Whaddya gonna call ’em… Whoies?

Many of you are Trekkies.  I suspect many of you are… whaddya gonna call ’em… Whoies?

I was over at BBC 4 today to listen to reading of CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.  Cleese is better.  It is the anniversary of his death this week and the author is going to receive a memorial stone in Westminster Abbey.  Thus, they are reading some of his work.  It amazed me that BBC would permit such a reading.  The Screwtape Letters?  Talk about pulling the smiley mask of everything BBC is!  Perhaps they think they are – by now -impervious.  Perhaps they are right.  “How quaint!”, listeners will say, “And how very well he reads.”  I digress.

Go over to the BBC to see a remarkable page dedicated to the journeys of all the Doctors.  HERE  It is a galactic waste of time but … impressive.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. rtjl says:

    I believe the correct term is “whovians”. In any event I am one.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    Lewis died within the same day as Kennedy, as did Aldous Huxley. I can’t remember the name of the book Peter Kreeft wrote in the form of a dialogue among the three of them newly-dead… was it “Between Heaven and Hell”?

  3. Thom says:

    We’re called Whovians, Father, and the fiftieth anniversary of the show’s premiere is this Saturday, hence the hoopla.

  4. mamajen says:

    I’m a geek in almost every other way, not to mention an anglophile, and yet I just cannot get into Dr. Who.

  5. Legisperitus says:

    I have become a Whovian over the course of the past six years. This week is a good time to be one.

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Way over my head!

  7. Andkaras says:

    Legispiritus- you are correct.Between Heaven and Hell , A dialog somewhere beyond death with John F Kennedy, C.S. Lewis & Aldous Huxley. Intervarsity Press I think.

  8. Makemeaspark says:

    Whovian here also. I have been one since i first saw Tom Baker on a channel I could barely get on my television while playing with the automatic antenna on our roof. I fell in love with that ridiculous scarf!

    I also love C.S. Lewis and will try to catch some of those events also. Thanks for pointing this out Father Z.

  9. Muv says:

    Speaking as one who can remember the first ever instalment of Dr. Who, ( and police boxes and the day Kennedy was shot) I am at a loss as to why people are transfixed by such a monumental yawn.

  10. Makemeaspark says:

    Mamajen, you should check out a two part episode from Season Two, the first part is called “The Impossible Planet” and the second part is called “The Satan Pit” . It is one of my favorites, especially for its religious implications.

    This episode may appeal more to hard core science fiction fans, as it deals with a black hole.

  11. Major Whovian here. Never did get into Star Trek.

  12. dep says:

    Doctor Who is unsurpassed. Which gives one pause in hope of staying on topic: how’s about EWTN producing a series called “Father Who.” It would be particularly interesting when the fourth Father appears and has an especially large, floppy biretta and a very, very long stole. (Actually, some of the Doctor Who scripts could be readily adapted to embrace Catholic teaching, also.)

  13. persyn says:

    My paternal grandpa died on that same day (Kennedy, Lewis, Huxley). I wonder if he enjoyed listening to that conversation? :)

  14. Art says:

    Apparently, the Doctor is visiting Earth again and left his Tardis unlocked. You can have a tour of it on Google Maps here

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    The local PBS used to broadcast Dr. Who episodes on Saturday night for many years, so I have watched almost all of the Dr. Who episodes broadcast over the last fifty years (not that I have watched it for fifty years :) ) and the Tom Baker period (1974 – 1980) is the best, in my opinion, especially the Key to Time series, but the best single episode, in my opinion, goes to the farewell episode of David Tenant with the Master – The End of Time.

    As for theological themes, there are some scattered throughout the fifty years, but there has. also. been a corresponding growth in secular political correctness, with open bisexuality being mentioned (Capt. Jack) and veiled references to the Doctor having sex. Although I greatly enjoyed Karen Gillan as Amelia Pond (the first married companion), and River Song as the Doctor’s wife, I do wish they would give the producers a lecture on modesty. There was too much skin exposure for the children’s hour, at least there was for prudes, like me, but this is England, the home of Benny Hill, et al., so….

    The Chicken

  16. Liam says:

    A proud Whovian here as well, professing sola Doctor Quarta! ;-)

  17. Andy Lucy says:

    An old-school Trekkie Whovian Browncoat. Shiny!

  18. anilwang says:

    mamajen says: “I’m a geek in almost every other way, not to mention an anglophile, and yet I just cannot get into Dr. Who.”

    That might be it. Dr. Who isn’t sci-fi by any stretch of the imagination, unless you count the 3rd Doctor’s trademark “reverse the neutron flow” as being sci-fi. The most feared enemies of the universe look like salt shakers and until recently could be stopped by a flight of stairs. As far as special effects go, they rarely go beyond what you’d find on a stage performance. In some sense, that is what Dr. Who is, a stage performance with a complex plot set whenever and where-ever in space and time it needs to keep the plot moving and tell a good story, and if the stories or acting starts to get predictable, they just replace the main actor and companions and take things in a different direction. It’s one reason why the show has lasted so long, it has a built in way to reinvent itself.

    As a child, I loved the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Doctor and drifted off until the series was continued with the last 3 Doctors. The new series is quite different (though recognizably Dr. Who) but still quite fun.

    That being said, even as a child I recognized that there were some anti-Catholic elements (e.g. a few thousand years from now, the Church “gives up all pretense about being anything other than a military institution”), and those hints are stronger in the new series (e.g. see references to the “Vatican Computer”, “Headless Monks”, etc in “A Good Man Goes to War”). The Masked Chicken’s comments on secular political correctness is definitely true. It’s no surprise, given that the theology would follow more closely with that of the CoE. As the CoE decline, the theology on the show likely will as well.

    But even early on in the series, theologically, the show has always been spirituality atheistic (see the origins of the Time Lords), so unless you’re able to brush all that off the show will rub you the wrong way.

  19. jaykay says:

    Watched it from 1966, when I was five – I just about remember William Hartnell – until the end of the Baker era, then gave up, as did the series itself a few years later. When it was revived circa 2005 I watched the first few shows on a take-it-or-leave it basis, a main interest being to see whether it would be “seeded” with atheistic propaganda. Amazingly, it wasn’t! Haven’t bothered with it since about 2006, so I wonder if things have changed in the interim in that regard?

    Masked Chicken: “There was too much skin exposure for the children’s hour,”

    heh heh heh :) I, and many of my generation (male), recall the very scantily-clothed Leela (“warrior of the Sevateem”) from the first episode in 1977, who became the Doctor’s companion for that series. No doubt about it, it was a deliberate ploy to attract teenage boys. It worked!

  20. Sonshine135 says:

    Whovian here as well Father. November 23rd marks the 50th Anniversary episode- “The Day of the Doctor”. We finally get to see what happened during the time war between the old series and the new series, so it is a big deal for some of us.

    Fellow Whovians will appreciate that I am having a watch party. The snacks will include fish fingers and custard ;)

  21. Suzanne Carl says:

    My 13 year old son became a Whovian and invited me along. I agree that theologically it is iffy, but for my pre-teen it is a relatively safe avenue for discussion of secular issues. But really, the show is just fun!

  22. inara says:

    In our basement remodeling plans, we are including a hidden storeroom/emergency priest accommodation, whose entrance will look like a TARDIS-shaped bookcase standing innocently against the wall…but, of course, it will be bigger on the inside. ;o)

  23. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    My first, and for a long time only, Dr. Who was Peter Cushing (in the film versions). And dare I say, leave us not forget Rowan Atkinson as the Doctor? The long-standing un-/anti-Christianity is variously laughable and annoying. For the rest, I gave up after Colin Baker (except for ‘reruns’, dvd or otherwise), and the few 2005+ ones I’ve tried are largely vile.

    Lewis could enjoy so much variety of science fiction and fantasy he would probably have enjoyed Dr. Who as well.

    I lately read an article that noted the times of death – Lewis at 5:30 p.m., Kennedy an hour later (12:30 p.m. in Texas), Huxley nearly seven hours later (5:20 p.m. in California). I still have not caught up with Peter Kreeft’s dialogue, but, with Lewis’s Great Divorce in mind, they may all have been listening to persyn’s grandpa, instead of the other way around.

  24. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Tangentially, what a variety of enjoyable films William Hartnell made (The Mouse that Roared was the first I saw – long before I ever heard of Dr. Who – and still my favourite), And what an enjoyable Puddleglum Tom Baker is.

  25. Ben Yanke says:

    I agree, the there is some theologically iffy parts, such as the parts about the headless monks. It often has atheistic tenancies that come out sometimes. Also, you see a liberal ideology sneaking through sometimes too in a similar way.

    But if you know it’s there, and you can brush it off, go ahead! I love Doctor Who. It’s awesome sci-fi.

    And I will be going to Day of the Doctor.

  26. Ben Yanke says:

    And yes. I’m a whovian.

  27. Mr. Green says:

    Although I like the traditional Doctor Who, I’m afraid the modern updating pushed me into tardivacantism. O temporum-transitores, O mores!

  28. another Whovian and fellow Timelord here. I always loved some of the Catholic undertones found in Doctor Who, especially the President of the Timelords on planet Gallifrey who wore all white gown (similar to the Pope’s white cassock) and elected by the Cardinals. The other quaint similarity, I find, is in the TARDIS itself, i.e., the blue police box which is The Doctor’s time machine and spaceship (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space). It is like a confessional in that no matter how far in the past a sin has been committed, it can be remitted in the sacrament of Penance by going to Confession. When the penitent leaves the box, so to speak, he or she is as pristine (spiritually speaking) as the day of their baptism. Now that is a REAL regeneration, being born again of water and the Spirit. Other than that, I just like the idea of different incarnations of the same Doctor. To really stretch the analogy, it is like we priests who act IN PERSONA CHRISTI as an ALTER CHRISTUS retain our own individual personalities yet we act as Christ when celebrating a Sacrament. Hence, as a Whovian, I feel more comfortable in The Doctor’s universe than in Star Trek or Star Wars realms. But, DE GUSTIBUS NON DISPUTANDUM EST.

  29. The Masked Chicken says:

    Let’s also not forget why weapons supposed (later proven false) were never supposed to work in the TARDIS: it is because the inside if the TARDIS was in a state of, “Temporal Grace.”

    Also, there is the Papal Mainframe and clerics are now soldiers (takes the Church Militant idea a little too far into the Church Military).

    The Chicken

  30. Mr. Green says:

    Father’s mention of the cardinals reminded me: it has been posited that St. Nicholas is a Timelord. Besides his longevity, the ability to travel around the whole world in a day, appear inside people’s homes , and carry enough toys for everyone is easily explained if his sleigh is actually a TARDIS.

  31. inara says:

    Click on the Google logo today ~Whovian delights galore!! :o)

  32. Andrea Mary says:

    I enjoy the fun involved in Dr. Who (and I love the idea of different actors facing the challenge of playing the same character). I like the “possibilities are endless” atmosphere of the show.

    Naturally, I’m disappointed and aggravated by the more “PC” elements that have crept in over the years, such as bisexuality, homosexuality, etc.

    One thing I would say about Dr. Who and the church is–since this is an English/British show, wouldn’t they be referring to the ANGLICAN Church and not the Catholic Church? (Although, I suppose that a “Papal Mainframe” would have to be Catholic). I don’t want the Anglican Church criticized either, but there is a difference, I think.

    One note–the Doctor is allegedly unable to regenerate 13 times–but this is the 12th time! He’s got one more life left!

  33. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Andrea Mary,

    An interesting question! Is there any consistent ‘picture’ of the Doctor’s perception of the Church and its earthly history?

    My sense is that Dr. Who (much as I enjoy much of it, pre-2005) is in one way deeply disappointing precisely because it is about Time Lords and such wide-ranging time travel. For example, the “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” of Star Wars, and the setting of the original Battlestar Galactica (I have not tried the new one) could suggest a (fallen) human prehistory (as in Tolkien’s history of Middle-earth) where (in contrast to Tolkien) seemingly as good as no-one knows much of the truth about the creation and it future redemption. (I am not sure how the Mormon influences in Galactica fit in…) But while there are things about that which not even the angels know (St. Matthew 24:36), it seems odd that Dr. Who never seems really to know anything about any of it except in a very ‘horizontal’ historical sense – in contrast with even the merely human Ransom in Lewis’s ‘space trilogy’.

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