Classic Rewatch: The Three Doctors

Typically, we use this lead-in moment to identify some sort of parallel between the classic story we’ve been returning to, and the daily lives we lead. Sometimes, it’s the connection between the television adventure, and our own socio-political climate. Perhaps a dissertation on the disparity between the haves and the have-nots. It could even be a study on the way we deal with trauma, near-death experiences, or the futility of war.

And sometimes, we throw all that aside, and say, “daaaang, kids, that was a load of fun”.

This week, we’re thrilled to sit back and enjoy the tenth anniversary episode of the classic Doctor Who run, “The Three Doctors”. With so many momentous aspects of these four episodes, from firsts to lasts, it could be so beloved based on those merits alone, The fact that it’s a wholly entertaining and engaging story to boot makes it that much more of a near-perfect viewing. Hoist on those gigantic helmets, and will a few couch-side snacks into existence, because this is a fantastic one to enjoy over and over.

EXTRA: A little preview of our upcoming live recording at LI Who 5, where we’ll be playing “Two Whos and a Lie” with our audience!

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A Wise Person Once Said…

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There once was a campaign in the United States for an investment broker, where the tagline read, “When <company> talks, everyone listens.” You may not have an iota of interest in the stock market, of course, but when the Doctor steps forward, takes a strengthening breath, and begins an oration, the viewing audience joins the supporting cast in rapt attention to what is about to be said. It may even be argued that within the past 3 series, the opportunities for and occurrences of these monologues are steadily increasing — much to our fascination.

This week, Keir and Haley tour a series of the Doctor’s most impactful speeches, from short but sweet consolations to a distraught listener, to the arms-wide, sermon-on-the-mount powerhouses that hold armies at bay, and give would-be gods reason to take heed. We discuss the apparent rise in the breadth and content of these speeches, and the adept way that Doctor Who writers have historically written to the strengths of each actor portraying the titular role.

Some referenced moments for your research:

  • First Doctor to Susan, in “Dalek Invasion of Earth”
  • Second Doctor to Victoria, in “Tomb of the Cybermen”
  • Third Doctor to Jo Grant, in “The Time Monster” (thanks to Ian for the suggestion!)
  • Fourth Doctor to Sarah Jane, in “Genesis of the Daleks”
  • Sixth Doctor to the Valeyard and Inquisitor, in “Trial of a Timelord”
  • Ninth Doctor to Rose, in “Parting of the Ways”
  • Tenth Doctor soliloquy, in “The Waters of Mars”
  • Eleventh Doctor to the assembled armada, in “The Pandorica Opens”
  • Twelfth Doctor to Bonnie, in “The Zygon Inversion”

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Classic Rewatch: The Tenth Planet

The Tenth Planet

There are quality science fiction stories, and there are iconic ones. When you have a story that not only provides the origin of a terrifying adversary that persists for over forty years to follow, but simultaneously presents the viewers with the departure of their principal actor, to be replaced in a most unprecedented fashion by another individual in the same role — but somehow yet to be explained within the script — you’re on to something legendary.

 

Closing the Hartnell chapter on our classic Doctor Who rewatch, we end on “The Tenth Planet”, the Cyberman origin story, and a wholly entertaining story from the legendary Kit Pedler. We bid an emotional farewell to our First Doctor, discuss the merits of “Mondas Cybermen” versus “modern Cybermen”, praise the virtues of the quintessential ‘angry military leader’ and ‘exasperated scientific advisor’, and demand that Polly get to do more than fetch coffee, damnit. #teampolly

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Classic Rewatch: The War Machines

The War Machines

Technology is an amazing thing. To think that over the span of little more than 60 years, we’ve gone from “supercomputers” the size of an office building, to one that can fit in your skinny jeans’ pocket, is really incredible when you stop to think about it. Decades ago, the only really powerful processing machines were in the hands of either universities, or the military, and the first thing they thought to do was to harness their collective power by finding some way to link them together, to allow a fuller scope of their reach, and ability, and control, and domain… (Wait. Are we talking about Doctor Who here, or the first Terminator movie?

This week, our GPR team foolishly boots up WOTAN to rewatch the Hartnell serial, “The War Machines”. With last moments spent with a brainwashed Dodo, and incoming (unexpected) companions Polly and Ben, there’s literally terror on the streets of London, as the metal fist-wielding, death-steam belching war machines play havoc with the British populace, at least until an electromagnetic wrestling ring can be constructed around one. Our esteemed First Doctor feels right at home as an impromptu field general, and shows sides of his complex persona we may not witness again until his Third visage is put in play. Seem a little unusual? It certainly is, and we’re right in the thick of it to enjoy the highs and the lows of this rather unorthodox classic story.

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Classic Rewatch: The Gunfighters

The Gunslingers

We’ve been waiting for this for some time, and not for the reasons you might think. This third season classic story, the first set in the United States, and the first of only a few attempts at a “western” theme, has had its share of maligns and put-downs. Well frankly, we think those yella-bellied nay-sayin’ so-and-sos are just doin’ it wrong. Viewed in the right light, it’s a perfectly enjoyable (and at times, outright comedic) romp, and as we discuss, might even be self-aware — which makes it all the better.

This week, we shake the dust from our boots and saddle up to “The Gunfighters”, that fateful moment where Doctor Who took on the Tombstone story. Complete with quick draws, jail breaks, and possibly the worst earworm of a theme song ever composed, we spend a little time panning the mud, and find comedy gold.

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