There is this thing out there called "summer television." Every year, broadcast networks treat their audiences to burn-offs of shows that failed be they good or bad (see Pushing Daisies, which was certainly the former) and billions and billions of hours of reality television. Seriously, the amount of reality television networks throw out there during the summer is staggering, simply staggering. And, whomever came up with this genius plan of having two hours one day for a performance show and thirty minutes or an hour the next day for a filler-laced results show ought to either be promoted or blindfolded and given his final cigarette; I can't decide which, but I know one of those two is the right choice.
I watch my fair share of reality TV, and I watch my fair share of summer burn-offs (though I did refuse to restart Kings), but for the past two summers I've become ever more obsessed with one thing and one thing only – the Who-niverse, and mainly in the form of the pappa program, the inimitable Doctor Who.
This summer, of course, is a great summer for all Who fans, what with Torchwood: Children of Earth airing right now on BBC America (read my review); one Doctor Who special, The Next Doctor, having aired already (my thoughts); and another one, Planet of the Dead, coming this Sunday (the review is written, but you're just going to have to wait a few days to read it). But, my obsession extends beyond the new, it goes into the old as well. I'm digging through wikis, I'm googling old episodes, I'm figuring out the difference between Dalek factions, and I'm watching every episode that my TiVo can grab (and with the new series currently airing repeats on PBS stations, BBC America, and SyFy, that's a lot of episodes).
I am still though quite dissatisfied, there's too much out there – the once and future show has aired for decades, they've gone through ten Time Lords. Sure, Paul McGann only starred as the Eighth Doctor in the one backdoor TV pilot that never launched a new series, but his doctor has appeared in radio plays – with McGann – as well as books and comics. And, let's not forget that it seems as though the Eighth Doctor was the one who participated in the Time War, that's huge. How do you not want to know more about that (and, when will there be more to learn?)
Then there's the issue of canonicity which I can't even begin to touch. Does the McGann movie count (the new series would have us believe so)? Do the books in general count? Radio? Internet? Comics? There are dozens of guides to the series out there, at least one of them is multi-volume, but I'm not convinced that puts an end to all the questions nor that they will give all the answers (even if one could spend the time to read them all)
Actually, I think that the copious amounts of material that exist in the Who-niverse are exactly what make it such great summer fun. If I can spend three months every year learning about the previous adventures of the Doctor and his companions then eventually I'll be able to catch-up… you know, in something like 30 years. What I really need (do you hear me, BBC?) is a complete set of all the Doctor Who episodes from the original series on DVD. I don't think that they're all available on DVD yet, and I shudder to think what the price would be on a complete set of the Doctor's adventures, but my goodness, imagine the fun that could be. That by itself could take me five or six summers to get through. They'd be great summers, and I'd be bleary-eyed and more than a little pale by the end of the them, but they'd still be great.
What say you, BBC – can we get an über-complete Doctor Who DVD set? Comic-Con is this week, surely now is the right time to announce it.