So after many years of gentle and not so gentle prodding I have finally started watching Doctor Who. In the past I have seen snippets of the new series, and generally walked away muttering “…alright …that was odd…don’t see much point in that.” However my friends BatMatt and Doc kept suggesting I try it (much the same way we kept suggesting Rich try watching Firefly…) and since I share a lot of tastes in
common when it comes to TV shows and comics a few months ago I relented and let Doc know that I had come to terms with fact that someday I would eventually ended up watching some Doctor Who but needed to know where to start.
Fast forward to two weeks ago when my father had me open a Netflix account so we could figure out why Netflix streaming wasn’t working for him (no streaming outside the 50 states and DC…you lose out if you live in a Commonwealth of the US it turns out…bummer). Since I had started the clock on my 2 week trial I figured I might as well take advantage of it once we were back in Rochester.
So early last week I started out watching Season 1 of the New Doctor Who series, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. The first 13 episodes are available via Netflix streaming, and I have watched 12.
If you haven’t watched the series yet…you might as well stop reading unless you want to be spoiled as to how I reacted…
Just to finish out the cast of "The Curse of Fatal Death," Julia Sawalha, Saffy from AbFab, played the Doctor's companion, Emma.
Joanna Lumley (Patsy from Ab Fab) was the female Doctor in the skit. Kids who grew up exposed to UK TV in the 70s would remember her as 'Purdey', Diana Rigg's successor in the sequel to 'The Avengers'. The character even passed into the popular lingo as her distinctive 70s haircut became known as the 'Purdey'. (The junk that stays in our heads....)
Peter Cushings 'Ian' (Roy Castle) is very fondly remembered by us as the host of "Record Breakers', a kids show all about the Guinness Book of Records.
While presenting the show Roy Castle broke nine world records himself, including
I don't it's humanly possible to watch this and not smile.
Looks like the Twelfth Thirteenth Fourteenth Next Peter Capaldi Doctor is meeting an Evil Mary Poppins (which, now that I think about it, is probably barely distinguishable from your Common Variety Mary Poppins).
After a couple of false starts I think I’ve succeeded in introducing a new Thanksgiving tradition: Doctor Who! Two years ago, after our friends had expressed interest in 2016, I brought a sampling of episodes only to discover that our host’s Blu-ray didn’t play DVDs. So I didn’t bring any last year, only to discover that they had replaced their Blu-ray with a combination Blu-ray/DVD player. We are all big fans of The Walking Dead, but we’ve all seen all the episodes and are all home by the next Sunday night. This year, though, I came prepared. My focus was on showing different Doctors. We split the viewing into three nights: Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
BLINK: We always use this episode to introduce new viewers to the world of Doctor Who. It’s interesting to adults and scary for kids (and we had a mix of both). Of all the episodes we watched, I think this was the most popular. I had to explain to one of the adults how it was that the Doctor didn’t have to wait from 1969 until 2007 the way Billy Shipton did.
THE ELEVENTH HOUR: After introducing the 10th Doctor with “Blink,” I moved on the 11th with “The Eleventh Hour.” That’s a good jumping on point, too; not all “first” episodes are. Just as “Blink” can be seen for the first time from Sally Sparrow’s point of view, so too can “The Eleventh Hour” be seen from Amy Pond’s.
NIGHT OF THE DOCTOR: I used this “mini-episode” to introduce them to the 8th Doctor, the War Doctor and the Time War. One of the kids asked, “So the War Doctor is the 9th Doctor, right?” Honestly, I wasn’t even going to get into all that, but I was gratified they were paying that much attention.
DAY OF THE DOCTOR: I don’t think even the adults followed all the twists of this one after having seen only two full episodes and a mini, but I think they enjoyed it. I hadn’t realized that all three of these full episodes used the term “wibbly wobbly timey wimey.” At the very end, our friends’ little girl (almost 10) complained, “Doesn’t he ever change into a girl?” She was very excited to learn about the 13th Doctor, but unfortunately I didn’t bring any of those with us. She’s planning to watch the new season, though (beginning January 1st if you haven’t heard).
When Capaldi's eyes appeared in close-up, one of the kids asked, "So that's the Twelfth Doctor...!?"
AN UNEARTHLY CHILD: Back to the roots to introduce the First Doctor. (We watched only the first episode, not the caveman stuff.) I know one of the adults really appreciated the history of it, but I wanted to concentrate on the higher numbered Doctors this time because I thought the new series is more readily accessible.
TWICE UPON A TIME: After introducing the 1st Doctor with “An Unearthly Child,” I showed the first meeting the 12th with “Twice Upon a Time.”
ROSE: Tracy would have killed me if I didn’t show at least one with her favorite Doctor. Also, it’s (obviously) a good jumping on point. That was really all I had intended to show (on of the couples wanted to get on the road at 5:00AM), but we did have time for one more, so we let the disc play and watched “THE END OF THE WORLD.”
That’s the First, Eighth, War, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth… a pretty good mix of Doctors/companions/stories if I do say so myself. I’m already thinking ahead to which episodes I’m going to bring next year. Part of it is going to depend on which episodes they may have gone on to watch on their own. This year we watched the equivalent of three regular episodes per night for three nights. I think I’m concentrate on the 9th and 10th Doctors, maybe some of the two-part episodes (Tracy has already suggested “The Empty Child” / “The Doctor Dances”) supplemented by a classic Doctor episode or two or single episodes. Maybe classic monsters (Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans). Maybe new monsters (Slitheen, Ood, Vashta Nerada). Maybe River Song. Maybe the Master.
I had been thinking about which episodes to bring this Thnaksgiving for an entire year, and I was changing the final list right up until the day we left. In any case, we’ll have plenty of Doctor Who to watch over Thanksgiving for years to come.