Wish I knew Dr. Who Better…

I used to watch a lot of Dr. Who as a kid. I remember being very freaked out by a few episodes in the Tom Baker years – the best years in my mind – but I’ve since lost track of the many seasons that followed.

I remember enjoying the storytelling of the old episodes, but I still haven’t had a chance to re-watch them to see what it’s like now – but I’m curious to see some new ones after reading this post from RM Haskell, as to how far it’s slipped. But ultimately, what’s most interesting to me is her points on storytelling – which I think are true for fiction whether it’s on TV or the page.

So, any Dr. Who fans out there?

12 thoughts on “Wish I knew Dr. Who Better…

  1. I read that article and I completely agree with everything she says. Moffat wrote a couple of amazing episodes that really stood out in earlier seasons (where the head writer was Russell T. Davies).

    Then he took over as head writer, and ended up writing much like Russell T. Davies (a lot of camp absurdity, over-use of techniques and contradiction, as RM says).

    That’s the reason I’m not particularly interested anymore in the transition to ‘new Doctor’ – but also why I wasn’t fazed by the 11th doctor (as many others were) because I knew it wasn’t ‘Matt Smith’s Doctor’ that was bad, it was the storytelling. As a result I think Peter Capaldi will suffer just as much if the storytelling doesn’t improve. Characters are only as good as the stories they’re in, and actors can only work with what they’re given..

    Moffat seemed a better writer when he was commissioned to write the odd one or two. Much like how Neil Gaiman’s episodes feel better in the Moffat-as-head-writer era (he’s written one per season or something like that).

    Having said all that: as RM says, I *highly* recommend watching at least the episode ‘Blink’, which is from a couple of years ago when the Doctor was the 10th, David Tennant. Just superb story-telling, and the introduction of a villain (over-used by Moffat since) which, in its nature, also provides an amazing plot device for the story.

    ‘Blink’ might not be a great example of the modern Doctor Who (it very well might disappoint you if you go on to watch others), but it’s excellent as a standalone ep.

    Cheers from another poet and Doctor Who fan (I found you some while back via Graham Nunn’s site) πŸ™‚

    • Hi Miguel, great to have you visit, and thanks for the great comment too!
      I like Tennant, so I will definitely add ‘Blink’ to my list, thank you! I found myself surprised that Peter was someone I recognised from Midsomer Murders, which is cool. I agree, without strong storytelling, doesn’t quite matter who move into the Dr’s shoes, huh?

      Jumping over to your site now, looking forward to a read!

  2. Loved the Tom Baker years! And like you I just lost track after that. To be honest, I’m not sure I can remember a whole lotβ€”I’ve been meaning to catch up on new episodes and re-watch old ones, but never seem to get around to it. ^_^

  3. Responding to the Dr. Who fan-call.

    I actually came into the series as a teenager when Christopher Eccleston portrayed the doctor. Watching the new ones has made me increasingly interested in the classic episodes. I’ve started with Tom Baker (due to Sarah Jane Smith) and have moved into Jon Pertwee.

    The things mentioned about season five Moffat in the article you referenced are something that I felt while watching the new episodes cold, with no classic who context, but the article doesn’t mention other rather good things that Moffat does. There are story-strengths sacrificed while watching what Moffat writes, but there are also different story-strengths gained. Cyclical storytelling, connecting characters, extremely varied personalities, strong (albeit sometimes cartoonishly strong) women, and so on. Now, the episodes written solely by Mark Gatiss and others, I can’t speak for. I don’t enjoy those as much. Neil Gaiman? Good lord, yes. Those are perfect.

    I do like how RM acknowledges that it is a show about change. There were some excellent points there. I just still say that Moffat is worth watching, if you acknowledge that it’s definitely not going to have the same story-strengths.

    • Hi Dorothy, thanks for the great comment!
      The connecting characters sounds great especially, any suggestions of which eps to try? πŸ™‚ And tell me more about the cartoonishly strong women? That sounds interesting
      Aside from the Neil ones, which would have to be awesome, huh?

  4. I may be showing my age here, but the Jon Pertwee episodes really did it for me. Tom baker was brilliant as well, but like you A, I have completely lost touch with the Doctor.

  5. great post Ashley – I have had the same experience as you (though I’m older and like Graham watched Jon Pertwee at the beginning – and it used to scare the bejeesus out of me as a little kid) – I wondered why my interest had dropped off (even though I keep saying to myself that I want to get back into the show) – this makes perfect sense – the story telling has indeed dropped off. I’m still a fan though and have a model tardis to prove it – hahaha πŸ™‚

    • Thanks! Fantastic – jealous of your tardis! πŸ™‚
      I have to watch a new episode soon to see how I feel about it, I’d also love to see an older one too to compare my memories. I seem to recall a watery/vampire kinda one that terrified me as a kid. Hmmm…

  6. There’s a good selection of Doctor Who episodes from Series 3 on ABC iview at the mo, including the much lauded ‘Blink’. No excuse now for missing it, Ash πŸ™‚

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