Ok, you might have to revoke my queer credentials when I confess...that I’m just now, at age 55, coming to be acquainted with—and love!—Doctor Who.
For those of you who’ve yet to watch an episode of the famous BBC programme—according to Wikipedia, “the longest-running science fiction television series in the world—I highly recommend beginning with the 2005 revival, filmed in Wales and starring the imitable (and totally sexy) Christopher Eccleston (the quiet guy in the clip above). The show centers on the adventures of a mysterious time-traveller known as "the Doctor" who travels in his TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Spacetime) ship, which appears from the exterior to be an old-fashioned British police callbox but which, like all good physics mysteries, is much larger inside than outside. With his companions, the Doctor explores space and time, solving problems and righting wrongs.
The acting in the show is painfully self-conscious, the scripts corny as hell, and the special effects so inexpensively hokey they’ll have you on the floor rolling in laughter. But it’s one of the queerest, most progressive and sweetly heartfelt shows I’ve ever watched.
A spin-off series, Torchwood—an anagram of “Doctor Who”—features “Captain Jack Harkness” (the talkative one in the clip above), a roguish, handsome, bisexual anti-hero who, from a base set up over a sort of “time rift” in Cardiff, Wales, takes care of supernatural and alien incursions and occurrences.
The man who deserves credit for the brilliance—and queerness—of both shows is none other than Russell T. Davies, who in addition to reviving Doctor Who and creating Torchwood, is famous for writing another BBC series, Queer as Folk. I’ve just started watching the British version of this show—not wanting to waste my time with the sanitized American version—and am now utterly convinced that Davies is one of the most brilliant TV script writers in history. Watch the following compilation (not safe for the workplace!) and notice the energy, the truthfulness, the sheer fearlessness of the show. The young man in the clips, btw, is supposed to be 15 years old: imagine that plot line going down in America and realize just how far behind the rest of the western world the US is falling. (And no, I'm not saying I approve of the seduction of teenagers by older men, but I am saying the show has the courage--and the BBC supported it--to deal with both the truth of what goes on in real life, and the fact that teenagers are sexual beings.)
The clip will give you an idea of Davies’ genius. Then, if possible, go out and rent or buy one (if not all) of the three series. I guarantee, after one or two episodes, you’ll be hooked.