Doctor Who might never go down in the annals of science fiction as a character who's as popular as Luke Skywalker or Mr. Spock. At least, not among American audiences.
But he does have a strong following. And unlike his counterparts from Star Wars and Star Trek, it's been a half-century in the making.
The legenedary Doctor Who - the time-traveling title character of the BBC television program who's taken on different forms over the years because he regenerates after he dies - was celebrated Saturday in a series of trivia contests in 20 cities around the country.
In Colorado Springs, about 40 "Whovians", including a few wearing flowing, colorful scarfs like the fourth doctor and one wearing a natty tweed jacket like the 11th and most recent doctor, took part in one of the events at Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. downtown.
The contests, staged by Denver-based Geeks Who Drink, a company that runs quiz events in restaurants and bars nationwide, marked the upcoming 50th anniversary of the premiere of Doctor Who. Next Saturday, an anniversary special titled "Day of the Doctor" airs on BBC.
Doctor Who, which has come and gone from the BBC airwaves during the 50 years, showcases the "time lord" as he encounters adventures, takes on different companions and battles Daleks and other enemies - traveling through time in a British police box that looks more like an old-styled phone booth.
Jon Severson said Doctor Who is a better written, more intellectual program than anything he's seen on American TV. Severson, who runs five organizations in the state for young professionals, is 39 and first started watching Doctor Who when he was six.
"There's a moral quandary in every episode that's very real," Severson said. "It not just sci-fi-ish."
Michael Wolbrink described himself and his wife, Eva Bordeaux, as only moderate fans, having started watching in the last four to five years. Yet, they said they enjoy the sci-fi aspect of the popular show.
"The different situations he gets himself in make you think," Wolbrink said.
Bordeaux said she likes the fantasy element - a time traveler who's looking out for the planet.
"Being able to go back and see aspects in history that we never really ever get to see, but at the same time, it's exciting to think that possibly exists," she said.
For Max Kraemer, wearing a Doctor Who scarf and a fez hat, the show is "kind of like Star Trek meets Harry Potter. There's a lot of witty humor and stuff in it, British humor."
Kraemer has always liked Star Wars and Star Trek, and remembers seeing Doctor Who reruns on PBS when he was a kid - "cheesy programs with bad-looking aliens," he said. He forgot about the show, but only caught up on the more recent Doctor Who programs in the last three to four years.
That didn't matter much. Kraemer and friends Sally Davis and Ed Yapit, won Saturday's trivia contest and took home a cool $100.
Justin Carmical, one of the quiz masters for Geeks Who Drink, pulled double duty Saturday. He called out the questions, but did so as a fan of Doctor Who since 1977.
"I really like the stories, and I like how the doctor solves them, usually with his brain," Carmical said. "He's a smart guy. Yes, some times a little bit of force is needed. But most of the time, he uses his intellect. There's a lot of friendship and a lot of hope and a lot of wanting to do good. Those are things I always look for in a show. And the good guys win. That's something that's very important to me, liking something as a TV show. That the good guys win."
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