...that is, as a fan of Doctor Who. I just completed the 5th series. The first episode
looked good on the face of it...but then, it got really really foolish. Airfoil planes flying
in a vacuum. The doc holding Amy by the arm out the Tardis door--in space.
And that episode during WWII with the Daleks, it was just too serious--the London Blitz--
for such a flippant story treatment.
That is, until..."vincent and the doctor". WOW, incredible...they could have lost the
monster plot and it still would be exquisite. In fact I was quite moved, as any artist
worth his salt would like to see what his legacy would be, posthumously.
From then on, it was all good. The doctor--Matt--is a well balanced character,
and I THINK they've compensated for the manic pace somewhat. That last double
episode was a real corker. Anyway, I still have reservations about calling it Doctor
Who, but at least now I enjoy it. There's a definite "wonderment' factor in the
I'm sure it's mostly due to new producer(s).
P.S.; am I wrong or was David Bowie supposed to be in this series? I read that somewhere online...
he made a joke about not doing it if he had to go into hours of alien makeup.
Anyway, as i was watching "the Lodger", I was sure he'd be "the Lodger", simply because
that's also the name of one of his albums. Maybe the story was intended for him, but
due to other things going on, he couldn't make it in? Hmm.
Well, since having wasted my time on series six, I'm off any new Who FOREVER.
What really killed it for me, was the boredom of every story until the absolutely ridiculous
"Let's Kill Hitler"; which seemed to have been written by two schoolgirls who'd gotten into the liquor cabinet.
Utterly stupifyingly absurd.
I'll check in to read Baff's updates for sure...but I've comletely had it with that newer mess.
Heh. As much as I'd love to tell you that you are wrong, I have a hard time finding much good to say about the current doctor. I don't hate the show as it is now, but I am often disappointed at the silliness and the simplistic solutions to the stories.
That aside, I am still looking forward to see what they do next year for the 50th anniversary.
Well, this doc doesn't bother me. Aside from simplistic solutions--the simplistic plot asides are getting very annoying. bringing up the doctor's past--they invent that as they go along, and as usual it keeps getting convoluted.
It seems in every episode we have to endure another moment where he hugs Amy and we have to get his reaction...how meaningful.
I still like the old Tardis interior, as well.
And yes, I did mind when they turned Doctor Who into a chick flick. (soap opera?)
I'll just go back to running through the cycle--pre Eccleston. Plenty to love there. (Well, maybe not all of MacCoy's era...)
whatev...I do enjoy your Who release reports Baff...but Netflix is a sad shadow of it's former self when it come to DVD rentals. Recently with items in my queue, the top five were all "very long wait". Half of those weren't even new, recent movies. and many others were "short wait". so I'm not sure how long I'll remain a member....
Haven't they always made up the Doctor's past as they went along?
Sorry you don't like it... I think the last two seasons are among the best.
I found this online, if you're a Who fan you might enjoy it:
(as transcribed from my yellowish copy of "Doctor Who and the Loch Ness
Monster" by Terrance Dicks, copyright 1976 by Terrance Dicks and Robert
Banks Stewart. Introduction copyrighted 1979 by Harlan Ellison.)
Introducing Doctor Who
amenities performed by Harlan Ellison
They could not have been more offended, confused, enraged and
startled....There was a moment of stunned silence...and then an eruption
of angry voices from all over the fifteen-hundred-person audience. The
kids in their Luke Skywalker pajamas (cobbled up from older brother's
castoff karate *gi*) and the retarded adults spot-welded into their
Darth Vader freight-masks howled with fury. But I stood my ground, there
on the lecture platform at the World Science Fiction Convention, and I
repeated the heretical words that had sent them into animal hysterics:
"_Star Wars_ is adolescent nonsense; _Close Encounters_ is
obscurist drivel; _Star Trek_ can turn your brains into puree of bat
guano; and the greatest science fiction series of all time is _Doctor
Who_! And I'll take you all on, one-by-one or all in a bunch to back it
Auditorium monitors moved in, truncheons ready to club down anyone
foolish enough to try jumping the lecture platform, and finally there
was relative silence. And I head scattered voices screaming from the
back of the room,"Who?" And I said, "Yes. Who!"
(It was like that old Abbott and Costello routine: Who's on first?
No, Who's on third; What's on first.)
After a while we got it all sorted out and they understood that
when I said Who I didn't mean *whom*, I meant Who....Doctor Who...the
most famous science fiction character on British television. The
renegade Time Lord, the far traveler through Time and Space, the sword
of justice from the planet Gallifrey, the scourge of villians and
monsters the galaxy over. The one and only, the incomparable, the
bemusing and bewildering Doctor Who, the humanistic defender of Good and
Truth, whose exploits put to shame those of Kimball Kinnison, Captain
Future and pantywaist nerds like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker.
My hero! Doctor Who!
For the American reading (and television-viewing) audience (and in
this sole, isolated case I hope they're one and the same) _Doctor Who_
is a new factor in the equation of fantastic literature. Since 1963 the
Doctor and his exploits have been a consistent element of British
culture. But we're only now being treated to the wonderful universes of
Who here in the States. For those of us who were exposed to both the TV
series on BBC and the long series of _Doctor Who_ novels published in
Great Britian, the time of solitary proselytizing is at an end. All we
need to do now is thrust a Who novel into the hands of the
unknowlegable, or drag the unwary to a TV set and turn it on as the good
Doctor goes through his paces. That's all it takes. Try this book and
I envy you your first exposure to this amazing conceit. And I wish
you the same delight I felt when Michael Moorcock, the finest fantasist
in the English-speaking world, sat me down in front of his set in
London, turned on the telly, and said, "Now be quiet and just watch."
That was in 1975. And I've been hooked on "Doctor Who" ever since.
Understand: I despise television (having written it for sixteen years)
and I spend much of my time urging people to bash in their picture tubes
with Louisville Sluggers, to free themselves of the monster of coaxial
cable. And so, you must perceive that I speak of something utterly
extraordinary and marvelous when I suggest you watch the "Doctor Who"
series in whatever syndicated slot your local station has scheduled it.
You must recognize that I risk all credibility for furture exhortations
by telling you *this* TV viewing will not harm you...will, in fact,
delight and uplift you, stretch your imagination, tickle your
risibilities, flense your intellect of all lesser visual sf
affectations, improve your disposition and clean up your zits. What I'm
saying here, case you're a *yotz* who needs things codified simply and
directly, is that "Doctor Who" is the apex, the pinnacle, the tops, the
Louvre Museum, the tops, the Colisuem, and other etcetera.
Now to give you a few basic facts about the Doctor, to brighten
your path through this nifty series of lunatic novels.
He is a Time Lord: one of that immensely wise and powerful
super-race of alien beings who, for centuries unnumbered, have watched
and studied all of Time and Space with intellects (as H.G. Wells put it)
vast and cool and unsympathetic. Their philosophy was never to interfere
in the affairs of alien races, merely to watch and wait.
But one of their number, known only as the Doctor, found such
inaction anathema. As he studied the interplay of great forces in the
cosmos, the endless wars and invasions, the entropic conflict between
Good and Evil, the rights and lives of a thousand alien life-forms
debased and brutalized, the wrongs left unrighted...he was overcome by
the compulsion *to act*! He was a renegade, a misfit in the name of
And so he stole a TARDIS and fled.
Ah, yes. The TARDIS. That most marvelous device for spanning the
Time-lines and traversing all of known/unknown Space. The name is an
acronym for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space. Marvelous! An amazing
machine that can change shape to fit in with any locale in which it
materializes. But the TARDIS stolen from his fellow Time Lords by the
Doctor was in for repairs. And so it was frozen in the shape of its
first appearance: a British police call box. Those of you who have been
to England may have seen such call boxes. (There are very few of them
currently, because the London "bobbies" now have two-way radio in their
patrol cars; but before the advent of that communications system the
tall, dark blue street call box--something like our old fashioned wooden
phone booth--was a familiar sight in the streets of London. If a police
officer needed assistance he could call in directly from such a box, and
if the station house wanted to get in touch with a copper they could
turn on the big blue light atop the box and its flashing would attract a
Further wonder: the outward size of the TARDIS does not reveal its
relative size *inside*. The size of a phone booth outwardly, it is
enormous within, holding many sections filled with the Doctor's
Unfortunately, the stolen TARDIS needed more repairs than just the
fixing of its shape-changing capabilities. Its steering mechanisim was
also wonky, and so the Doctor could never be certain that the
coordinates he set for time and place of materializing would be correct.
He might set a course for the planet Karn...and wind up in Victorian
London. He migh wish to relax at an intergalactic pleasure resort...and
pop into existence in Antarctica. He might lay a course for the deadly
gold mines of Voga...and appear in Renaissance Italy.
It makes for a chancy existence, but the Doctor takes it all
unflinchingly. As do his attractive female traveling companions, whose
liasons with the Doctor are never sufficiently explicated for those of
us with a nasty, suspicious turn of mind.
The Doctor *looks* human and, apart from his quirky way of
thinking, even *acts* human most of the time. But he is a Time Lord, not
a mere mortal. He has two hearts, a stable body temperature of 60
[degrees], and--not to stun you too much--he's approximately 750 years
old. Or at least he was that age when the first of he 43 _Doctor Who_
novels was written. God (or Time Lords) only know how old he is now!
Only slightly less popular than the good Doctor himself are his
arch-foes and the distressing alien monsters he battles through the
pages of these wild books and in phosphor-dot reality on your TV
screens. They seem endless in their variety: the Vardans, the Oracle,
Fendahl, the virus swarm of the Purpose, The Master, the Tong of the
Black Scorpion, the evil brain of Morbius, the mysterious energy force
known as the Mandragora Helix, the android clone Kraals, the Zygons, the
Cybermen, the Ice Warriors, the Autons, the spore beast called the
Krynoid and--most deadly and menacing of them all--the robot threat of
Created by mad Davros, the great Kaled scientist, the
pepper-pot-shaped Daleks made such an impression in England when they
were first introduced into the series that they became a cultural
artifact almost immediately. Movies have been made about them, toys have
been manufactured of Daleks, coloring books, Dalek candies, soaps,
slippers, Easter eggs and even special Dalek fireworks. They rival the
Doctor for the attention of a fascinated audience and they have been
brought back again and again during the fourteen years the series has
perpetuated itself on BBC television; and their shiveringly pleasurable
manifestations have not been confined just to England and America.
Doctor Who and the Daleks have millions of rabid fans in over thirty
countries around the world.
Like the three ficitional characters *every* nation knows--Sherlock
Holmes, Tarzan and Superman--Doctor Who seems to have a universal
Let me conclude this paean of praise with these thoughts: hating
_Star Wars_ and "Star Trek" is not a difficult chore for me. I recoil
from that sophomoric species of creation that excuses its simplistic
cliche structure and homage to the transitory (as does does _Star Wars_)
as violently as I do from that which sententiously purports to be deep
and intellectual when it is, in fact, superficial self-conscious twaddle
(as does "Star Trek"). This not to say that I am an ivory tower
intellect whose doubledome can only support Proust or Descartes. When I
was a little kid, and was reading everything I could lay hands on, I
read the classics with joy, but enjoyed equally those works I've come to
think of as "elegant trash": the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, The
Shadow, Doc Savage, Conan, comic books and Uncle Wiggly. They taught me
a great deal of what I know about courage and truth and ethic in the
To that list I add _Doctor Who_. His adventures are sunk to the
hips in humanisim, decency, solid adventures and simple good reading.
They are not classics, make no mistake. They can never touch the
illuminative level of Dickens or Mark Twain or Kafka. But they are solid
entertainment based on an understanding of Good and Evil in the world.
They say to us, "You, too, can be Doctor Who. You, like the Doctor, can
stand up for that which is bright and bold and true. You can shape the
world, if you'll only go and try."
And they do it in the form of *all* great literature...the cracking
good, well-plotted adventure yarn. They are direct lineal heirs to the
adventures of Rider Haggard and Talbot Mundy, of H.G. Wells and Jules
Verne, of Mary Shelley and Ray Bradbury. They are worth your time.
And if you give yourself up to the Doctor's winsome ways, he will
take substance and reality in your imagination. For that reason, for the
inestimable goodness and delight in every _Doctor Who_ adventure, for
the benefits he proffers, I lend my name and my urging to read and watch
I don't think you'll do less than thank me for shoving you down
with this book in your hands and telling you...here's Who. Meet the
The pleasure is all mine. And all yours, kiddo.
I wonder what he thinks of the new series.
I haven't read anything from Ellison on the new Dr. Who series. He may have gone pretty much into retirement. I would think in some ways he might like it, but like a lot of old time fans, probably a bit disenchanted with it as well, for some of the reasons that's on the Dr. Who board here. It took me a while to get into Smith (and I still find those hit and miss) and Tennant as well.
Well, David, we're in good company in liking classic Who, if Harlan liked--at least the novelization(s). So when some incompetent boob producer gets hired and trashes the whole 20 plus year history of a beloved fictional character with a total revamping of said history--and not for the better--I take offence. (BTW after religiously watching all "sequels" of Trek on TV
between TOS and Enterprise, I'm still a fan of both of those series. The stuff in between was just Trek flavored. I like the original Star Wars before Lucas went nuts and toyed with history.)
Doctor Who never needed "updating", IMO. Some of the SFX in the new "Series" are way beyond what used to be, and sometimes that's good. But it's the STORIES that should count.
That was what made the old Who brilliant; some of those stories were so damn clever, it didn't matter if the production values were low--well, most of the time. Everything is topsy turvy, even in current Hollywood sci-fi movies. The might look good, but the "comic book" ethos has taken over and there's very little serious sci-fi being made.
But my above complaint still stands. In fact, after the first couple of "Series" I realized I was no longer watching Doctor Who...just a sad reflection with better effects.
Yes, Sevenstars, they did make up the Doc's past as they went along, but it was rarely HIS personal past. they might change some nemesis to fit a reason to bring them back, but they almost always left the Doc alone...it creates MYSTERY. And that's that.
You sure we watched the same show Dawg? They made up everything as they went along, including the Doctor's personal past--and things didn't always make sense together. See the "past lives" in The Brain of Morbius for a glaring example that fans are still trying to explain away today. It's the nature of a serial program, especially back then when there was no home video and the shows weren't even meant to be kept around or watched again.
Sevenstars--I think Dawg meant that when Dr. Who originally aired they didn't have a full blown cannon or origin of the character mapped out of Dr. Who, and they just took the concept and ran with it. Whenever they painted themselves in a corner, they try to explain that away somehow, and perhaps with the ep. The Brain of Morbius, they wouldn't be able to do that, some eps. just weren't up to par back then either.
At any rate, I agree with most of what Dawg said, and can you imagine if the newer series weren't so manic, and more story oriented, WITH the updated effects how much more effective they'd be. Presently I just try and watch the new series and have warmed up some to the Smith characterization, but it's still a bit too fast paced, manic, and silly for me most of the time. That said though, that type storytelling might appeal a lot to someone else.
Yeah, Sevenstars, I agree, there have been "inconsistencies" in the doc's history in the past. But NOW they make up a new element EVERY FEW MINUTES, it seems.Despite Who being originally intended for kids, it had enough pizazz to entertain adults. The new stuff is geared toward adults--romance, etc.--but it just got way too juvenile for me.
Just watched "The Curse of Fenrick", with McCoy as the doc. Those few end stories were the start of this manic pacing, even then. And that's why I hold the McCoy stories-not all-just the last few, in low esteem, compared to previous. It's just an excuse for bad writing, or actually, NO writing. And as we all know, improvisation has a 50/50 chance of flopping. The second to last installment of Fenric felt like padding. The next most important thing you should know is...but then it's actually not...ad nauseam...