So I’ve been watching Doctor Who.
Back on 12/12/12 I wrote:
By the time of the third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, I think things were generally much improved. Being in color helped, too. I think I’ve probably seen one or a couple of Pertwee serials, maybe. … I decided it’s now time I went through all of them, so I’ve started doing that.
Once I’m done I’d like to revisit the whole fourth Doctor run.
… Maybe eventually I’ll catch up on [Peter Davison] and the later Doctors too. What the heck, that’s only about 20 years of broadcasts to get through.
Well, I’ve done that. All the Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy serials of the classic series, and the Paul McGann 1996 TV movie.
This was my first viewing for all but a few of the Pertwee serials, most of the Tom Bakers, and a few of the Peter Davisons. Nothing I saw changed my thinking of Tom Baker as my favorite of the classic Doctors, with Jon Pertwee second. And it was saddening to see things go downhill from there. Davison’s Doctor was okay, if bland and feckless. Colin Baker’s I thought was thoroughly unlikeable, though his second series was better than his first. The seventh Doctor was a better character, but the writing and direction became astonishingly bad. Several of the serials in McCoy’s last season were remarkable for their total incoherence; it seemed the writers had about five or six totally unrelated ideas per serial and couldn’t manage to turn any of them into a good or even comprehensible story. (Vikings and Nazis and Russians and monsters and a computer scientist and a Mystery Baby we all figured out long before the characters did, for instance. In one serial. With no plot.)
And now, exactly nine months later, I’ve just finished watching the McGann movie and, wow. What bunch of Hollywood yahoos made this generic, charmless, dreadful American TV movie and then claimed it had anything to do with Doctor Who? Aside from the TARDIS and the Sonic Screwdriver, it had almost no connection with the classic series. It certainly had none of the qualities of humor, wonder, and heart the series did, pretty much always, even in many of its worst moments. And it was all so thoroughly, completely American, Hollywood American, aside from Paul McGann’s accent.
Gack. I think I’m going to have to watch about, oh, let’s say eight seasons of the new series to make up for it.