A.O. first hit the blogosphere in the summer of 2007 as a general-purpose blog containing meditations on “life, law, and games.” Back then it had four regular contributers, stalwart writers in the swirling blogosphere storm. We wrote videogame and movie reviews, gave updates on recent appellate law cases, military justice courts-martial and military appeals, and dropped pop-culture and news updates. Phew! What a scope! A.O. then was four attorneys and an archaeologist: a dream team of bright minds, but too little time and too little focus to make this work. Something had to give! (I’ve left the old posts up for posterity’s sake–you can see the schizophrenia if you troll through our backposts. Not that we won’t have the odd posts here: but it won’t be the status quo any longer.)
And so, three and a half years later, in early 2011, we stepped back into the ring with one prime directive: to bring you reviews of the wonderful television show Doctor Who. We’re watching Who from the very beginning: from Unearthly Child up through the series I grew up with–the Third through Fifth Doctors–and straight through the inimitable Matt Smith, Eleven. This isn’t novel: indeed, many have recently fallen to the same urge–it’s an epidemic, I tell you! Among those infected recently: Robert Shearman and comedian Toby Hadoke are watching chronologicaly and publishing books decade-by-decade of their progress. (See Running Through Corridors Vol 1: the 60s.) And Tachyon TV is doing the same in his blog “Adventures with the Wife in Space.” Others are not necessarily embarking on the chronological holistic quest, but have also influenced me by their erudite and incisive commentary: The Edwardian Adventurer; Confessions of a Neo-Whovian; the wonderful Ood Cast, with their hilarious musical numbers and inventive Who banter; and the absolutely brilliant but now-defunct Behind the Sofa (at least one of whose brilliant authors, Stuart Ian Burns, still blogs on Who at Feeling Listless). I hope to cross-link to any or all of these on a regular basis. Check them out!
(I’m sure I’ve missed many, and there are so many who love this show in a very different way than, say, all the Trekkies out there–Who is, or has been, a very different beast. If you don’t know that, you’ll find that out after watching just a few episodes of the show–pick a decade, any decade!)
My first memories of the show date to, yes, hiding behind the couch when I was five or six years old, watching the Fourth Doctor and Leela driven to “walk the plank” by some barbarian tribe, and nearly falling into a pit filled with flesh-eating worms. By 1979, I was hooked, first truly paying attention as Tom Baker’s famous scarf and uniform turned a somber and less-multicolored burgundy. I wondered why. And I adored that Sarah Jane and Romana II, as well as K-9. I just couldn’t understand who this mummy-like very white “Watcher” was, but I knew that despite the Fourth Doctor’s long fall, “the moment had been prepared for.”
But this all new, self-doubting man in cricket clothes! My hero had been taken over by an imposter. Whom I came to adore. And soon, I was begging my mom to sew question marks onto my shirt and find me a cricket sweater. (Though now I doubt JNT’s choices, back then I was thrilled.) Suffice it to say, my first encounters with the Doctor, my realization of the breadth and depth of the wonderful writers, all catapulted me, the bookish and well-read kid, into the arms of British sci-fi serials. And, after disappointment at the hiatus and cancellation in the mid-’80s, come 2005, a childhood love was rekindled. And my children, too, fell prey to the very same charms, so adroitly handled by RTD and now Steven Moffat.
A little background about this A.O. thing:
The Armillary Sphere, as defined by Wikipedia, was an instrument of astronomy developed by the Greeks to make sense of the movement of the stars in the heavens. An A.S. consists of concentric circles surrounding a center point, often the earth or the sun.
It’s pure humanity trying to make sense of the world which, of course, typically errs horribly (witness, the earth at the center of all things!). But, life being “nasty, brutish, and short,” as Hobbes says, there’s no harm in trying. It’s tilting at windmills to make sense of and call “continuous” a TV series that’s been on since 1963 and has had at my count about 86 different writers and over 771 different episodes, but it’s very, very human to try.
And now, A.O. is two:
H Lime : inscrutable, disputatious lawyer-type living in the city the good Doctor first visited in “The Impossible Astronaut.” And yes, I still love videogames, books, and my iPad.
Mithradates: 30-something archaeologist and wannabe college professor, also on the east coast. Native of the Great Plains, citizen of the cosmos.