As we near the end of our course on Doctor Who, I have started to think more and more about the longevity of the show. My thought process on this matter is, “How has Doctor Who survived this long? And what is it going to take for the show to last another 20-50 years?”
When I look at the show, Doctor Who, I see the one characteristic that has allowed humans, or any species for that matter, to survive. Adaptability. Change is something that every entity will inevitably go through in order to continue to thrive in a world where the stagnant always die out. While true that Doctor Who has maintained its basic identity since the show’s inception in the 1960’s, the producers have continued to emphasize the qualities that allow the show to adapt. The obvious quality is the regeneration. I think most can agree that regeneration is the single most important key to the show’s survival. I would also throw in the variability with the companions and villains into this idea.
The ability to change all the major components of the show is very unique to Doctor Who and creates a culture of favorites within the show. Listening to fans of the show talk, it is very common to hear someone say, “Oh, so-and-so is my favorite Doctor” or, “So-and-so is my favorite companion.” This type of culture is great for promoting discussion and debate over the show, but I think it also leads to heartbreak for the fans.
Obviously, there will always be fans invariably dedicated to the show, but I feel that as the show continues, more and more people will have favorite companions and Doctors that will be buried in the past. As this phenomenon continues, the show may decline in viewership. After I watched the last David Tennant episode (he is my favorite Doctor that I’ve watched), I remember feeling like I wouldn’t want to continue on with another Doctor since I felt there must certainly be drop off. That feeling made me wonder if other viewers experience the same feeling, and if they do, I can see a decline starting when everyone’s favorites are suddenly gone from existence within the show.
I realize one could spin this argument in favor of the show continuing, but you never know. All we can do is wait and see if Doctor Who can continue to adapt and please its fan base.