I have been watching Doctor Who while working on Siggraph projects.
When I was growing up, Doctor Who played on PBS later in the evenings. I tried watching it a couple of times, but I’m afraid that the complete dorkiness of the sets, fx, and action (this is post Star Trek and Star Wars) that I simply couldn’t stomach it. So I never got into it.
The new series, and especially David Tennant sucked me into the universe. Now of course, we’re all going through withdrawal with only a handful of specials being created this year and Tennant leaving.
These days, story is a bit more important to me than effects. I recognize now that classic Doctor Who was filmed on essentially public television budget in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
But I find the treatment of female characters irritating. So far, I’m on the second season. Susan, though shown as very intelligent during the first couple of episodes, is reduced to Apparently, the actress who played Susan, the Doctor’s granddaughter (Interesting. What happened to her eventually?) was also irritated because her teenage character never developed, and asked to leave. Good for her!
Golden Age SF is also very difficult to read for similar reasons, at least for female readers. (I assume other girls have the same difficulty as me.) I can definitely see why for so long this was a man’s genre. I love Isaac Asimov. Interesting that as a child reading it, I didn’t pick up on how shallow and powerless many of the female characters were. But then, as a child I was not fully developed myself and still quite dependent. A reread as an adult proved disappointing on those levels to me. Lots of old science fiction these days do not age well because not only female but also male characters were not well written. It was the idea that was important, and the characters were merely vessels to serve that idea to us.
Glad to be living now, with the likes of Sarah Connor, Zoe (or any Joss Whedon girl), Samantha Carter, etc. And nice that the new Doctor Who has some great girls too. Even the irritating Donna turns out to be strong and as brilliant as the doctor says she is.