I was chatting yesterday about the notion of “adult” science fiction – specifically with reference to Doctor Who and assorted offshoots. Now, I’ve seen all of Torchwood. I’ve read all of the New Adventures. Outside of Who, I cringed through the first half of Stargate : Universe’s first season, which seemed to equate grown up with humping in cupboards to a soft rock soundtrack. And I’m not really suggesting that when creative teams claim to be going for an adult feel that they turn up the sex, swearing and casual drug taking. Not altogether, anyway. The public perception of the NAs in particular seemed to cover precisely those notions, because of a few of the earlier ones which garnered all of the bad press.
But in talking about all this last night, this came out of my head and totally surprised me. Mainly because I didn’t actually realise that was what I thought until I wrote it. But what the hell. Perhaps I’ve been a fan so long that I’m starting to care too much.
You know what makes us “adult”? It’s being able to deal with all the potential horrors of being grown up and face them squarely, no matter how it hurts. Examining yourself and your life, taking decisions, taking responsibility for your own actions while not losing sight of the wonder you felt as a child.
It’s running away from yourself for a while before stopping and thinking, “hang on – I chose this. I want this”. Knowing that you may face seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to be with the one you love, but hanging on anyway because you realised long ago that the person you’re hanging on for is so worth it, so perfect *for you*, that you’ll do it no matter what it takes.
It’s having a joyous, infectious love of life, a rambunctious appreciation of the limitless possibilities offered just by being alive, but also being aware that what you do has consequences, and the most important thing in the world is to make sure that those closest to you don’t get hurt by your actions. Living life to the full and realising that you’ll get smacked in the face once in a while, but if you have the self awareness that as long as you can go through the world trying your damndest to do your best, everything will be ok. No matter how dark things sometimes get.
Adding to “the stock of good things” of those around you. It’s recognising that sometimes you actually can’t take other people’s pain away, and just trying to be there when they need you. It’s being grown up enough to realise that dancing like a prat in public is absolutely fine when you’re with friends. It’s comforting a scared, little girl, telling stories to a lost soul in the dark because it’s the right thing to do. And that’s why, in its treatment of adult themes with an adult sensibility, Season 1 of MoffatWho takes any mickey-mouse notions of “dark and mysterious”, and “grown up”, and shines a light on them and makes them shrivel into nothing.
That’s why it’s my favourite season of Doctor Who ever. Because it *is* grown up in a way which some of this other stuff could never be. Because no matter how attractive being tormented and mysterious, taking lots of drugs and shouting about sex is when you’re sixteen… everybody has to grow up some time.