I just figured I’d give a brief shoutout to Doctor Who, for turning 50 years old today! What started out as a show with theatrical actors and a budget enough to buy a Big Mac has turned into a cultural phenomenon. Why?
Well, the possibilities are seemingly endless. The Doctor can go from the end of the universe to the beginning in 5 seconds flat… that is, if he had more control of the TARDIS. The relationships between the characters are wonderful, the comedy (when present) is sublime, the drama is excellent… what more can you say?
Now, I’d figure I’d give some of my own personal opinions on my favorites and least favorites of this wonderful franchise.
- Least Favorite Serial/Story (Classic Era): Time and the Rani. What a way for the much-underrated 6th Doctor to go… a minor injury. That, a story that made no sense, and no sense of pacing (even by classic standards) were just axes in the back for an already flailing show, which was placed in a coma mere years later.
- Runners Up: The Twin Dilemma, Timelash
- Favorite Serial (Classic Era): Earthshock. Adric was not a well liked companion… and his death made the fandom weep. Add in a brilliant story, wonderful execution, and brilliant direction… a pure classic for the classics!
- Runners Up: Logopolis, The Caves of Androzani.
- Least Favorite Story (Nu-Who Era): Fear Her. This story soured my opinion on the 10th Doctor for quite a long time. The story was boring, the plot was cliche, the resolution was pants, the writing was worse, the characterisation was pathetic… it might be the worst Doctor Who story ever.
- Runners Up: Love and Monsters, Let’s Kill Hitler (Good plotline ruined by terrible writing for River).
- Favorite Story (Nu-Who): Army of Ghosts/Doomsday. I personally was never a huge fan of Rose, mainly due to the mediocre writing… and again, much like the Classics did with Adric, this serial did with Rose; it made me weep a bit. What more can you say… Daleks and Cybermen! The story was awesome and the writing was sublime… it’s just proof the Nu-Who could (and has) held up to the classics.
- Runners Up: Blink, The Name of the Doctor, An Eleventh Hour
- Least Favorite Companion: Melanie. (No, not Melody. Don’t flame me.). Melanie’s actress, Bonnie Langford, was hired simply because she could scream… a throwback to the cliche of the screaming companion. She was poorly developed, the episodes that contained her tended to be the worst… nobody was sorry when she was replaced with one of my favourite companions of all time.
- Runners Up: Adric, Peri.
- Favorite Companion: It’s a smegging tie.
- Ace. If Doctor Who was going out, it was going out with a bang… nitro-9, to be exact. Ace was the pyromaniac teenager, who’s wacky catchphrases (“Ace”? Really?) and her costume being an 80s time machine were more than offset by being the first companion to take down a Dalek. With a baseball bat. Yet, she was also deeper than she first appeared, and the final season of the classics shows her character mature. Thus resulting in Survival, which is the best way to end the show.
- Sarah Jane. One of the most loveable companions of all time, and one of the best written of all time. It says something about her when she can not only begin her time in the 70s, come back in the 80s, return for a one-off special in the 90s, and get her own show in the 2000s, ended only by Lis Sladen’s depressing death from Cancer.
- Runners Up: Martha Jones, Donna Noble, Amy Pond, The Brigadier.
- Least Favorite Villain: The Absorphomorph from Love and Monsters. I can’t be too harsh on this villain, as the character was created by a grade school student. Still, the execution was pretty awful.
- Favorite Villain: Daleks. That is all. EXTERMINATE!
- Most Overrated Doctor: The 10th Doctor. Keep in mind; I love all of the Doctors. Still, the 10th Doctor is hailed as some sort of a demigod by the fanbase. Now, I’m not saying he is bad at all; he is the quintessential geek and everyman, who just happens to be an alien. Still, a general trend in series 3 was just him whining about Rose. Understandable, but he took it to extremes.
- Most Underrated Doctor: The 7th Doctor. While he gets some of the blame for the show’s demise in the 80s, he is really overlooked. His later stories were some of the best in the show’s history, and he was the chessmaster, manipulating anything for the good of the universe. Trekkies, think Ben Sisko… but British. And less bald. He defined the “Jerk With a Heart of Gold” archetype for British dramas and science fiction.
- Least Favorite Doctor: Sorry, but I have to give this to the 6th Doctor. Again, I like the idea of a cruel doctor who slowly reveals himself to be one of the kindest people alive. He DID get better scripts and a kinder characterization in the Audiodramas. Still, in the show, he always seemed to be an egoist, tended to use violence more than other Doctors, and do we have to mention his first story, The Twin Dilemma? Again, he got better later in his run, but it was too little, too late.
And now, for the moment all of you have been waiting for. The main event. The grand reveal. The moment to define all moments. The best moment in the history of this blog. The moment that will color me for
- Favorite Doctor: The 4th Doctor. Yes, Tom Baker himself. God, I struggled to decide who was my favorite: the goofy 2nd, the childish yet mature 11th, the dark 9th, the chessmaster 7th, the sweet 5th. Ultimately, though, who else deserved this award but the quintessential Doctor himself. Tom Baker took the role in 1974, and didn’t leave until 1980. He combined that childish yet also wonderful sense of, well, wonder. He never used violence, he tried to pacify his opponents with Jelly Babies, he was brilliant, he dressed fantastically.. at this point, it would be too much to list just how perfect the writing for him was. The best part about him was, for as alien as he was, he was also very human. It never got grating (as much as like 11, he can be a bit grating.) The 4th Doctor is and (barring a meteoritic change) always will be the best Doctor.
Please don’t flame me about my choices.