Monday, April 15, 2013

#352, in which the merits of various Doctors are considered

I've had Doctor Who sitting in my Netflix queue for a few years now. It's one of those shows that has been recommended to me countless times by countless people, but I never quite got around to watching it. And how could I, when there was so much else to watch? (Okay, pretty much just an endless loop of Top Gear, Phineas and Ferb, and MythBusters, but you get the idea. And a little Breaking Bad briefly.) I figured it would just sit there, staring at me, making me feel guilty for not giving it a chance for another few years until I finally got up the nerve to just delete it.

Until two weeks ago, when I was sitting in the campus cafeteria holding water in my mouth, trying to keep my toothache at bay while I did the Thursday crossword (which I'd already done; it was the HOTCORNER puzzle). I looked up at one of the TV screens and saw the Doctor Who logo looking back at me. The sound was off, but the closed captioning was on, so I figured I'd give it a chance. And funnily enough, it was fairly compelling. The episode was "The Eleventh Hour," and it was the first episode with the Eleventh Doctor. He seemed nice enough. The show seemed nice enough.

So I headed home, heated up my pack of rice, stuck it on my jaw, and played the first episode in the Netflix queue. Which was the first episode with the Ninth Doctor. This was not the same man as I saw in the cafeteria. There were mannequins running around. This was not what I signed up for. I watched the full episode, but came away feeling disappointed. Until I watched the credits and found that the person playing the Doctor was someone named Christopher Eccleston. I don't know much about Doctor Who, but I do know enough to know that I'm supposed to like David Tennant the best. So I did a little more digging through the queue and found an episode in which the Doctor regenerates. Maybe this has Tennant in it! I hit play and settled in.

It wasn't Tennant, but it was the rest of the episode I had seen earlier that day in the cafeteria. I liked this Doctor much better, and ended up watching a few more episodes. And then I got the bright idea to search on Google for the seasons with Tennant in them. Turns out they're the ones sandwiched between the two Doctors I'd watched. So I watched some of his episodes. (Different day now. I know this term has been pretty easy for me, but I don't have time to watch seven and eight episodes after I get home from school. I mean, usually.) Turns out they're pretty okay, and Tamsen likes them too. So now we're Doctor Who fans, I guess.

I'm still not sure I think they're as spectacular as some people seem to think, though. They're fun, and they're clever, and they go down easily enough, but I didn't come away thinking that it's the best show ever. Just a pretty solid show. But still! Now I am one of you, Doctor Who fans. Now we can make jokes about the TARDIS and Daleks and whatever. Sonic screwdrivers! Ha.

(I was going to write a bit about the Boston Marathon attacks today and how I feel about that, but I think I'll let that cool down a bit before I write about it. Not that I have much to say, really.)


Jen said...

It's a weird show to watch because you start out so skeptical...and just when you think you love it, the Doctor goes and regenerates on you and it's a totally different show, except it's not, except it is!

Glad you're giving it a chance, though. I think you'd dig some of the older episodes. There's one where green bubble wrap is the alien villain. Quality camp, that.

Braden said...

Sorry, that was me.

Thirdmango said...

One thing to remember, like most shows the brilliance doesn't come from an episode or two, it usually comes from season arcs in which the writer decides to blow your mind. I actually started where you did with Matt Smith and watched his whole first season before I went back and watched anything else. It's only 13 episodes a season so stick to one of them and give it a go. I'd recommend you keep going on the Matt Smith stuff. Tennant is great, but seeing Moffat's writing you'll start to understand how the show is brilliant.

Katya said...

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch the episode "Blink," because I'd heard a ton about how scary and well-written it was. It's a very good episode which is technically during the 10th doctor's (Tennant's) reign, but he hardly appears in it at all. So I got a taste of the good writing, but not really of Doctor Who as a character.

But I decided to start over with that same season and now I'm enjoying it quite a bit.