04
Oct
09

Season 01: Reflections

After completing the first season of Doctor Who, I am excited to continue on. I really enjoy most of the stories, although a few of them are a bit long. I can understand why the show continued, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t know what made the show stick around for 25 more seasons. I’m sure the show’s mythology is not entirely developed (in fact, I know it hasn’t), and as it does I may start to understand the show’s longevity a little bit more. One thing I can’t comment on is the level of the show’s popularity. Is/was Doctor Who a much-loved British show? Was it something that millions watched every week and was an event? Like, say, Cheers in the United States, which was of course a comedy that lasted 11 years. I’m not even sure I can think of anything that is similar here, other than perhaps a soap opera. Those are much-loved by those who watch them and some last decades. But it still isn’t the same.

What I like best about the show is that it doesn’t take itself very seriously. They were clearly working to create a show that was to be taken seriously, but it did not necessarily take itself seriously. The line flubs throughout the season seemed evidence to me that they enjoyed the show. It wasn’t so much like work for them. While at times it was a little annoying that the lines were messed up, most of the flubs were not major.

If it were not for the incessant screaming coming from Susan, I found the cast rather likable on the whole.  Later in the seaso, Barbara started to step up and come into her own. Ian manages to keep the Doctor sane, which is important. The Doctor is definitey my favorite character, however. His cantankerousness is priceless and his sense of curiousity, if slightly trying when it comes to needlessly endangering his friends and family, drives a lot of the show’s drama. If he hadn’t wanted to see their city, the Daleks wouldn’t exist. If he didn’t insist on looking around even after meeting the dirty little boy, no one would have been arrested. And then Susan. She has so much potential to be an intriguing character that could probably drive a few stories dedicated to her in some way. But instead she’s left to be wimpy and screamy. Hopefully her character is refined a little more in the second season.

To sum up my feelings on Season One: Very good, but not great. It made me look forward to Season Two, but mostly to see the mythology mature, not necessarily because I can’t wait for more stories. The stories all follow pretty much the same plot, and I don’t expect that to change much (at least not for a while). I’m interested to learn more about the Doctor’s home planet. I’m also curious as to why he and Susan are travelling around, why they left home to begin with and why they haven’t gone back. Is the TARDIS totally broken or does the Doctor just not know how to control it? Do Ian and Barbara make it home?

I’d like to thank those of you who have read this blog. I’m not sure if anyone is reading regularly or coming back now and then or if it’s once and done, but thank you anyway. I am looking forward to Season Two and will be here to share it with you.

Favorite Story: The Sensorites

Least Favorite Story: The Edge of Destruction

Best Villain: Tegana

Worst Villain: Rubber Suit Guys in the Keys of Marinus

Biggest Question: What’s the deal with the TARDIS?

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3 Responses to “Season 01: Reflections”


  1. 1 Jules
    6.October.09 at 6:11 am

    Hi jacob1480,

    Found your thread through BBC America forums – just wanted to say keep up the good work reviewing all these episodes! It must be a real treat to see all of them online; I tend to rely on watching dvd’s and watching at random.

    Coming from Britain, I can confirm that Doctor Who is a very popular show – it has always been perfect Saturday Night Entertainment for all the family to enjoy.

    In my opinion, the key to its success is versatility. I don’t want to spoil you as you’re starting from scratch, but when there are cast changes, the dynamic changes. People in one group will do or say things that you could never imagine another group doing, and it is that ability to change and adapt to new circumstances that has kept Doctor Who in the public consciousness for so long.

    I also guarantee that there is no uniform favourite cast among Doctor Who fans – everyone will like different casts and episodes for different reasons and that’s part of the joy – being able to make the case for something or someone you don’t like or do like and then reviewing the episodes again with different perspectives.

    I think what also helps Doctor Who is the mythology which will be developed as you continue watching – when viewers were tiring of the show from around 25th season onwards, the mythology allowed the show to be benched and to be brought back when it was ready. Personally though, as much as I enjoy the new series, I don’t think it compares to the classic series – it lacks its creativity and relies too much on emotional manipulation. Plus Russell T Davies simply cannot do finales.

    I would advise you to be patient of learning about the Doctor’s origins – you’re not going learn that for some time yet and even then, it will still be developing in the 15th season. But that’s another beauty about Doctor Who – it’s the one show where you can rewrite the rules and not care about it.

    But you’ve got some treats to look forward to – you’ll be watching the Time Meddler soon which is my favourite Hartnell story so far and you’ll be watching Hartnell give a wonderfully moving speech at the end of one serial where one of the characters depart (in good circumstances, of course).

    So keep watching and enjoy!

  2. 2 jacob1480
    6.October.09 at 9:17 am

    Jules,

    Thank you very much for the comment! I’ve enjoyed watching and writing about each story. It’ll be nice to be able to go back through my posts. Most of the stories I am watching on DVD, it is only those that are not available that I am downloading.

    It’s good to learn a little bit of “viewing” history of the show, the way that cast changes change the show and such. It’s strange that it airs Saturday night…Saturday night is usually death for television shows here in the US. I’m not even sure I can remember one that stuck around for long on Saturday.

    It’s a little disappointing to know that the Doctor’s home isn’t really explored until season 15. But, the main reason it’s so intriguing to me is because of references I’ve seen on various sites and message boards about the show. I have this need to know what they’re talking about. But, I suppose I will just have to be patient.

    I’ve actually already seen the departure of one cast member, I just haven’t gotten around to writing about the first two stories of season 2. It was a surprisingly touching moment given that the show was only a year old, and character departures after that amount of time aren’t usually given much treatment. Maybe because the cast is so small, it has a greater impact.

    I’ll remember your recommendation of the Time Meddler, I’ve seen it on the list of upcoming stories. I’ll expect great things!

    Thanks again for the comment and thanks for reading!

    Jacob

  3. 3 Jules
    6.October.09 at 1:04 pm

    Jacob,

    In the UK, Saturday is a big night when it comes to TV – it’s when the families come together and sit around the TV, and there is something for everyone – either reality tv like X Factor or Strictly Come Dancing or big spectacle dramas like Dr Who, Primeval, Merlin etc.

    Last season’s finale of New Who scored nearly 10 million viewers on a Saturday night. Small numbers compared to US audiences, but extremely impressive numbers for UK; most shows would be lucky to get even half of that.

    You will not have to wait as long as season 15 to find out all about the Doctor; at the end of season 6 there is a magnificent 10 part story which begins to answer questions about the Doctor, who he is and where he comes from and more about his people, leading to quite a sad and disturbing season finale.

    Season 14 and 15 will continue to add to this, but I suspect you’ll be satisfied enough to wait for those seasons. Even Time Meddler begins to shed some light – but it still raises more questions than answers.


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About These Adventures

This blog exists to document my trip through over 30 seasons of the British science fiction television show Dr. Who. Prior to beginning, I had never seen a single episode of Dr. Who and will be learning the show's mythology and experiencing it all for the first time. I began sometime in July of 2009. Hopefully it doesn't take me over 30 years to reach the end.

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