Yesterday I heard about the deaths of two people who shaped my limited experiences for the better as child. This may sound clichéd, but it’s completely true. The first was comedic actor Leslie Nielsen; the second was Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner.
My first encounter with Leslie Nielsen was with Airplane! and The Naked Gun movies. The Naked Gun had its roots in the Police Squad! series which had only lasted six episodes. I remember watching those movies, along with Chuck Norris and Cynthia Rothrock videos with my dad. It was truly one of the best bonding experiences a young boy and his father could have outside of fishing and I was always a little apprehensive of taking catfish off of the hook in fear of getting my hands cut by the whiskers. Neilsen’s performances were slapstick mixed with subversive lines that were delivered like an expert magician, with misdirection. Even though the comedies he was in by today’s standards are innocent, I felt at the time like I was in on the adult humor and was member of a club whose only members were me, my dad, and no one else.
After a Friday night bachelor party that consisted of strip clubs, tattoos, and the longest walk on one of Atlanta’s most dangerous streets at 3 in the morning, I knew the next day would be for physical recovery. Luckily, I’m a planner. I had decided that Saturday would be dedicated to finally finishing what was left of Doctor Who. What was left was the David Tennant specials and even though I had been watching them out of order, I had held “The End of Time, Parts 1 & 2″ to watch last. I knew that this would be Tennant’s last episode and Matt Smith’s debut, my first Doctor.
My true, in depth introduction started with Season 5 at the behest of my friend Jason, and too my dismay I enjoyed it and was quickly hooked. I had been resistant years earlier after seeing pieces of an episode that aired on SyFy, then SciFi, that featured the 10th Doctor and some cheap-looking alien. At the time, Doctor Who preceded Battlestar Galactica, which I was adamant about. BSG was serious, had great looking dog-fights in space, and it was filmed documentary style. Documentary style, I mean “rapid zoom”, it could have only been more serious if Ken Burns had directed it. I didn’t have time for humor and terrible costumes in my science fiction. I wanted “realism.”