AOH :: DOCTOR01.TXT|
Remebrance of the Doctors
Doctor Who File #01: Rememberance of the Doctors
by Bryan Jenner
Has it really been twenty-five years? It seems incredible that any
show besides The Tonight Show, especially in the genre of science fiction,
could last a quarter of a century. When I sat down to think of the
staggering number 25, (a number I am now using on all lottery tickets), I
began to wonder how a series coudl reach such great heights. In other
words, just why I, and so many others, have flocked around the television
set for so many escapades.
When I mentioned the show was science fiction, I was not entirely
accurate. It is derived from science fiction, but that is only one of
its multiple aspects. Surely there is no true formula -- it is a generic
potpourri. There has been straight drama, historical drama, fantasy,
comedy, action/adventure, mystery, monsters, gothic, and combinations of
the above. The chance to paint on a blank canvas, combined with the
flexibility of being the only television show besides The Tonight Show to
change the lead successfully, is the show's power.
But which stories have been the most influencial in the series'
history? Which stories have helped the staying power survive and
flourish? I have come up with a dozen key stories which have helped
change and establish convention in the show.
First is obviously "An Unearthly Child". This is where it all began,
introducing us to the many concepts we now know: the Doctor as
wanderer, the TARDIS, the ability to time travel, and the format of
Doctor with companions. While not exactly brilliant television even for
1963, it established the basis of the show.
Next would be the following tale "The Daleks". This was the first
chance to travel to a foreign planet, and it introduced the title
characters: the Doctor's greatest enemies and the scourge of the
Third would be "The Tenth Planet", for two reasons. Again it delivered
a new foe, the Cybermen, but more importantly it carried with it the
concept of the regeneration which is now a fact and characteristic of the
"The Invasion", besides being the only eight part (wow!) has the
meritous distinction of being the first true UNIT story and paved the
way for the third Doctor/UNIT marriage of the early Seventies.
Following this is "The War Games". Although it was way too long and
sufferingly boring, the second Doctor's finale gave us an explanation for
his travels and the beloved Time Lords. Gallifrey was not explicitly
named so the legend and mythology concerning the Doctor's race and
ancestors was not born.
Groundbreaking story six is "Terror of the Autons" since it provided
Doctor Who with the most personalised enemy of the Doc yet -- the Master.
He was an enemy of the mightiest glory, haunting many of the third and
fifth Doctor's tales.
Following this is "The Three Doctor's". This showed us that more
than one Doctor can be present in a single episode, and three were, more
or less. This changed convention, because from now on Doctors would meet
Doctors three more times.
Eight is "Genesis of the Daleks", one of the best Dalek stories and
the debut of, in my opinion, the second best character in the show, Davros.
The evil Kaled scientist is so gross, so disreputable, and so brilliant
yet so warped that you can't help but like the guy. This one single
character has been side by side with the Daleks for the last fifteen
years, and this shows the creativity and demand of the character.
We wait a while until "The Leisure Hive", simply because it is so
different in aim, style, and production quality to the preceding,
though equally entertaining "The Horns of Nimon". But because the
direction of the show changed so abruptly, one cannot overlook the
eighteenth season's premiere.
The twentieth anniversary special "The Five Doctors" displayed more
of the multi-Doctor syndrome and helped establish that Time Lords are
corruptable even more than "The Deadly Assassin" that brings together
so many enemies, companions, and Doctors so successfully?
For production reason again, I nominate "Ressurection of the Daleks",
the first serial to be shown in double-length parts. This would pave
the way for season twenty-two's less then ideal implementation of the
Last, but not least, has got to be the most controversial story ever,
"The Trial of a Time Lord". Although many substories in one, it is
definately one complete adventure, and the lengthiest ever. It also
changed the style back to a more comedic one, and challenged viewers to
accept a future, evil Doctor. Most importantly, it restored controversy
over what is what and who is who. That is what a series twenty-five
years old is all about.
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