Thursday, September 06, 2007

Doctor, Doctor

I moved around quite a bit as a kid, so not much stayed constant through my childhood. Different schools, different neighborhoods, different shows on TV. But no matter where we've lived, my dad has always managed to find some channel airing a variety of British television series. I can't begin to count how many night's I stayed up late in the living room, watching episodes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" or "Mystery!" or "Are You Being Served?" or "Benny Hill" and not getting a whole lot out of them. As I've grown older, I've latched onto some of these shows; I love anything with the Pythons, I've seen the vast majority of "Red Dwarf" episodes, and I'd probably sit and watch an episode of "Mystery!" if it were on. I'd at least watch the Gorey opening.

And then there's "Doctor Who." If you'd asked me at any time for as long as I can remember, I'd tell you I liked "Doctor Who." I might even have called myself a fan of the show. I could hum the theme song, talk about the TARDIS, do my best impression of a Dalek, tell you that Tom Baker's my favorite Doctor, I might even be able to say something about K-9 and The Master. And while I'm sure that, over the course of a youth spent watching late-night British television at my Dad's side, I've seen quite a bit of the series, I honestly couldn't remember the plot of a single episode. Heck, I remember making a point to watch the TV movie when it aired, and I couldn't tell you much about that either.

But recently I've been able to see a dozen or so of the revival series episodes on BBC America and Sci-Fi Channel, the vast majority of which have been with David Tennant, and I've really, really liked them. At the Con, I picked up a toy Sonic Screwdriver (with psychic paper!) and I've been spending a rather inordinate amount of time playing with it since then. All this has led to a reconfiguring of my Netflix queue, interspersing discs of "Cosmos" with discs of the Doctor.

So, I spent the last two hours or so watching "City of Death," starting my formal introduction to the series with a well-recommended Tom Baker episode, and it was fantastic. The show is clever, the Doctor is witty, there's a great deal of humor--how is it that I've managed to go this long without giving the show a real try?

Well, I certainly won't be making that mistake again. From now on, I'll be justified when I call myself a Whovian.


inkdestroyedmybrush said...

City of Death is fun, in looking at how Tom and Lala interact, since they were falling in love outside the set and there is a certain glimmer in their eyes that is missing just about everywhere else.

Sadly, the david tennant doctor is not my favorite, and yet he is getting some brilliant stories. Chris Eccleston was drop dead brilliant, but only have a couple of great stories, what with only staying a season. The Empty child and Doctor Dances are worthy of being two hours of the greatest doctor who ever made, right up there with pyramids of mars, tomb of the cybermen et al. Tennant emotes on too broad a scale, a better acted version of Sly McCoy (interesting that both are scottish).

What I wouldn't have given to have had Eccleston act in School Days rather than Tennant. Wne the camera pans around from Sarah Jane to the Doctor and he says "hello"... well, Chris' voice is the only one to have the gravitas that Tom's did.

Anthony Strand said...

Hey, welcome to the club. I started with the new series, and then I went back to check out the old one. That was a year and a half or so ago. Now I'm just a big time Whovian. I'm always changing my favorite Doctor, but at this point I've got it narrowed down to Patrick Troughton, Tom Baker, Christopher Eccleston, and David Tennant.

They can all be fun though. Even Colin Baker, my least favorite, had some great moments.

Anthony Strand said...

As to David Tennant comparing to Sylvester McCoy, I'd say his version is closer to Patrick Troughton's wise-cracking guy masking a tough interior than to McCoy's wacky clown who becomes ice cold out of nowhere.

Anthony Strand said...

Okay, last comment, I swear.

If you want wacky, off-beat episodes that are fun in kind of the same way as "City of Death", I'd recommend:

"The Mind Robber" with the Second Doctor in the Land of Fiction

"Carnival of Monsters" with the Third Doctor trapped as alien entertainment

and, to a lesser extent

"Delta and the Bannermen" with the Seventh Doctor in the rock 'n roll loving world of 1959 Wales.