesn’t.

The Doctor stands and fights, most of the time without weapons, and with only the help of his trusty sonic screwdriver and the companions at his side.  Yet, when the smoke clears, the Doctor is triumphant even against the most impossible odds. While he can’t always save everyone around him (the body count in Doctor Who can get pretty high), the Doctor finds a way − always.  He never runs out of hope. His hearts, much like his beloved TARDIS, have to be bigger on the inside, like a super-reversed Grinch.

His Mind Is His Greatest Weapon


What he said.

Perhaps the thing I love about this character the most is that his mind is the most awesome weapon in his arsenal.  The Doctor is almost always able to outthink and outmaneuver his enemies, even if they initially get the drop on him. He has that uncanny knack for using the opposition’s strength against them.  So, the greater the force arrayed against him, the more dangerous he becomes.

In an age of brute-force action heroes, who are more concerned with kicking down doors and mowing down anything that moves, the Doctor presents us with a daring and compelling alternative.  He uses violence as a last resort, rather than leading with it. I think that this peace-loving mindset makes the storylines in Doctor Who that much more interesting and rich. (And this is coming from a guy who writes military science fiction!)

An Unbroken String of Great Performances


One man, eleven faces.

At the time of this writing, there have been 11 men who have played the Doctor in the main story (sorry, Peter Cushing and John Hurt!). If you ask a proper Whovian who the worst Doctor of the lot was, they might have a hard time answering. We all have our favorites, which can naturally eclipse some of the other incarnations of that most famous of Time Lords.

Here’s the cool part…even the weakest versions of the Doctor are still incredibly well played on screen. Each actor brought something to the role that stood out from his peers.  From William Hartnell’s First Doctor to Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor, the performances have been outstanding from start to finish. Even when the sets and special effects were not all that stellar, each Doctor was still uniquely brilliant. No pressure, Peter Capaldi. Your Twelfth Doctor has some pretty big shoes to fill.

He’s Universally Applicable to…Everything


Anyone surprised? Anyone?

With a ship that can travel to any point in time and space, the Doctor could quite literally show up anywhere.  There have been some limited crossovers with other series (mostly in comics and novels), but it would not be out of character for a blue box to just materialize in just about any other sci-fi universe or continuity. Believe it or not, there is a comic book storyline where the Eleventh Doctor teams up with Jean-luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D to fight a bunch of Borg/Cybermen hybrids. Yeah, my geek is showing.

But even within the confines of the show, we see the Doctor meet historical figures from Shakespeare to Madame de Pompadour. Whether he lands in Victorian England (which he does quite a bit), Renaissance Italy or Pompeii, there really is no storyline − past or present − that the Doctor couldn’t participate in. He just sort of goes with everything, and it’s glorious. The adventure possibilities are truly limitless.


So there you have it, folks. In broad strokes, those are the reasons why this author loves the Doctor. If you are a science-fiction fan of any stripe, and haven’t watched this show, I can’t recommend Doctor Who enough to you.  In my opinion, the Doctor is one of the cornerstones of sci-fi, and is well worth discovering for yourself if you haven’t already. Who knows, you might just find yourself cruising ThinkGeek for a TARDIS mug or Dalek ice cube tray.