Amph The Longest Running Sci-Fi series: "Classic" Doctor Who [1963-1996]

Discussion in 'Community' started by Koohii, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

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    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    Hey, at that time, they didn't even know that the Doctor was a Time Lord... :p
  2. solojones Chosen One

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    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Well they do know they're from another time and place though. It's clear they're aliens of some kind. But yeah, the First Doctor is definitely a lot more susceptible to pain, injury, illness... not nearly the hearty Time Lord of later. I'm guessing part of this was just Hartnell himself.
  3. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    The idea that the Tardis is actually alive and sentient to some degree is quite a big concept to come from this little two-parter. And this is the story that marks the two factions within the Tardis (the Doctor and Susan, Ian and Barbra) finally getting through their mistrust of each other and forming a unified group, though I suppose if you were cynical you could say that this was the point where Barbara and Ian succumb to Stockholm Syndrome.:p

    The things I really like about the story are: we get to see more of the Tardis - I hate it when the Tardis seems to shrink to being simply the console room, and love it when we see a little more; the aforementioned character development.

    What I don't like about the episode: it feels too much like an improv exercise from an acting class - the actors try to oversell the drama to disguise the fact that there is nothing exciting going on, and at times that's quite painful to watch.

    I really enjoy the First Doctor era in small doses, especially the earlier episodes. Some of the serials are a little too long, though, and when coupled with uninspired scripts that can prove tough going. I think there are a few serials from the First Doctor era I haven't watched/listened to in their entirety because of this. Ian and Barbara are perhaps the best written and developed (and indeed, acted) of all Classic Who companions though, and that always helps to lift the episodes they are in.
  4. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    Hey I just watched the Edge of Destruction and Brink of Disaster too!
  5. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    My first Doctor Who episode was the Unearthly Child serial... About 2-3 weeks ago.
    There's now a stack next to my bed of more to watch.
  6. solojones Chosen One

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    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I totally agree that I love seeing more of the TARDIS. I don't get why this doesn't happen in NuWho. We've only ever seen outside the Console Room once (The Doctor's Wife), and that was still pretty bland, just hallways. I mean, I get that sets = £££ , but still... not even in one episode? They build other sets...

    Sure the drama is a bit exaggerated, but just the fact that in 1963 they were even bothering to have sci-fi episodes totally focused on character development is interesting. And I know the story came about as an accident because they had two episodes left on their order and weren't ready to shoot Marco Polo yet. But still, they did it, and I really liked it. I definitely love Ian and Barbara.

    I know what you mean about the serials being too long, though, Soits. I didn't feel that way so much about The Daleks but man I tried to sit through all 7 reconstructed audio/picture stories of Marco Polo and I couldn't do it. I wound up getting about halfway then watching the 30 minute summary version the BBC put out instead. When you can boil something down that much and it makes sense, your scripts are too long :p
  7. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Yeah, the Old Who scripts are padded to hell and highwater, and by the time they finally stopped padding them and switched formats the writing staff was awful. I generally enjoy The War Games, for example, but I'm pretty sure you could drop six or seven episodes from it and preserve all of the content.
  8. solojones Chosen One

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    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah I found the half hour summary version of Marco Polo quite enjoyable. But that one at full length is kind of rough. Especially because it suffers extremely from the "why the hell is the Doctor even here, he's not doing anything" problem that other stories so far have only dipped into at certain points. Here it's pervasive.

    I'm starting The Keys of Marnius.
  9. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    That one should be better on the pacing front - it's more like individual episodes that happen to have a shared MacGuffin. Sort of like a concentrated, far cornier Key to Time.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 26, 2012
  10. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah I'd read that this one has them going to different places, which is intriguing.

    I have to say one thing I really like in this season is the sense of continuity. They go from one story to the next instead of just jumping around in a disconnected fashion (a la, say, Star Trek). For instance, here Ian is wearing the clothes he got from Kublah Khan's court.

    So it's a good thing they actually sleep sometimes within the stories :p
  11. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    Twice - the Doctor's wardrobe in "The Christmas Invasion" - but I get your point. Moar TARDIS plz, Moffat!
    soitscometothis likes this.
  12. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    The Doctor: And you my friend-
    Ian: Yes, what can I do, Doctor?
    The Doctor (leaning in, with a pointed smile): Trust me.

    This part of The Keys of Marinus put a big, stupid grin on my face. Also, I really loved the Doctor investigating the murder and going all Sherlock Holmes on them. There's such an obvious Holmes influence on DW in general, but the First Doctor could practically just be the Holmes of Doyle's books. Hartnell can be quite cagey, but it makes his moments of pure joy and excitement all the better. And then of course he never tells his Companions what the plan he's cooking up is :p The mystery's not really that complex or surprising, but I found it great fun because the Doctor was finding it fun.

    I like the mention of the Doctor knowing Hercule Poirot. Asserting that fictional characters are real... I've heard they do a bit of that.
    Mar17swgirl and Ulicus like this.
  13. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    I tend to recommend jumping about between Doctors. It adds variety and helps keep you from burning out your enthusiasm for the show.

    Moffat doesn't really like focusing on the Tardis... he's given some quote about wanting to write about Narnia, not the wardrobe. I'd love to see a story set entirely in the Tardis with just the Doctor and companions, and perhaps one antagonist, but if it doesn't interest Moffat, it's not going to happen.

    I think I did much the same thing with Marco Polo.:(

    I'd say it didn't need more than four episodes, though watching only an episode or two a day makes the story quite digestible. Lots of running around and getting caught, escaping, running around... even so, it is deservedly a classic.

    I like that one. I think each episode being a self-contained story, albeit coming together as part of a quest, stops the horrible feeling of repetition that so often creeps into some of the longer serials.

    You should check out the early seasons of the U.S. sci-fi show Sliders. Very similar feel to early Hartnell Who, except of course for being shot in America in the 90's. :p
  14. Random Comments Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2012
    star 5
    That's what I've been doing... Mostly because my library only has ~25 sets or Doctor Who.
    I've seen An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, Edge of Destruction, and the reconstructed Marco Polo, but that's all the Hartnell they have available, so I went to War Games. I'll probably jump around a lot before I finally start NuWho. I don't think I'll jump around much then.

    For whoever said "I generally enjoy The War Games, for example, but I'm pretty sure you could drop six or seven episodes from it and preserve all of the content." I can't get the quoting to work.

    I don't know about six or seven, but they could probably drop a few.
    Last edited by Random Comments, Sep 26, 2012
  15. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    Reportedly (from the horse's mouth) Gaiman had a scene scripted in the Doctor's Wife that had Amy/Rory and Eleven having breakfast in the TARDIS kitchen but was scrapped due to time and money.
  16. Mar17swgirl Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 26, 2000
    star 7
    Yeah, Gaiman also mentioned having the swimming pool appear in the episode, but that got scrapped, too...
  17. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    Well... if Oswin / Clara / whatever else she might be called can cook (a soufflé or two perhaps!) there would be excellent cause to see the kitchen.
    Mar17swgirl and Juliet316 like this.
  18. solojones Chosen One

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    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    See I get that Moffat might not want to focus too much on the TARDIS, but the problem with how it is in NuWho is that it just feels unnatural. You have to set every scene in the console room and some scenes probably make more sense elsewhere. I want to see the swimming pool :(

    Anyway, I liked the format of Keys. It made me feel like I was going through a bunch of Zelda temples :p

    With regards to jumping between Doctors... I do like to be a completionist and watch things straight through, but having said that, I might watch Genesis of the Daleks next anyway.
  19. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    I could tolerate a few scenes each series set in rooms other than the control room, but for me part of the appeal of the TARDIS - her depths and recesses - is imagining them. I like reading about new rooms in fanfic (because I can visualise them for myself), I like hearing about them in the show, but I've become quite attached to their mystery. I like not knowing what they look like. Places The Doctor sees, The Doctor knows, but we don't. Kinda romantic*. So I don't want her explored too thoroughly. Nothing that would ever become a regular set. Or even semi-regular. Perhaps one new room a series.

    *okay, I know companions see them too, but I can let that slide. The Doctor's involved with the TARDIS, but his companions are in an exclusive club that we - as viewers - are not.
    Last edited by Everton, Sep 26, 2012
  20. Juliet316 Chosen One

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    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    I wish we could have seen Amy/Rory's room when they had the bunk beds though.
  21. solojones Chosen One

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    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I don't need recurring rooms. I would rather see a few new random rooms a series, though, to give you a tiny taste of how expansive it is. That, to me, would inspire much more wonder and curiosity. Just give them a taste and let them imagine what else there might be.

    After all, isn't that what the show does with the universe? We see so many things, and yet it's just a tiny sample of what's in the universe. The TARDIS to me is a physical metaphor of that. From earth the universe looks small, but when you're out there in it, it's bigger on the inside ;)
  22. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    Nicely put, but I think a taste would only build an appetite for more. I'm still a mad fan, so wouldn't object to seeing more - indeed I'm thrilled when we do (they're big moments due to their rarity) - but too concrete an exploration would rob the girl of her charm. She's The Doctor's, not ours.
  23. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Re-watched two Tom Baker era Who serials: Planet of Evil and Horror of Fang Rock.

    PoE : this story is pretty much a mash-up of Forbidden Planet and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The Doctor and Sarah find themselves on a planet at the furthest reaches of the universe, where an expeditionary force has rub into trouble, and as usual the Doctor and companion are the chief suspects - cue getting locked up and escaping, as per usual for Classic Who.

    The jungle much of the early part of the story takes place in looks pretty good, helped by the fact it was shot on film at a soundstage in Ealing, and the cast play it straight, which makes for a tense atmosphere - no joking about here. Tom and Elisabeth Sladen always had good onscreen chemistry, so that's a plus, and the story itself is not bad, but I've got to say there aren't any really fascinating or likable characters in this story - I think that hurts it a little. There are a few cheap-looking effects and horrible wardrobe decisions, but it is the lack of engaging characters and good dialogue that prevent this serial from being amongst the top-tier Classic Who stories.

    HoFR: the Doctor and Leela hole-up in a lighthouse in Edwardian England, where they and refugees from a crashed ship are pitted against an invading alien threat. This is a pretty good story that uses only a few sets but makes that work for it. The effects are, well, kind of crappy, but the solid script, characterisation, and acting, make up for that. This was just before Tom Baker started going over-the-top and he's on good form here, making it one of the better Classic Who serials.
  24. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I had started The Sensorites and really liked it so far (pretty creepy), but then got overwhelmed by a lot of other stuff. Man, and I'm so close to being done with season 1.
  25. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Your post reminded me that I, too, had started The Sensorites but never finished it - something I have now rectified. The Sensorites themselves are very creepy at the beginning, but are revealed to be kind of dorky by episode three. I thought Susan's telepathic powers were an interesting addition to the show, paving the way for all Gallifreyans to be retconned as mildly telepathic, and of course we also get Susan describing her home planet, later to be named Gallifrey, which is interesting. Not my favourite of the First Doctor's serials, but it definitely has things that stop it from feeling disposable.

    The serial following that is The Reign of Terror, and that is another story I got a few episodes into but never finished - and I see it has some episodes missing, too.

    I've just bought fan-favourite The Seeds of Doom on DVD - didn't really appreciate it the last time I saw it, but I'm hoping this time around I'll warm to it more. I just seem to be in a Tom Baker mood at the moment.