You know what one of the greatest pleasures of fatherhood is? Being able to totally geek-out watching kids’ TV programmes from my youth.
It all started when I introduced my eldest daughter, Helen, to Doctor Who. It’s been a real joy to enjoy these stories of good versus evil.
I watched the original series as a kid, although I was more of a casual observer than a hardcore follower. Even so, when it was revived and came back to the small screen in March 2005, I clearly remember excitedly sitting down to watch it.
Although I watched that first episode, life got in the way and I never seriously got into it. Having kids of my own has given me an excuse to put that right and this time I’ve fallen just a little bit in love with Doctor Who.
When Jody Whittaker became The Doctor it seemed fitting to watch a few episodes with Helen. There aren’t, after all, that many, female superheroes, or should I say Time Lords, for girls to look up to.
Helen loved it. Before too long it became a family affair. Mrs Adams and I would sit down with Helen to watch episodes (usually without Izzy as the episodes are a bit scary for a six year old). I think we’ve seen most of the episodes of the revived Doctor Who and admired how Matt Smith, David Tenant, Peter Capaldi, Christopher Ecclestone and Jodie Whitaker have each brought something new to the role.
As a family we’ve been outraged by the Daleks, baffled by the Ood and developed a deep dislike of The Master. It feels odd to admit this, but I have become a bit of a Whovian.
We have also watched some earlier Doctor Who episodes. The sixties was definitely a golden era. In fact, the 1965 Doctor Who film Dr Who and the Daleks, staring Peter Cushing as the man himself, is well worth watching. As the film shows, the Daleks originally gassed their opponents instead of shooting them with lasers. I bet you weren’t aware of that were you?
Too geeky? Okay, I’ll move on. . .
The less said about the later episodes in the 1980s, the better. Quite why female baddies had to wear towering heels and ridiculously short, tight, skirts I’ll never know.
It doesn’t stop there. With no new episodes of Dr Who broadcast in 2019 and realising Helen was developing an interest in sci-fi, I recently had a punt and introduced her to Star Trek. Yes, the original Star Trek series with its shonky camera work, laughable special effects and sometimes dreadful acting.
She has previously been very dismissive of old TV shows so this was a gamble. I thought she would object to it.
Far from dismissing Star Trek, she embraced it. She loves the storylines and she’s a big fan of Spock.
Watching it again as an adult is intriguing. Yes, I’ve become a bit of a trekkie and I’m picking up on all sorts of details I missed when as a kid. I had never appreciated Captain Kirk was such a tempestuous character. I also totally missed the sexual tension between Kirk and Yeoman Rand (That said, Rand did only last a short while). Spock is also a much more prominent character than I realised and Scotty gets away with all manner of jolly japes.
Of course Star Trek isn’t entirely controversy-free. I have had conversations with Helen about the fact there are few senior, female officers aboard the SS Enterprise. I’ve also had to have a chat about the uniform the female charatcers wore. There is, after all, no reason to go fighting aliens in short, tight mini dresses.
Feeling a little uncomfortable about this, I introduced her to Star Trek The Next Generation. Alas, I quickly realised that, even though it was filmed 20 years later, feminism hadn’t quite reached the Enterprise D. The storylines were also a bit weak and the acting and production a little bit too slick and so we’ve reverted back to watching the original series.
That said, we’re all looking forward to watching the latest series, Strak Trek: Picard, when it is released next year. Oh, yeah, and there’s a new series of Doctor Who in the pipeline in 2020 as well. Just too much geekery to look forward too!