Thursday, November 15, 2007

The BBC: Bitches Be Crying (part the second)


I think that the advent of BBC America has obscured something important about the transmission of British shows to these shores. I suppose that, really, the problem is wider than that: there's also the easy availability of tv-on-dvd to blame. But the point is, it didn't used to be so easy for a sister to watch the creme of BBC programming. Kids today have no idea. You can netflix as much Green Wing, Coupling, or My Family as you want -- although why the hell you would want to is beyond me -- and watch it at your leisure. Everyone (mostly everyone) has access. Time was, you could only catch British shows on PBS. Remember when PBS was like that Are You Being Served candy man, and you kept saying you wouldn't be back because you knew that shit was rotting your brain, but you kept coming back for another fix? The early version of A&E tried to get on the game in the 80s, but it wasn't the same. If you wanted to chill with The Good Life or nod along to Yes, Minister, you knew where you had to go. The Pusher Man.

PBS.

You know, it wasn't until I was an adult and had lived half a dozen places that I realized that there was more than one version of PBS? I thought it was like CNN. One channel, broadcasting the same shit, at the same time, everywhere around the country. Unbeknownst to me, some people were getting the good stuff. Like, a couple of times a year, our local affiliate would lay a couple of episodes of Red Dwarf on us and I would get hooked all over again, only to have my heart broken the next week when it wouldn't be on. Seriously -- there were some sick programming bastards at the PBS station in my region. I would sit in front of the screen, just willing something (like, weirdly, the time I was obsessed with Rising Damp) to come on, and I would feel myself getting more and more desperate as another MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour would come on and then after that, Last of the Summer Wine or some bullshit like that and eventually my parents would tell me to go to bed and I would want to get out my Lisa Frank folder and purple gel pen and write a letter to somebody. I never did, though. I just thought PBS worked that way. And man, when those interminable pledge drives would start up, I would pray that someone, anyone, would pledge enough to get Red Dwarf back on. Someone: please keep that quality programming on the air. I'm only 6 years old. I don't have any money.

So anyway, one of the things I could count on -- fairly consistently -- was Doctor Who. It came on Sundays at 11 in the morning (holla, Fergus!). Man, at 10:58 my ass was planted. It could be beautiful outside. There could be an ice cream truck, made of teddy bears and money and Now'n'Later candy out there, but I was going to be maxing and relaxing with the Doctor. Every Sunday (unless that sick bastard in programming was messing with me that month). Doctor Who, to me, is Sundays at 11 in the morning.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that a) some PBS markets didn't carry it; b) some markets carried it, but at some wack hour, like Saturdays at 2 in the morning; c) some people were getting the good shit!

Let me explain: when I was coming up, the first doctor I knew was Peter Davison. Yeah. And you know what, to this day he remains my favorite because he was my first. And also because he had Tegan, Nyssa, Adric, and Turlough as companions. I loved all of them knuckleheads. To me, Doctor Who was Sundays at 11 in the morning and it was Peter Davison.

And then, they started tossing some curly haired throwback at me. Turns out this cat was also the Doctor. In fact, he was the Doctor before "my" Doctor. I grew to love him. In time, I found out about all the rest. And before, when I said that Peter Davison was my favorite Doctor? I was lying. It's totally Jon Pertwee.

This post has gotten way out of hand, but that's what the Doctor does to me. I get all raw emotional. And children! I come here to tell you the Doctor has done it to me again! I just finished watching the first season of the revived series!

I can't even be bothered going into it here -- which is odd, given that I've wasted this much of your time already -- but let me just say that I get it now. I listened to all the jibba jabba about Eccleston's leaving the role after one series, and I honestly didn't give a crap. Because I hadn't seen, you know? But now I have. I have seen. And all I can say is, it's a good thing that I saw David Tennant first (just like Peter Davison the last time) and imprinted on him. Because if I hadn't, I would have set the place alight when the ninth doctor sacrifices himself for Rose and regenerates. I'm not kidding, people. I was that in love with the ninth doctor for all three days it took me to watch all the episodes.

Captain Jack Harkness, however, can kiss my natural black ass. Who is this guy? I didn't like ya when your name was Tom Cruise, and I don't like you now. Get off my screen! Torchwood...bah!




You'll remember that I watched the second season of Doctor Who before I watched the first and was all up in my feelings about it, too.

1 comment:

Electric Mayhem said...

This is adorable. I love the idea of you, at six years old, wanting to contribute to the pledge drive to keep Dr Who on the air. That dye was cast early, huh?

PBS for me always meant watching Degrassi after church.