296. Ninth Doctor

Today is the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Doctor Who, so I decided to pay homage to my first Doctor. Sorta. I’m pretty sure when I was a kid, I stumbled upon an old Doctor Who episode on PBS, mostly likely the 4th Doctor – Tom Baker – with the afro and scarf. And the cardboard sets and I’m pretty sure I saw a wheeled trashcan with a plunger sticking out of it. Even as a child I wrote it off as crap. Flash forward to 1996 and the Fox network is advertising its Doctor Who TV movie. A friend of mine was apparently really excited for this thing, so I out of infectiousness, I watched it. It was okay. This was the Paul McGann 8th Doctor. The movie did not do a very good job of establishing what it wanted to be, especially to folks who had no context of a Doctor Who beyond cheap sets and old, bad PBS programming. I remember being intrigued enough to wanting to watch the regular series should it have manifested, but it did not. I also only ever really remembered that Eric Roberts and Will Sasso were in it. I enjoy a Will Sasso. But whenever I’d see anything else with Paul McGann in it, I’d say “Hey it’s that Doctor Who guy”. I’ve recently rewatched the TV movie and it’s pretty enjoyable now that I’m more familiar with the history and the character.
So the new series starts in 2005, I believe. I immediately dismiss it. I wind up actually watching an episode of it at some point on either the Sci-Fi Channel (SyFy) or PBS and it did nothing for me. So I continued to dismiss it. Then sometime in 2011, I give in. All of my friends whom I trust their tastes in television and movies just won’t shut the fuck up about Doctor Who. So I let go. But I decide to start from the new beginning. I don’t dislike it, as I thought I might. It’s certainly engaging and watchable. The special effects are crap, but the characters are likeable and relatable, the stories are fine. And then I hit the episode Father’s Day. Jesus Christ. Dad stuff. I break. I’m in for the long haul. This show is fantastic. The following episode is The Empty Child two-parter, which as it turns out is the episode I accidentally watched some years earlier. It turns out, that episode is amazing. In fact, I go back and rewatch the previous episodes. I love this show. It’s great and now I’m pissed that no one ever told me how great it was. But then, 4 episodes later, Eccleston (whom I was a fan of from movies and whatnot) was out.
Well, David Tennant turned out pretty great, and while I’ve never been as on board with Matt Giant Head No Eyebrows Smith, he’s alright too. But Christopher Eccleston is still my favorite incarnation of The Doctor (though I still have a soft spot for McGann, too). It’s a shame his tenure is so short (again, poor McGann beats him on that too) and that he apparently has so much disgust for the franchise and his time on it. But still. Nine all the way.


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    • jason on November 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    The Ninth Doctor was my first doctor too (nice likeness)! I’ve only ever watched a couple of his episodes and maybe three of the eleventh doctor episodes but last night I watched ‘An Adventure in Space and Time’ and thought it was great (you can’t go wrong with Brian Cox).

    • Jim Purcell (The Adventurer) on November 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Soft spot for McGann eh? You’ve seen this, yes?

    • Eric on November 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Jim, Oh yes.

    • Eric on November 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Jason, I also watched “Space and Time” last night.

    • Jim Purcell (The Adventurer) on November 23, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    When I was 19 or so a friend of mine loaned me a DVD copy of The a Robots of Death, a 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) series. At the time I didn’t much care for its older look and cheap sets. Needless to say it didn’t light my world on fire. A few years latter the BBC was trying to revive the Doctor Who brand by launching an animated web series staring Richard E Grant as a new Doctor. It was called Scream of the Shalka, and if you search it on google it should still be avalible to watch somewhere. This was the first Doctor Who I really liked. A few years latter Rustle T Davis would revive live action Who with Eccleston as the offical 9th Doctor. Unfortunately I sort of missed the first serie, but I could tell from the reaction online that the hype was building. I finally started watching the show with David Tennant’s Christmas special premier and have been a fan ever since.
    Since then I’ve taken the time to go back and watch the classic stuff with a new perspective. I adore the black & white era of the first 2 Doctors. In particular the adventures of Patrick Troughton, hands down my favorite Doctor.
    I still can’t seem to enjoy Tom Baker though.

    • Eric on November 24, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Netflix has some of the classic Who stuff and I tried to watch some of the Hartnell episodes and it was very difficult to get through. I’ve been hesitant to try any of the others. Though I have a curiosity about the non-canon Peter Cushing Dr. Who movies. I’d heard of the Richard Grant animated thing, but never thought to look for it.

    • Jim Purcell (The Adventurer) on November 24, 2013 at 2:04 am

    My favorite Classic Who stories are An Unearly Child (first episode), The Dalek Invasion of Earth (1st), The Time Meddler (1st), The Tomb of the Cybermen (2nd), The Invasion (2nd), and The War Games (2nd).
    They are definitely an acquired taste, and you have to be in the right mood. But its all so very charming.

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