Friday, June 6, 2014

Voyage through the Doctors: A Look at the First Doctor's episodes

Where else can you begin with Doctor Who than with William Hartnell?

The man who originally played The Doctor for slightly more than three full seasons laid the basic foundation for what kind of character The Doctor was going to be.

And lucky for the current fan base, he nailed it.

The Doctor created by Hartnell was able to have fun and had a sense of humor, but it was only visible after time was spent with him. When first meeting him, Hartnell's character could be seen as short-tempered, cantankerous and intolerant of B.S.

And it made him awesome. I love how this Doctor took no flack from people and made certain people understood he knew what he was doing. If he was vague, it was because he felt time would only be wasted trying to explain the concepts and engaging in what he saw as a useless debate.

He was not a fan of direct interference but knew when he had to get involved. He didn't take human rights violations well and called people out on their issues, but in most cases not until he had a full strategy planned out from start to finish.

I seriously enjoyed how much of a groove Hartnell got into with this character as the series went.

As for the season itself, one major detraction was slow action. There was not a great level of stage direction and people would just have long, drawn-out conversations that were continuously interrupted by walking and bouts of silence.

That said, when action sequences came (usually at the end of the arcs), they were great, if not way too short. The lone true exception what "The Myth Makers" where the fight lasted a nearly a full episode.

Black-and-white were a big help to the show in this early stage, as the costumes and effects definitely felt more intimidating when the over-the-top color schemes weren't visible. It also gave the show some much-needed sophistication in the early stages.

The last thing I want to note is the theme song. I've heard all the themes before and it's hard for me to say any has beaten the original mix. It's just a perfect build of tension and I think the cleanness of it really adds to its mystery and intrigue. Just my opinion, though.

Anyway, here are my top companions of the First Doctor. Keep scrolling if you don't want to see the video reviews of the companions:

RankingCompanion (First Story-Last with First Doctor)
10Sara Kingdom (Daleks Master Plan)
9Katarina (Myth Makers-Daleks Master Plan)
8Dodo Chaplet (Massacre of St. Bart's Eve-War Machines)
7Polly (War Machines-Tenth Planet)
6Steven Taylor (Chase-Savages)
5Ben Jackson (War Machines-Tenth Planet)
4Susan Foreman (Unearthly Child-Dalek Invasion of Earth)
3Barbara Wright (Unearthly Child-Chase)
2Ian Chesterton (Unearthly Child-Chase)
1Vicki (Rescue-Myth Makers)

Honestly, I enjoyed all these characters in at least one storyline, so kudos to the crew for making really strong characters that all had moments of awesomeness at one point or another.

Vicki is easily my favorite as I feel like she provided the excellent support and had solid, natural dialogue with The Doctor. To me, she is Susan done right.

Susan really should have been more interesting than she was, and I'm holding out hope that they find a way to work her back into stories.

Ian Chesterton was the obvious top male companion. He had some of the best action sequences and was capable of being of use in the science department.

Anyway, if you want more information on what I think about the companions, check out the video. Anyway, time to talk about the stories themselves.

For my full rankings of the serials, check out the video above. But here are my top 3 and bottom 3 arcs:

Top 3 (in order): Space Museum, Sensorites, Tenth Planet
Bottom 3 (worst first): Keys of Marinus, Gunfighters, Planet of Giants
Top 5 individual episodes: The Space Museum (Space Museum Part 1), The Dead Planet (Daleks Part 1), Tenth Planet Part 4, An Unearthly Child (Unearthly Child Part 1), Horse of Destruction (Myth Makers Part 4)

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