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Doctor Who: Series One

We've been re-watching last year's Doctor Who, and finished on Sunday night with Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways. I've also meantime been watching the last of the Seventh Doctor's stories, and so far have seen Battlefield (awful) and Ghost Light (Fascinating), and was pondering a deep and meaningful comparison of the two sets of stories. Maybe I will still do that, but meantime here's my renewed take on the Ninth Doctor:

Overall: Ecclestone is one of the great Doctors. The only other two to convincingly portray the character as an alien were Hartnell and Tom Baker, and oddly enough I feel that there are similarities in style between their respective successors, Troughton, Davison and Tennant, all going for a more human, more cuddly version of the Doctor, more devoted to his human companions; which is fine, but it's not quite the same thing; none of them ever felt dangerous. Ecclestone manages to do serious, funny, even afraid, and you can't take your eyes off him.

The stories: To my surprise I found that I liked several of them much more on re-watching than I had first time round. This goes in particular for Boom Town, the second Slitheen story, set in Cardiff, where Annette Badland as the baddy gets her head and neck movements just exactly right, and she and the Doctor viciously expose each others' ethics; and yet it's still very funny when it's meant to be.

But I saw new merits also in Father's Day - perhaps because I feel I know more about Rose's father now, after this year - and Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways. The World War II two-parter, The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances, is still the best, though I still dislike the Doctor's patriotic speech - he's pro-human, sure, but McCoy had a much better line about the British Empire in Ghost Light. The first Slitheen story, Aliens of London / World War Three, is still rubbish.

Anyway, more thoughts on new vs old Who when I finish watching the last of the old.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 19th, 2006 07:48 am (UTC)
Ah, I love the ninth doctor so much.
Dec. 19th, 2006 10:44 am (UTC)
Strongly agree re: Eccleston as a "more alien" doctor. In fact he was probably the most alien of all - I think because his incarnation had been to the very edge of destruction and seen his people (and a lot of innocent parts of the universe) perish.

Tennant reminds me more of Pertwee than he does Troughton or Davison. His Doctor is a hard, uncompromising man when he needs to be, and the loneliness and isolation that brings comes across very transparently. But unlike 2 and 5, and rather like 3, he doesn't feel obliged to try to 'fit in' all the time - he is who he is and he's comfortable with the weight and gravity of that situation. He carries his authority with good grace.
Dec. 19th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
Tennant reminds me more of Pertwee than he does Troughton or Davison.

This is the impression I got watching the (admittedly few) serials I have of Pertwee's. I don't think there are two Doctors who have reminded me more of each other than those two.
Dec. 19th, 2006 01:22 pm (UTC)
Battlefield was a fun idea that reeked in its TV execution; the novelization was somewhat better, since Aaronovitch was obviously freed from the limitations of the small-screen budget. Not quite as unabashedly neat as his Remembrance of the Daleks novel, but if you haven't read it I'd give it a spin.

Ghost Light really is rather cool, and probably deserved to be a four-parter to give all of its highly pressurized components a bit more time to play out.

Dec. 19th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
I'll do a proper post on them in due course, but just to note that I'm in the apparent minority of DW fans who were really not impressed with Remembrance of the Daleks either.
Dec. 19th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
As I was raised in the US I never saw the Doctor series before last year's with Ecclestone who I have always considered a brilliant actor. I loved it and him but find David Tennant too over the top for words and stopped watching after the 3rd episode
Dec. 20th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
Bits of series one are OK, but the black and white puts me off :)

The Ninth Doctor's 'Tiny little island' speech suits. This is Doctor recently come from a war, and lets face it, it's a rather nice speech for something that's going to get aired in the states.
Dec. 21st, 2006 10:07 am (UTC)
I think your comments on Eccleston (and Hartnell and Baker, and their successors) are pretty much spot-on. When I re-watched Series One (I still find that weird, having watched Hartnell's series as they were transmitted) I also found I enjoyed many of the stories much more second time around, which surprised me.

I still think Father's Day is pants. Some good parts, but the egg as a whole...? No.
Dec. 23rd, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)
Dec. 23rd, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
That 'DOH' was meant to be in response to ticking_fool's correction of yours truly.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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