Back then, the effects were cheesy and the companions tended to be nubile young girls in skimpy costumes, but I loved it. Going anywhere in space and time was a great conceit, and the Doctor's combination of whacky and serious was a lot of fun. He would save the universe, then offer you a Jelly Baby.
I lost touch with the show somewhere in the middle of Colin Baker's run, when I moved to an area that didn't have the love for the show I did. Once in a while, an old episode would show up on the local PBS station, but nothing I hadn't seen before.
When the show got cancelled, I hardly mourned it. I had moved on to other pursuits, was addicted to other SF universes.
I watched with great interest the one-off TV movie in the 90's, hoping it would lead to a rebirth of the franchise. It had a different flavor to it, and I found the actor playing the Doctor appealing, but it went nowhere. That was disappointing.
So I was thrilled when they brought the show back in 2005 (ye gods, has it really been back that long?). A new Doctor, a new look, and an actual effects budget! A good mix of new and old adversaries, good actors, good writing. I was again addicted. The new Doctor was haunted, lonely, but still looking for a companion to travel through space and time with, saving the universe (or just a little pocket of it) every week.
Each actor who's played the Doctor in the reboot has brought their own unique flair to the character, and I've liked them all immensely. It's funny how each time the Doctor has regenerated, the cry has gone out that he was the best Doctor ever, how can he possibly be replaced? Until the next time, when the same sentiment is exclaimed.
I was excited when they announced that Peter Capaldi would be the next Doctor. I knew of him from his other work, and of course he had already appeared on both Doctor Who and Torchwood, its spinoff. I knew he was a fan of the show from his childhood. I was glad they decided to go with an older Doctor this time; while I really like Matt Smith, the last Doctor, I was ready for someone closer to my age to play the timeless hero.
A few episodes into the new season, I'm still getting to know this Doctor. I like that he's a little grumpy sometimes, though perhaps a little too often. I really like that there's not even a hint at romance with his companion, Clara; I was getting a bit tired of every companion (except Donna, who I loved for that very reason) falling in love with the Doctor. The stories so far have been imaginative, sometimes scary and sometimes silly, and fun to watch. I'm so glad that the show is popular, and that we get to see them in the US the same day they air in the UK. We used to have to wait months before seeing new shows!
As long as the Doctor keeps flying, I'll keep watching.