Everything Wrong With Doctor Who - The Day of The Doctor

Isn’t there going to be new Red Dwarf?

One difference with Doctor Who is that it’s always aimed to have a lot of scary episodes. The challenge now is how to make enemies the Doctor has been defeating for fifty years still feel scary. So it’s noteworthy that the Eleventh Doctor has never defeated a Dalek army - notable because we know the Doctor will die in the Christmas episode.

There HAS been a new Red Dwarf, X. Dunno if another series is planned.

RD also tried a lot of different things, and there’s veritable tension in some episodes. That one of the things I always liked about it.

A question to the Dr. Who fans: given that most of the early episodes are apparently utterly lost, if someone were to want to experience the whole thing as much as possible, what would you reccommend? Is there a particular episode/year/Dr. that you think of as the first that you can possibly see? Do you consider it OK to view the fragments that remain of the earliest episodes? Or does your chronology start at a time where we still have the episodes for?

I considered trying Dr. Who at once point, but all the lost episodes make me queasy. I hate missing out. It’s bad enough the first three episodes of MST are gone as well. And at least one Chaplin movie. And “Humour Risk”, however bad it might have been. God, I hate missing things.

Cue “Endling Archive”, btw.

Red Dwarf and MST3K are comedy series. Red Dwarf has at best only flirted with “harder” sci-fi. Doctor Who has had a Doctor famous for saying “This isn’t snow - it’s ash.”, setting a very realistic and serious tone for a season that made Doctor Who famous again. …only to have him replaced by Peter Pan written for ten-year-old children. You can’t get serious about MST3K and Red Dwarf, because they never were serious to begin with.

The earlier black and white episodes of Doctor Who, were really, really long, divided into parts themselves. If you still have that much free time on your hands, then naturally you’d want to watch the Doctors first encounter with the Daleks and the Cybermen. Even these episodes weren’t that realistic, though. I wrote a critical review on 4chan about what didn’t make sense in the cybermen episode, a while back. Also, the fourth Doctor seems popular. I can’t personally tell you what for. I tried to watch some episodes, but I was put off by the lack of special effects.

I recently saw the question of where to start watching Doctor Who on another site (the article is talking about how Google celebrated the Doctor). Here are selected quotes from that comment thread (for more, visit the link):

(I also find it interesting, that of the places where I’ve seen Dr Who conversations popping up in relation to the anniversary, this is the only one that’s been mostly negative. I’ve hardly seen anything bad written about Doctor Who anywhere. But I’m not a Whovian, nor do I frequent places that talk about TV, so all such discussions I’ve seen have been on unrelated corners of the web.)

It’s not quite as bad as all that. To begin with, the first three stories (12 episodes, I think, off the top of my head?) are all still extant, so you can see where it all began. There are a lot of missing episodes - around a hundred - from the First and Second Doctors’ eras, but in every case the audio for the episode still exists. The missing episodes’ soundtracks have been released on CD with linking narration to clarify the action, so you can listen to them even if you can’t watch them.

Or if you really don’t want to encounter any gaps, you could just start watching at the beginning of the Third Doctor’s era, when the show switched from black and white to colour. All the episodes from then onwards are extant.

Thank you very much, Emerald, that clarifies it. Also it’s interesting to see that many other people consider it enough to just check some specific episodes of the “oldies” before pluging headlong into the more recent series.

Have I just started a fan-war? Not my intention. I hastily retract every mention of RD and MST.

I seem to be the only one bashing too. However, any episode that Tennant is in, is forgiven. I was cheering “I Love You, Tennant!” constantly. You certainly can’t blame the actors for the dialogue they have to stick to, or the plot. They’re like little islands of sanity, hopelessly trapped in porridge. The bad kind of porridge.

I have been 100% positive about Day of the Dr and An Adventure in Space and Time :slight_smile:

Peter, on picking up somewhere in Dr Who: I think any of the advice mentioned earlier by third parties, or by Emerald, is fine. I’ll just give you some perspective on the old episodes.

In Australia, Dr Who was a childhood staple for my generation, as it was on Mon-Fri on our national broadcaster (the ABC) somewhere between 5 and 6 for over a decade. But they never showed the black and white ones in that timeslot (I think once they ran some Troughton episodes). So we endlessly gestated on a huge loop of Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker (my fave), Peter Davison, and to a lesser extent, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy.

In 2005, after not having screened Who for years, the ABC started to run the entire show in chronological order at 6pm Monday to Friday, from the beginning, starting with Hartnell’s first episode, ending with McCoy’s last. What was skipped were the missing/damaged episodes and (ironically) most Dalek stories, because there was copyright combat with Terry Nation’s estate at the time, their attributed creator.

In spite of being in this fan club, this was the first time I’d seen 95% of the black and white ones, and it was great to do it in order and in the old style of one a day. I discovered that I loved both the first and 2nd Doctors, never having known them before. The only Dr who went down in my estimation during the re-runs was Jon Pertwee, whose snootiness suddenly wore on me as an adult.

Anyway, all I’m saying is - if you’re worried about missing episodes and such, the majority of Dr Who fans now haven’t seen them, and some of us didn’t see any black and white stuff at all for most of our lives.

I don’t doubt a show with this much material looks daunting to anyone. But I guess that’s why Dr Who fans are lucky. There’s acres of it.

My own advice is to at least dabble in anything from Peter Davison or earlier first. See what old Who was like, as aesthetically I don’t think it was like anything other than itself. I feel new Who is aesthetically like most adventure television of today.


When I watched as a kid, it was the fourth doctor. That’s the only one I knew, until I was much older.

For a while, I was Netflixing my way through what remains of the first few years of the show. I think I’ve watched every available episode with the first three doctors. I made it into the Tom Baker years and was surprised at not really recognizing any of it from when I was a kid.

Doctor Who is vast, but it’s very dip-into-able. It doesn’t have a tight continuity (just the opposite), and most of the stories stand alone and don’t need that much background knowledge to make sense. I consider myself pretty well informed about Doctor Who, but I’ve probably only seen about a third of the extant episodes.

Honestly, I wouldn’t advise trying to watch the entire Old Who before starting on New Who. Hit the highlights to begin with and see how you go. The list of episodes Trumgottist posted is pretty good. I’d also suggest The Time Warrior (introduces one of the most famous monsters and one of the most famous companions!), The Deadly Assassin (much better than the title would suggest), and The Caves of Androzani (you have to have one regeneration story, and Caves is fantastic).

Just thought I’d chuck in a link to the 40th anniversary videoclip for Orbital’s cover of the Dr Who Theme. It’s a great piece of editing and shows a compendium of material from the span of the original 7 doctors (plus a couple of glimpses the 8th) in just 3 minutes. Plus if you like explosions!.. gosh there are a lot of explosions.



So if I’m going to abandon ship on this whole series, are there any other series that mixes hard sci-fi and the vertigo of space? I guess I should look into Torchwood. I’ve already looked into Call of Cthulhu, but that’s mostly written, and don’t have time to read books.

There is something very unique in a small protagonist becoming involved with something enormous, and instead of taking it on, just having to deal with it, barely escaping it at best, but showmakers today are so rich and full of themselves, that movies and series are instead about trips of grandiosity and the 157th incarnation of Jesus. We wanted to see Anakin Skywalkers parents get massacred by stormtroopers, just like his son’s were. Instead we get politics. I blame cocaine.

Interesting discussion about Moffat’s handling of grief and consequences in his run on the show. Basically, constant reboots are bad for genuine character growth.

I never understood why a reboot was necessary, to be honest. The basic concept that allows them to change the actor who plays the Doctor should surely allow them to forego the necessity of a reboot. After all, the episodes can be always as modern as necessary, not stuck in the past, and different doctors can have different personalities, so why the reboot?

Well, first of all, they probably did it to avoid any continuity problems and start on a clean slate. After 300 or so seasons, if you make any claim about anything, it’s bound to bump into some established rule. The old show apparently tripped over its own feet all the time already, but after 900 or so years of fans being cryogenically frozen until the next season, they are going to wake up in a sour, critical mood, wanting to devour any-…
What was I talking about?
I mean they are going to be critical to if this new and improved show was all they hoped and dream about. You can’t answer to a horde of slavering Whovians out looking for blood unless you tell them that there’s no continuity to be had.

Second of all, it invites a new audience to start watching “from the beginning”. Watchers don’t want to watch season 301 of a series that nobody has heard about, because Doctor Who is confusing enough as it is. Serious watchers would have to go back to the burnt black and white episodes to find out “how it all began”, and that’s the equivalent of sending them to Mars.
…where the hungry Whovians live, so those people will probably never be seen again.

That does make sense, yes.

That was a good article, thanks Joey.

Agreed. I think it’s probably the greatest change. “Just this once” is fine because it’s precisely that, an unexpected gift. “Just what we expected,” not so fine.