Aug. 2nd, 2012

starfire11: (Default)
Watching the new Doctor Who series is always amusing. That's the nice thing about it, at the end of the day. Sure it has problems. It's not perfection personified, contrary to what some people think. Contrary to what a great many people may think.

Back when Dad still had maybe... less than a tenth of the whole series and was slowly collecting bits of the other doctors... anyway... I watched them all, because there were so full. Even now I've still seen a lot of the old series. Maybe not a big majority now, but still a lot.

Bragging isn't the point. Even if most of the current "fans" of Doctor Who couldn't appreciate Rowan Atkinson's "The Curse of Fatal Death" because they've never watched any of the original series.

So there are a lot of bad ones. Like... a lot of bad ones. Personally, I see it as an act of some god with a very odd sense of humor that the series stayed on after its rather ridiculous pilot. And then went on to be the series it was. Of course, I know very little about British television history, viewing habits, and science fiction in the visual medium in British history. Just like I don't know a lot about early science fiction beyond a few generic bits.

I also wasn't, well... alive then. Back when they didn't have colored TV or shows that were even shot in color and just shown in black and white because most people didn't have colored televisions (see the Original Star Trek, which most people saw in Black and White and was NOT colored after the fact - it was shot that way). So besides the fact that I don't have a proper respect for the technical issues involved. Nor do I have proper respect for storytelling from back then.

It's not like I'm only mean to old television and books, though. I'm plenty mean to stuff I grew up with. Stuff that's new, too. The times they are a changin'. And perception changes and what you like changes and what you know and so on. Much as I'd love to go back and read so many of these books I have I'm very afraid that I'll just... hate them or something. I don't see it as a bad thing that my taste in literature is improving. In fact, it means I'm less likely to waste money and fill up space.

So anyway. There were a lot of bad episodes. A whole lot. They were also creating a series, so honestly, they deserve some slack.

But there were still a lot of bad episodes. I didn't like any of the first doctor. I enjoyed learning the backstories behind things. The Daleks, for one thing. The companions, too. But the first doctor also featured in the episode with the recorded worst sets and costumes ever episode. Stories were teeth-grinding painful. Scripts were sexist, cliche, nonsensical, and, well... many, many things. And the first doctor is no dramatic action hero, like Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith. He was an old man feeling his years. They had one of his assistants act as the Heroic Male back then. They kept up the tradition for the second doctor, too. The idea seemed to have phased out by Pertwee's (the third doctor) time.

The second doctor was interesting for introducing the Cybermen (I'm pretty sure that's where we first met them, anyway). And he was an interesting, humorous, more active character than his predecessor. But the series still had the melodrama and silliness of the first doctor in many instances. I can't recall any favorites among this series, either.

The third doctor, Pertwee, was the first doctor I genuinely liked. He had a snark and just... he might have been one of the first characters I liked for his personality (or the personality he brought to the character, anyway). He still had some cheese, though. And the car was just... weird.

Tom Baker was a big improvement. He was hilarious and just... when you saw him you smiled. When you saw Pertwee the corners of your mouth would perk up just a little, but when you saw Tom Baker... you couldn't look at the man without grinning. He'd either be wearing that giant scarf of his (I want one like that SO much, even if it's probably bigger than I am), or he'd be this giant mountain of a man cutting a figure in some sort of British lord/pirate get-up that just drove you crazy. He continued Pertwee's trend with startling other characters in the show through dialogue and just, well... he was amazing. The stories still had some of the cheese, but I genuinely enjoyed most of the Tom Baker episodes I watched. I've rewatched the Key of Time series a number of times, and quite a few others of his. It wasn't perfect, but it was good.

Peter Davison was also quite good. He was cute (when he didn't have his lips open to smile anyway - the man had terrible teeth back then). Although he didn't seem to have Tom Baker's level of energy at times (which was odd, considering that I always pictured him as the youngest - I've never really looked at their ages for comparison). But he had a number of weird moments, and that melodrama so characteristic of the series never quite left. The Five Doctors was a great story, though. I loved it so much when I was little. It's improved now that I know most of the characters in the story, as well as the references, and what it means to have them all together. Unfortunately it hasn't ENTIRELY withstood the test of time for me.

Doctor 6 was interesting and a slight improvement in story-telling over the others... but I always thought of him as a little over-arrogant in comparison to the others. I never really liked him.

Doctor 7 was amusing. A kick-back to the older gentlemen who'd played the doctor before. His adventures were always interesting to watch, even with the cheese.

Doctor 8 had potential, and I'm very sad that they didn't do more with it. Yes, it sucked a lot. But it had potential! The BBC has been behind Hollywood for years in the effects category. This would have been Doctor Who with Hollywood-level effects, rather than BBC effects... which were, well... one of the far more interesting aspects of that pilot with Eccleston. I remember seeing the building on fire and staring in shock, then saying "Dad... that looks like Hollywood might have made it! Well... ten years ago or so, anyway, but still!" I need to look into the audiodramas they made with him. Those should be interesting.

And so we have it.

The problem with the old series is that, outside of the specials and Tom Baker's episodes... and MAYBE some of the Pertwee episodes, plus some of the audiodramas, I wouldn't rewatch any of them. That's a LOT of television. A single "episode" arc could span weeks of television. They could be as long as a movie, all put together. Admittedly, not much occurred in an average episode. Seven doctors, specials, and a movie... and that's all I'd watch.

But in six seasons of television, with only three doctors, plus a couple of specials, I would (and have) rewatch probably 98% of the show. There are very few episodes I don't like. For the David Tennant and Matt Smith years it's usually good enough to be, well... David Tennant and Matt Smith, if nothing else. For Eccleston there were just a lot of good stories.

But that's what I love about the new series. I judge something higher by how much more likely I am to rewatch/read it. The fact that I love watching this series over and over means something.

It's just fun to watch Matt Smith and David Tennant act. Seriously. I am REALLY interested in where Smith is going after Doctor Who (I'm pretty sure Tennant is doing something... but I have no idea - I don't think he'd have to do more if he didn't want to).

Anyway. It's late and I'm writing this for no reason. Ta.


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