Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The First Doctor Part 2

If only Garfield was this.

I'm going through classic Doctor Who Doctor by Doctor highlighting some of the important things.

The Romans

I remember enjoying this one, but present it mostly for varieties sake.  The Romans is another pure historical, but this time the show uses a historical setting as a backdrop for comedic farce instead of serious violent history type things.  The TARDIS grants The Doctor not only the ability to travel anywhere in time or space, but frees The Doctor from fixed genre constraints.  I don’t really watch shows about sex/murder detectives in Miami, but I have a pretty good idea what those kind of shows are all about (solving sex/murder cases in the Greater Miami area.)  Doctor Who on the other hand can be a comedy, action, horror, or whatever else is wants to be.

In this serial it kind-of-sort-of seems like Barbara and Ian are maybe kind of into each other (if you know what I mean.)  It would be only natural for two people from a similar background, forced into life or death situations miles and years from home to fall in love.  And maybe they did, but the issue is never addressed directly or really at all.  I’m all for keeping Doctor Who family friendly, but it was weirder not to talk about.  We’ll get into it more later, but the original series maintained this creepily asexual tone throughout the rest of its 25 year run, at times crossing into dude-that-doesn’t-jackoff-or-use-contractions-when-speaking territory.
Nero is burning Rome, and hilarity ensues

The Web Planet

Speaking of variety, this serial is about as weird as the show ever got.  I didn’t like it that much, but it’s certainly worth mentioning.
Yup, pretty much

The Time Meddler

Remember those beer commercials where two guys would be at a bar arguing whether to watch C-Span or Kung-Fu movies?  Well the joke was that they’d resolve the conflict by hitting the TV with a beer and watching “both,” so like there’d be congressmen karate chopping each other’s heads off and gauging eyes to the delight of all bar the patrons.  The Time Meddler did that for Doctor Who.  It was the first historical with sci-fi elements, which would become the show’s bread and butter over the next fifty years.  The titular Time Meddler is also the second Time Lord in the show’s history after The Doctor.  Thus begins the canon of the Whoniverse.
Other entries include sumo high-diving & fish baseball

The War Machines

Remember how I said that The Doctor was kind of a borderline malevolent asshole when the show started?  Well they’d softened him up throughout the first few seasons, adding things like humour (British misspelling) and empathy to his character.  By this point Ian And Barbara were gone and The Doctor was firmly the main character of his own show.  War Machines was the next big step, the first time the Doctor fought the bad guys just because it was the right thing to do.  From War Machines onward The Doctor is a hero.  I think it’s cool Doctor Who had an organic transition from crotchety, cowardly, selfish old man to hero and not some hero-cycle rubbed in the ground bullshit.  The Doctor’s new role also provided new motivation for the TARDIS crew to stick around once they landed rather than getting captured over and over again.
" the War Machine Keeps turning. Death and Hatred to mankind poisoning their brainwashed minds..."
The Tenth Planet

I’ve never seen this one, and neither has anyone else in a long long time.  Apparently back in the 1970’s VHS tapes were pretty expensive, so the BBC took old tapes of Doctor Who and recorded over them.  For those that grew up in the VHS era: imagine your mom taped over part of your copy of Ghostbusters with LA Law, only the copy she taped over was the master tape so the beginning of Ghostbusters is gone forever and instead we have Jimmy Smits pretending to be a lawyer on every copy in existence.
Of course some things could probably just get taped over.

The Tenth Planet was also the first Cybermen story and the first regeneration story.  When I started watching the classic series in order I was in a hurry to get through the First Doctor, and get to the colour version of the show I remember watching as a kid, but I ended up missing the First Doctor much more than I originally anticipated.

We'll get into it more with the second Doctor and episodes I've actually seen, but the Cybermen used to be creepy as fuck.

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