Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2nd Doctor Part I

The Doctor playing the recorder?  One more reason to watch the classic series

The Second Doctor was hit the hardest by the BBC’s tape wiping policy.  Not a single serial from his first season survives in its entirety, and the two serials from the second season we have were only completed in 1991 and 2013.  It’s a shame too because Patrick Troughton, who played the Second Doctor, is arguably the best actor to ever take on the role

The Highlanders

The Second Doctor’s Second serial, like the preceding serial The Power of the Daleks is completely gone.  The Highlanders has the distinction of being the last “pure historical” until the 1980’s, but no one’s seen it in about 50 years, so moving right along…

'There can only be one."

 The Macra Terror

Remember those giant crab things from the Tenth Doctor episode Gridlock?  Well you probably forgot, but they were called Macra.  They’re from this serial which has been completely wiped.  I wouldn’t have brought it up, but I said I’d tie all this to the new series, so…That’s all I got.
Crab People...Crab People

The Tomb of the Cybermen

The Doctor & Co. come across some swarthy Logicians leading some “Americans” to the titular Tombs of the Cybermen.  I’ve heard British Subjects make fun of Dick Van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins, but now I’ve got a basis for comparison.  Robert Pattinson’s phony bologna accent from Twilight sounds like John Wayne compared to the “Americans” in Tombs of the Cybermen.  In this serial the Cybermen are pretty fucking unsettling.  After this serial, on into the new series, The Cybermen just become robots that used to be people.  In Tombs of the Cybermen they are still creepy emotionless almost-people, with weird voices; more uncanny valley than killer robots.  I’m talking prosthetic chin in Looper or Duracell plastic people weird.

This serial is also noteworthy because Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) reportedly called Steven Moffatt (the current showrunner) in the middle of the night, after watching Patrick Troughton’s performance in this.  The Eleventh Doctor more than any other was the spiritual successor to the Second Doctor (anarchic and silly, with a very cold edge.)  If you like Matt Smith you should definitely give this one a gander.  As you may have guessed, based on the title, the 12th Doctor Serial Dark Water borrows imagery from this serial (with the Cybermen in tombs and all.)

The Enemy of the World

In this one Patrick Troughton plays both the 2nd Doctor and Salamander, a tyrant bent on global domination, who just so happens to be a perfect non-genetic twin of the 2nd Doctor. Lame trope aside, Patrick Troughton really shows off his acting chops in this one, making The Doctor, Salamander, and the Doctor pretending to be Salamander into three distinct nuanced characters.  I don’t think there’s a word like “ageist” for being prejudiced towards believing that television is better now than it’s ever been, but if there is I definitely have it.  While you can find faults which may not be present in a contemporary series like Mad Men, the script it pretty fucking good; thought provoking and well paced. 
Starring Patrick Troughton & Patrick Troughton with his hair parted differently

The Web of Fear

This marks the second appearance of The Great Intelligence, which you may recall from the new series’ The Snowmen, The Bells of St. John, or The Name of the Doctor.  The Great Intelligence had appeared previously in The Abominable Snowmen, but that serial has been almost completely wiped so there’s not much to say about that.  The Web of Fear features Robot Yeti and future major character Brigadier (Colonel) Leftbridge-Stewart. 

To this day the Doctor and Company frequently wander into situations where people are trapped and under attack; sometimes it’s a in spaceship, sometimes it’s in a castle, other times it’s in a really big spaceship, you get the idea. The base under siege is a well worn trope of Doctor Who, especially in the Second Doctor era.  The Web of Fear is one of the best base under siege stories in an era packed to the gills with cybermen and other monsters trapping people in things. So it’s worth checking out.
If Milwaukee's Best is "The Beast"  Milwaukee's Best Ice is "The Yeti," it's also "The Worst"

More 2nd Doctor next week.

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