So, I’ll be going to one of the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary showings (duh!). One of my friends who is going hasn’t seen much of the show, so I sent her this as a sort of primer.
Okay, now, considering this is going to be a 50th anniversary special, there’s (probably) going to be a fair bit of callbacks and junk, but as a primer for things you SHOULD know going in, here’s some episodes you should watch if you can’t get through, y’know, 7 seasons worth.
Each season is like, 13ish episodes? 40minutes a pop. I’m recommending 26 episodes max, 17 minimum (out of 92). And some of these are 2 to 3 parters so, you could watch one episode a night and be solid. You probably don’t even need this much, but if you wanna be PREPARED! Durp.
SEASON 1: (3 to 5 episodes)
Episode 1: (Rose) Introduces the show, introduces Rose, who will be one of the companions in the 50th. Episode 2: (The End of the World) One of my personal favorites and the end kinda sets up what is going on in the longer narrative. And it’s basically what the 50th is going to be about. Episode 6: (Dalek) Another one of my absolute favorites and again, sounds like it will be pretty important background info for the 50th. Epsodes 12/13 OPTIONAL: (Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways) I’ll say this season finale 2-parter is optional, but again, sorta directly ties into what’s going on with the Doctor’s longer narrative; there’s some pretty sizable character development between the Doc and Rose, and there’s a regeneration (spoiler?) at the end, which sets all that up and junk.
SEASON 2: (4 episodes)
Episode 2: (New Earth) First proper look at Tennant’s Doctor (who will be in the 50th), and it’s a nice book-end to Episode 2 of Season 1. Episode 4 OPTIONAL: (School Reunion) Not sure HOW about-the-past they’ll be for the 50th, but in this one we meet up with basically the Doctor’s most famous companion of the Classic Era, Sarah Jane Smith (and K9: robot dogs ftw). Episodes 13/14: (Army of Ghosts/Doomsday) What happens to Rose.
SEASON 3: (1 episode, optional.)
Episode 11 OPTIONAL: (Blink) Blink is widely regarded as like, the best episode of the show to date?
SEASON 4: (2 to 5 episodes)
Episodes 9/10: (Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead). Introduces River Song, who has become pretty important and will probably pop up in the 50th. Episodes 12/13/14 OPTIONAL : (Turn Left/The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End) Super optional, but it’s basically a show finale for the first 4 seasons. Some stuff that may pop up in the 50th is in this set, plus it will give you a good look at all the companions we’ve had so far, and junk.
SEASON 5: (1 to 4 episodes)
Episode 1: (The Eleventh Hour) Introduces the 11th Doctor (who is the current Doctor). Episodes 4/5: (Time of the Angels/Flesh and Stone) Another proper adventure with River Song, just so you get a River adventure under you belt. Sort of optional, though.
SEASON 6: (2 to 3 episodes)
Episode 4: (The Doctor’s Wife) Pretty important episode for the lore of the show. And it’s very good. Episode 7 OPTIONAL: (A Good Man Goes to War) Kinda feel like this episode is important, but also feel like if you hadn’t seen basically the 1st half of Season 6 this might be really confusing. I’ll throw it under optional. Episode 8: (Let’s Kill Hitler) Important episode for River.
SEASON 7: (5 episodes)
Episode 1: (Asylum of the Daleks) Pretty important developments as to where-we-are with the Doctor, particularly at the end of the episode. Also a timey-wimey intro to his latest companion. Episode 5: (The Angels Take Manhattan) What happens to his current companions. What it does to the Doctor. CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: (The Snowmen) Good showing of where we are with the Doctor, meets his current companion (again), who will be in the 50th Episode 6: (The Bells of St. John) His current companion gets sorted out. Episode 13: (The Name of the Doctor) Basically a prequel to the 50th Anniversary.
When I was a kid we had a grey cockatoo named Billie. She was that cool kind of bird; the kind you could perch on your shoulder and walk around with like a pirate. And I think I need to mention it was the 90’s, so, it was always dope.
Shortly after Billie matured, she started laying eggs. It was weird, but also fascinating and pleasingly rustic. Except she kept laying eggs and wouldn’t stop. It was like that goose or chicken or whatever that laid a million eggs - that’s a fairy tale, right? - only a thousand times scarier and more intense. Eventually, she actually pushed out her guts, and died.
I’m telling you this because it is the best approximation as to how I feel whenever I drink coffee in the morning these days. And it sux. So I don’t do it anymore, except every once in a while when I forget.
Charley: It doesn’t seem to want to hurt us, though.
Doctor: No. Just take our words, quite literally, out of our mouths. Interesting that it picks the moments at which we are at our most emotional. That rather embarrassing bit where you told me you loved me, for example.
Doctor: ‘But I love you’? Don’t you think?
Charley: Is that what it means to you?
Doctor: Or am I wrong? It seems to me that there was rather a lot of emotion flying about in the way that you said that.
Charley: Yes, there was.
Doctor: So you see! It’s as I thought! It’s not the words that matter. It’s the tone of the voice. It’s the inflection, the melody, if you like. It doesn’t respond to meaning, but the power behind it. You could have said ‘I love you’, you could equally have said, ‘Pass the salt,’ had you had invested it with as much passion.
Charley: But I didn’t say, ‘Pass the salt.’ I told you I loved you.
Doctor: Yes, I know, but ‘I love you,’ saying it over and over without the slightest idea what the words mean.
Charley: Do you?
Charley: I love you, Doctor!
Doctor: No, I think you’re missing the point I’m making.
Charley: Do you think so? I thought you were rather missing the point I was making. Which is odd, considering it couldn’t have been put more bluntly.
Doctor: Ah. You want to talk about that.
Charley: Even an inhuman voice from outer space got the point I was making! But not you!
Doctor: I was rather more concerned with establishing the nature of where we are and whom we share it with. But you want to talk about that. Fine! Go ahead! Let’s get it over with.
Doctor: No, come on, come on. It looks as if we might well be trapped for the rest of our lives here together. Let’s exhaust all the conversational gamuts we can. So you love me.
Charley: Yes! Yes, I do!
Doctor: And is that it?
Charley: Isn’t that enough?! If you knew how hard it was for me to say that—!
Doctor: Not half as hard as it was to listen to. Tell me, Charley, what good do you think your love will do me?
Charley: I don’t know!
Doctor: Do you think it makes this situation any better? Do you think it makes me feel any better?
Charley: Well, I hoped— I don’t know!
Doctor: I don’t want your love, Charley. I have no use for it.
Part of me wants to play this for every Doctor Who doe-eyed shipper person out there.
Granted, I don’t know the context of where it was going or what it was trying to do emotionally, but as like, a way to make the Doctor come off as alien? And kind of a dick through no real fault of his own? Nails it.
… really want to get some 8th Doctor audio-plays under my belt, now.
So, they’re announcing a new Doctor shortly (awesome!). Here’s what you can expect - and every time this happens hereafter.
It’s known as THE WHOVIAN REGENERATION REACTION-CONSTANT.
1.) The Doctor is announced. 2.) Why couldn’t the Doctor have been (a woman, a man, minority, older, younger, taller, thinner, hunkier, dorkier, ginger, not ginger etc.) 3.) Guys c’mon, just wait and see it’s too early to cast judgement. 4.) Well this new person will never be as good as <insert past Doctor of choice.> 5.) What is THAT outfit supposed to be?? 6.) Debut: Huh, that was interesting but I’m still not sure. 7.) More griping. 8.) Slowly grows on people. 9.) Has a fan-base by the end of the first season. 10.) Hey guys, Doctor Who is on!! I love this Doctor. :) 11.) Oh no, the # Doctor is leaving?! 12.) Who will be the next Doctor?!?!
A friend asked me the other day if the Classic Era of Doctor Who was worth getting into. This is what I told him. Consider it a bit of a primer, or if nothing else my personal experience with it SO FAR.
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Q: Is the classic series worth watching? I’m bummed I ran out of episodes, but I also don’t want to be disappointed if it doesn’t measure up against the new stuff.
A: I think you can gain a better perspective of the Doctor and the show by gleaning the Classic Era. For example, I’ve come to realize that what helps Smith be a great Doctor is that he’s SUCH an amalgamation of all the past Doctors; which, if nothing else has made him the perfect Doctor for the 50th.
So yeah, I have definitely, legitimately enjoyed some Classic Who but it’s a very different beast than the new stuff. If you have any familiarity with old British shows DW certainly falls into those sorts of tropes.
British shows are all about CHARACTERS and PLOTS. Every British stereotype ever can be seen watching old British shows and DW isn’t immune to that by any stretch of the imagination… and it probably even started a few. There’s some occasional goofy action and a fair bit or running, but most of the time they’re talking/solving problems and outwitting aliens who more-often-than-not look like costumes your mom could make for you for Halloween. All this, of course, is part of the charm - if you can get behind it.
Each classic era story consisted of a few episodes so I’ll try to give you one story for each Doctor. (I’ll star* it if it’s on Netflix streaming - there’s at least 1 story from each Doctor on there if nothing else… save the 6th and 8th Doctors.)
1st Doctor: Without question, AN UNEARTHLY CHILD is mandatory viewing. It’s the very, very beginning of the show and it is FANTASTIC. It’s science-horror as opposed to science-fantasy and, imho, could match the best episodes of the Twilight Zone (and, if curious, actually pre-dates the T.Z by a year).
2nd Doctor: Smith’s biggest influence was definitely the 2nd Doctor. THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN is regarded as a classic and it’s a pretty goofy romp. A lot of the core-lore of Doctor Who came out of the 2nd Doctor’s tenure including the sonic-screwdriver, UNIT, the Brigadier, even the establishing of the Time Lords themselves, if I’m not mistaken. And the 2nd Doctor has such a great personality. You look at him and think one thing and then watch him in a scene or two and your entire feel changes. Also, Jamie, who is by far the the coolest male companion of the classic era next to the Brigadier. KILT POWER!
3rd Doctor: Pertwee might actually be my personal favorite from the classic era. The dude just had such a presence about him, I dunno. SPEARHEAD FROM SPACE* is his first story and, though it’s been a while, I remember being surprised by how much I liked it. His era also introduced the Master (the quinnessential version performed by Roger Delgado.) and really cements itself as sci-fi as opposed to the sci-horror of the first 2 Doctors. Also, like, how can you not love stuff like this?: Doctor/Master Swordfight!
4th Doctor: The most popular Doctor pre-Tennant by-and-large. GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is up there with An Unearthly Child as mandatory watching. Also THE TALONS OF WENG-CHIANG has some fantastic dialogue if you can get past the laughably abhorrent racism.
5th Doctor: Probably the one Tennant borrowed the most from. THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI* is the 5th Doctor’s final story and I hear among his best. I remember the story itself being kind of blah but I really dug him as the Doctor in this. There’s also the time Ten met Five: Doctor Who - Time Crash
6th Doctor: I’ve only seen VENGEANCE OF VAROS and it wasn’t very good (though his companion, Peri (also in the Caves of Androzani) reminded me a fair bit of Rose). The 6th Doctor is, quite frankly, a complete asshole. And he revels in it, which is admittedly kind of great. I’ve grown to appreciate his place in DW but his stuff is plagued by budget cuts, bad writing and the worst (best?) kind of eightiesness.
7th Doctor: Have only seen THE CURSE OF FENRIC and wasn’t impressed. Really don’t have enough of a feel for him, honestly. It was the end, the show was cancelled during his run. Nuff said?
8th Doctor: Only got a TV special, so it’s worth viewing just as a way to say you’ve seen the dude. It’s not awful. Very 90’s. Will Sasso is in it and we do get to see 7 regen into 8, at least (and it has a pretty great lead-up).
There’s still a lot I’ve yet to see from the Classic Era and I by-no-means consider this a best-of list or anything like that. Just my experience with it. Always down to discuss, obviously.