SELINSGROVE - Since 1963, a time-traveling humanoid alien known only as the Doctor has captured the imaginations of sci-fi fans around the world. Now, 50 years later, fans officially will gather for the first time to see "Doctor Who" travel through time and space on the big screen.
The "Doctor Who" 50th anniversary celebration, titled "The Day of the Doctor," will be broadcast worldwide on BBC One Saturday, and will come to theaters in 2D and 3D Monday evening.
While Williamsport area theaters will not be broadcasting the event, local fans will be flocking to Selinsgrove where they can watch the 90-minute episode at Digiplex Destinations, 1 Susquehanna Mall Drive.
SOURCE: BBC ONE
A poster for the “Doctor Who” 50th anniversary special shows “the Doctor” in three forms, from left: Matt Smith, John Hurt and David Tennant.
The show is famous for different actors playing various incarnations of the Doctor (who "regenerates" into a new body instead of dying) with Matt Smith playing the current role of the Eleventh Doctor. This means fans have had very different experiences in getting to know the show and its titular character ... but everyone loves him for the same reason.
"He's such an adaptable character and though the Doctor is always the same character, each new actor brings out their own interpretation and I think that is so exciting to see," said Beau Schemery, of Williamsport, who added, "I envy the people who have yet to discover the Doctor. The first time you get to see the magic that is 'Doctor Who' can never be duplicated. That's why each subsequent Doctor is so great: You get to experience the Doctor all over again for the first time."
"I remember being a little fascinated and completely charmed by the way Christopher Eccleston (as the Ninth Doctor) could go from being an intimidating, wrathful, formidable alien to, with a crack of a smile, being this lighthearted traveler just marveling at and enjoying the wonders of traveling the universe," said Antares J. Barr, of Williamsport. "That duality, I think, is a big part of what makes the Doctor as a character so deep and such a draw to fans - even while being hundreds of years old and having been through so many dangerous and terrible things, there is still a part of him that is so relatable to the fans."
Hugh Ross, of Williamsport, said, "I like the different takes the actors bring to the character and how the mythology grows over time. It's fun to see how the show has evolved and gotten better or worse over the years."
Ann Mahoney, of Williamsport, said she most looks forward to seeing characters from different Doctor eras meet one another. For example, The Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) - the character who accompanied both the Ninth and Tenth Doctors on a series of adventures - will return to the anniversary episode and meet the Eleventh Doctor for the first time.
"I'm truly excited to see Eleven (Matt Smith)'s reaction to Rose, because he knows who Rose is, but Rose has never seen this regeneration of the Doctor," Mahoney said.
Another fun treat for fans will be the meeting of the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors on screen.
"I cannot wait to see those two actors, David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor, 2005-2010) and Matt Smith, on the screen together and how their Doctors will interact," Schemery said.
"I'm really excited to see David Tennant back on screen as the Doctor," said Barr, who cites Tennant as her favorite actor in the role. "He is really just spectacular and I think the interaction between him and Matt Smith's Doctor is going to be a lot of fun."
Barr added that she looks forward to the surprises "Doctor Who" has in store for fans who want to know more about the Doctor's character and what happened to him between the appearances of the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) in 1996 and the Ninth Doctor in 2005.
"I also think (the anniversary special) is going to fill in a big bit of back story that we are missing - somewhere in The Doctor's timeline between the (1996) TV movie and the (2005 TV series) reboot, something huge happened that changed him immensely and left him basically the last of his kind. From what I can gather there's a big chance we're going to learn about that in the 50th anniversary special, which is very exciting," Barr said.
The show also will include John Hurt, who briefly appeared in an episode of "Doctor Who" as a past incarnation of the Doctor but never starred in the series.
Online discussions have entertained the idea that Hurt's version of the Doctor lived through the time period that was never captured on TV, but trailers for the special episode leave Hurt's role unclear.
In addition to the plot of the episode, local fans anticipate meeting other fans of the show for the first time.
"I know there have been times I've seen someone wear a "Doctor Who" shirt on the street and they see mine or something and it's this instant, 'Heeeey, you're cool' kind of thing. But I haven't really interacted with a whole lot of Doctor Who fans outside of my circle of friends in the past so I don't know what to expect, really," Barr said.
Ross said he thinks the experience will be "probably a bit like Rifftrax Live or a comic book convention. Just lots of goodwill and camaraderie and geekiness."
Mahoney is excited to meet other "Whovians," a term fans sometimes use to describe themselves.
"It's always exciting to meet a Whovian when you are a Whovian; so having a large number in one place will be fun," she said.
Ross said he believes the show still resonates with audiences after 50 years because its lessons are timeless.
"It has such a hopeful sense of adventure," he said. "Not dark and brooding danger and adrenaline, but adventure. It may have some of the most laughable "science" at times, but sci-fi should really be about discovery and exploration and firing the imagination. This show does that and it is accessible in a way that few sci-fi shows seem to be now."
Fans said the Doctor's humanity - despite being an alien - is what keeps fans coming back for more.
"(The show) remains relevant and appealing because of its elasticity," Schemery said. "It's constantly changing while remaining at its very core the fairy tale of a mad man with a big, blue box. It's sort of that hope that in all the vastness of everything, it's not impossible that he or someone like him is out there."
Mahoney added, "The Doctor has always been there to defend the honorable and the just, no matter their race. From the Silurians to the Ood (two alien species created in past episodes), he only wants peace in the universe. And really isn't that what we all want?"
Tickets for the Digiplex Destinations showing of "The Day of the Doctor" (available in 2-D and 3-D) can be purchased by visiting www.digiplexdest.com.