Who who?

OK, I am a trifle peeved about this whole Matt Smith thing. Because there I was, all set to leap into the Doctor Who experience, and I had figured that this impossibly crazy-sexy-cool Eleven everybody kept promising was going to be my jumping-in point, as it were. I would ride onto the TARDIS on a wave of general fun and excitement.

Yeah. I don’t automatically exclude gangly white dudes from coolness, but I do sort of expect them to at least have eyebrows.

Anyway, my enthusiasm for the revival series has been fading for other reasons. After a rigorous grounding course involving close reading of the show’s TVTropes page over lunch, I figured it was time to move on to airdates here in Canada. Thusly over to the CBC, and ep synopses…uh, whoa. At the risk of sounding like I’ve regenerated one too many times myself, this is not the Doctor I remember.

I recall, as a nine-year-old or so, a lovely slice of low-key cheeze that aired on PBS-wannabe TVOntario. So low-key, I half-assumed it was made by TVO. It featured mildly trippy opening music and an amiable bug-eyed guy in a scarf. Note its appearance on this Classic TVOntario Children’s Series tribute site; this is my Doctor. He had a robot dog. He did not have angst. Or Die Hard-level S/F/X, for that matter.

This is a recurring issue with me and most serial TV these days; I don’t care about the angst, OK? Seriously. Enough with the self-absorbed whingeing. And while we’re at it, down also with storylines so insanely convoluted and self-referential that I now hear people on subways planning to spend entire weekends ‘catching up’ on Lost. “I haven’t gotten to it in ages,” they say, with that sheepish ‘caught me!’ air that used to indicate never having read, say, Proust.

So it’s pretty clear that not only will I have to sit through acres of the Doctor upset because being distracted by an ingrown toenail or something prevented him from saving a solar system, I’d have to go right back to the beginning (‘Episode 1.01: The Doctor Notices a Certain Redness and Swelling’) to appreciate it. Count me out.

Thus my new plan: to somehow, somewhere, get my mitts on the old-school Who DVDs I know must exist, and start from the beginning. Tinfoil Daleks forever!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shing_
    Jan 09, 2009 @ 22:54:43

    If you’re not down with the angst, then stay far away. The Ten/Rose angst was EPIC and, IMO, VERY ANNOYING. I’m biased cause I’m in the minority of not liking Rose very much. Per Steven Moffat, the new head writer, blame the 8th Doctor for introducing snogging to the Whoverse, LOL. As for Classic Who, DVDs have been/are being released but not in any particular order, I believe.

    In total agreement about the convoluted storylines a la Lost and Prison Break. Gave up on both of them pretty early.

    PS. K-9 does return for cameos in S2 & S4 along with Sarah Jane 🙂

  2. tree_and_leaf
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:04:49

    Well, I think there’s enough other stuff going on in New Who that you can look past the angst, though I don’t particularly like the Tenth Doctor’s relationship with Rose (I liked her with Nine, mostly, but somehow she and Ten brought out the worst in each other. Which could be interesting, but not if the writers think it’s perfection).

    However – there is lots of Old Who out there and lots of it is really rather good, though you won’t be able to watch from beginning to end as not all of it has been released (and some of it was wiped by those idiots at the Beeb). The first three Hartnell stories are available in a boxed set – the first story has its draggy moments, though the first episode is one of the best things the BBC has done, full stop – then there’s a Dalek story. I also highly recommend “The Aztecs” from One’s epoch; Two’s era was mostly lost, but “The Mind Robber” and “The Invasion” are both cracking stories, and… er, stop me before I list all my favourite Old School stories…

  3. tree_and_leaf
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:05:59

    PS: The Daleks were always pretty solid looking, though their weapons were made of sink plungers and egg whisks. The tin-foil was used for the cybermen…

  4. shoebox2
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:34:58

    Yeah, the prospect of snogging, that was another weirdness. In my (admittedly limited) experience, the Doctor’s companions treated him with a sort of good-natured contempt (when he wasn’t saving their lives, of course, and even then it was ‘Oh, so you’ve finally decided to show up, then?!”)

    I liked this; it was a welcome change from the American tradition of Holy Fawning Sidekicks, Batman!

    Re: Prison Break…I used to work in a cubicle with four yuppettes, and this was their ‘water-cooler’ show, so ironically I spent the entire first season so well up on the plot twists I could’ve written an episode guide. On the whole, I don’t think you’ve missed much. 🙂

  5. shoebox2
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:41:07

    Well, I think there’s enough other stuff going on in New Who that you can look past the angst

    Yeah, upon calmer reflection – and perusal of various f-list icons – I am thinking this might be true. There is the Adipose, and that one little pic with Ten and the kitten that has…

    Anyway, please do list as many favourite old stories as possible – I’m fascinated already. One of the major problems with getting into this show is there’s so much of it; any sort of road map welcome…

  6. shoebox2
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:43:27

    Egg whisks? Really? *is delighted*

    See, this is part of what draws me to the old-school; I’m Canadian, loving this kind of earnest effort just comes naturally.

  7. tree_and_leaf
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 15:01:58

    Well then, continuing my favourites: going back to One, “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is excellent; from Three’s era “Spearhead from Space” (which rebooted the series), “Inferno” (which is an alternative universe episode, and quite angsty, but in the ‘humanity’s folly and greed is destroying the world’ sort of way, not ‘woe my girlfriend left me’, so is OK – it’s actually quite terrifying, though it’s probably best to ignore the green werewolves), “The Daemons” (in which the Doctor’s ex-best friend turned nemesis masquerades as a vicar), and “The Green Death”. (by chance, I’ve seen more of One and Three than anything else). From Four’s era (this is the Doctor you remember), “Genesis of the Daleks” is unmissable, as is “City of Death” (it’s written by Douglas Adams and very silly in a very intelligent sort of way); “Horror at Fang Rock” is good. Five’s best episode is probably either “Kinda” or “Earthshock”, though I have high hopes of “Black Orchid” (haven’t got to see it yet). Six… has his fans. Seven: “Remembrance of the Daleks”, “Battlefield” (though you shouldn’t watch this unless you have some idea of who the Brigadier is – happily, he features in all of Three’s episodes, and also in “The Invasion” (as well as others I haven’t listed here.)

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