You ever have one of those moments where you see yourself in total clarity? Where for a brief instant you have a truly focused and naked understanding of what you are in this crazy life? A “fall-awake” moment?
Well, I had one of those today. The message was: “YOU are a total geek.”
All of this talk on the Tower site about toys got me to look around for the new merchandise regarding one of my favorite pass-times: namely Doctor Who. And I have to admit — trust taxi — that I love the 5″ Doctor Who action figure line from Character Options. Or, let’s be completely honest here … the 5″ Doctor Who doll line. (I said it and I’m cool with it! Nothing wrong with a 40-year-old playing Doctor Who with dolls and his cats … what?)
Back when I was a kid, and really into Star Wars action figures (man dolls), I used to wish there was a cool toy line for my favorite TV show: Doctor Who. Well, ever since the 2005 TV re-launch, Doctor Who has been huge in the UK and a year later a really spectacular toy line was launched. It initially focused on the new show, but within a few years a “classic series” line was produced. These figures are gorgeous, and I was over the moon, like a kid again. Now there have been 11 different incarnations of the Doctor himself, and I decided at some point it would be cool to have all 11 figures standing together on my bookshelf. Because, you know, girls really find that attractive.
So I started my journey slowly, first getting the David Tennent 10th Doctor and working my way back as they were produced and released. It started as a fun hobby, but somewhere along the way things got weird … I somehow turned into a “collector” and bought way more than I should have. Also, I found I really loved the packaging, so I screwed up extra huge and started buying more than one … one to open, one to keep mint on the card. I couldn’t help it, it was addictive … sigh …. as Admiral Ackbar has said: “It’s a TRAP!”
Anyway, things were going all good and well until it was announced last year that a massive “11 Doctors Gift Set” was being released. It completely pissed me off, because A) I had spent so much time and money collecting everything up to that point which made all that effort now redundant and sad, and 2) this was apparently going to be the ONLY way to get the 8th Doctor action figure (doll).
For those who don’t know — most of you reading this I would assume — the 8th incarnation of the Doctor took place in a 1996 made-for-TV movie starring Paul McGann. Doctor Who had been off the air since 1989, and the BBC thought it was a tired old property, so this new TV movie was a joint effort between the BCC and American FOX TV to try and relaunch the brand for both sides of the Atlantic. It was hoped a new series would be coming … but the movie kind of … well … bombed in the US. In Britain it had amazing viewing figures, but nobody (except me and a few others) watched it in America, and FOX pulled out along with all its money.
Personally as a Doctor Who fan I like it, especially the TARDIS which looked amazing, and Paul McGann as the Doctor came off really well. But there are tons of problems too. The story was all wrong in terms of being an effective TV pilot — too continuity heavy and confusing, as well as a host of other issues too complicated to get into here. It’s now cited as an example of how NOT to bring back a TV show from the dead!
So in essence the 8th Doctor had a one-night-only showing, and Paul McGann in effect became the George Lazenby of Doctor Who. But it counts, he’s still canon! Whenever the new BBC TV series has a flashback sequence of past Doctors the 8th Doctor is always included.
So it wasn’t all bad news … Paul McGann did actually get to further perform and develop the 8th Doctor in a great series of radio drama that was produced for the BBC’s digital radio service and Big Finish audio production. And it was through those radio shows that I really came to not only accept but LOVE the 8th Doctor. For many years he was my Doctor … so you know I needed the action figure (doll)! So I got the big ol’ box set of Doctors just so I could get my very own Doctor #8. My dream was finally reality — all 11 standing on the bookshelf.
But the completionist in me was going nuts. After all, I had collected the other 10 Doctors in separate mint packaging, and there was no single release of the 8th Doctor figure coming. As it happened last year I had some vacation days to use and had no plans to go anywhere. I’m pretty decent at photoshop, so I did a fun little art project and made a “custom” package for my little 8th Doctor figure. I have to admit, I thought it looked good! My inner fan-boy was smiling, especially when it was put alongside the other 10 carded Doctors (again, because girls find this behavior sooo hot!) Anyway, since action figure customizing is a big hobby in Doctor Who circles, I took a few pictures of my custom-made 8th Doctor packaging and showed it off on a few Doctor Who online forums — but ALWAYS in the custom toy sections! I really can’t stress that enough: I never once claimed this to be real merchandise. It was always listed in clearly marked areas where fans share examples of custom toy design they do for fun.
This was all last year …. and then today I stumbled on this clip from youtube:
Yes, that is MY hand, holding MY custom-made packaging, held up against MY red backyard fence.
… ummm …
Now the first thought that went through my head was: “Oh crap … somebody thinks it’s real…” The second thought that went through my head was: “Oh wow! Somebody thinks it’s real!”
Apparently my photo has been passed around in a few circles as proof that there IS a single-carded 8th Doctor Action figure being released from Character Options. It’s interesting reading the comments on the youtube page … some people think it’s real no matter what, other people are citing the fan-forums where I originally posted it as a custom. Either way, the response to it has been really kinda sweet … it’s like the nerd world is telling me that I did a good job on my summer art project, and they’re going to hang it up on the internet-fridge for all to see.
Oh well, everyone needs a hobby. And now I’m infamous!!
(By the way, if you’re interested the 1996 TV movie featuring the 8th doctor, it has finally been released on DVD in North America just this month … it was held up for years due to rights issues… find it here).