L-R: The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor, The Doctor
In December, I mentioned that I was thinking of watching all of the episodes of the classic Doctor Who series. I wrote:
…I’ve been hearing how great Doctor Who is. So, maybe I’ll watch that, I thought.
Just kidding. I had no desire to watch Doctor Who.
I remember Doctor Who from way back. Used to catch an occasional episode starring Tom Baker on PBS many years ago. I thought the whole thing was silly. Not Monty Python silly. Just silly.
But, I kept hearing about how great Doctor Who (the current version) was. So, I looked into it. And, I found out it wasn’t really a reboot, but a revival. They kept the original timeline in place, and began the 2005 series with the Ninth Doctor.
Mmmkay. Maybe this won’t be the JJ Adams-ing of Doctor Who. Maybe I would watch it.
Well, watch it I did. You see, I’m the kind of person that won’t pick something up in the middle. I want to go back to the beginning and get the full effect. So, I watched all the episodes.
That was hard to do. You see, many episodes from the first six seasons no longer exist. Since, with very rare exception, all the stories are multiple episodes (I’m calling those serials) there are some serials with one or more missing episodes. Additionally, ten of the first 49 serials are completely missing, with another 16 serials missing one or more episodes, but not all. In all, 97 episodes are missing from those first six seasons.
BBC animated eleven episodes, and used the still-existing soundtrack combined with stills and surviving video clips to reconstruct five others. Fans have still images, clips, and home movies to reconstruct the other 81 missing episodes. BBC has also done reconstructions of two entire serials as single episodes, but those are heavily edited.
So, with all that, plus with the episodes that exist on DVD, iTunes, or Amazon, I have now seen every episode of the classic Doctor Who.
I liked it.
The Doctor (William Hartnell)
William Hartnell is my favorite. He created the role. Or, the role was created for him. And, with him in the role, The Doctor was mysterious and definitely in charge. Plus, I’m the same age Hartnell was when the first episode was broadcast.
Patrick Troughton was a treat. He always livened up the screen. He reprised the role more times than any other actor who played The Doctor. Come to think of it, he might actually be my favorite.
Jon Pertwee was a joy. I didn’t remember him as The Doctor until I saw him as The Doctor. I don’t know, prior to this viewing, that I ever saw any of his episodes (and I suspect I did not) but I did recognize him as The Doctor. Somehow.
Tom Baker was everyone’s favorite. But not mine. Of course, he was the first actor I remember seeing in the role, but I didn’t always enjoy the show. That’s when the show got a little preachy.
Peter Davison, I liked. I didn’t remember much from his stint, but I did like many of his serials. He may be my second-favorite Doctor. Toss him, Troughton, and Hartnell into a hat (they all wore hats, get it?) and whichever name you pull out is my favorite.
Colin Baker was around the least of any of the actors that played The Doctor. He was in only 31 episodes over two full seasons, and one serial in another.
Sylvester McCoy was the one I knew the least, though he was in more episodes than Colin Baker. McCoy appeared in 42 episodes over three full (but short) seasons.
Yes, I have a TARDIS case for my iPhone. Shut up.
Each one, during his time, was The Doctor. The companions were ever-changing, and despite the seven actors (eight, actually) that played the first seven incarnations of The Doctor, the lead character was the constant.
Oh, about the companions. My favorite? Well, Sarah Jane Smith. But, I also likes the group of Susan, Barbara, and Ian. Jamie wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t dislike him at all, plus I can’t imagine The Doctor (2.0) without him. So, maybe Jamie is my second-favorite companion.
And Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, though he wasn’t actually a companion, was a regular on the show for some time. I liked him. A lot. Took some getting used to, but he’s definitely someone who was a joy to see return after his regular run ended. The others? Yeah, they were okay. I like the cute chicks the best. There were very few I didn’t like.
Who didn’t I like? Kamelion. K-9. I suppose I’m robotist. And, while a lot of people hated Mel, I didn’t. She was okay. Product of her times.
Was it a worthwhile experience? Yep. For me it was. I now understand the Doctor Who universe.
Should you watch them all? I don’t know. If you have Hulu Plus, you’ll find that as the largest online repository for streaming existing episodes. And, if you subscribe to Hulu Plus and want to check some out, like the early stuff, that’s a great place to do that. But, should you?
Well, if you have to ask, the answer is “no.” I’m not saying don’t watch them. What I’m saying is unless you want to watch them — really want to watch them — don’t.
But, if you do want to watch them, go ahead. You’ll enjoy it.
I’m glad I did this.
Addendum: Actually, I did more. I kept watching. And, even though this was The End, there is an Epilogue. Next week.