Is it worth it to check out classic Doctor Who?

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Showing 1-11 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 7, 2007 11:23:43 PM PDT
Casey Jane says:
I had never heard of Doctor Who before a few weeks ago and decided just recently to check out a few series 3 episodes. Is it recommended to watch any of the older episodes, and do they enhance the viewing enjoyment of the modern shows, or is the modern Who better without knowing anything about the classic shows?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2007 1:29:52 PM PDT
Nathan Downs says:
I like all the Who that I have seen. Although I understand that few that dislike the new series when compared to the old, I find them all enjoyable. In some respects, old Who is like Dark Shadows, it acknowledges it's a low budget production, I seem to remember Tom Baker walk around set walls in the Androids of Tara rather than use the door.

If you like the Tenth Doctor, I do reccommend the Tom Baker years. He's also funny and fast talking, but the advantage is clearly his in the department of cold weather apparel.

I thought the Ninth Doctor may have been my favorite when I first watched him, in fact I was upset when I first saw his dweeby replacement. I felt they made the same mistake as the follow up to Baker, but now, I must say that Tennent is my favorite doctor...

Another way to compare is that it is like Star Wars. Fans of the original say the new trilogy was for money only and aimed at an audience with a low attention span. I like both Trilogies.

Talons of Weing Cheng is considered by many to be the best Who story...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 8, 2007 8:58:54 PM PDT
The classic shows were done on a cheap budget but some of them are so well written, they are great! Don't whatever you do miss some of the greats, like the original Dalek episodes with William Hartnell, THE TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN and THE WAR GAMES of Patrick Troughton, the first two seasons of Jon Pertwee, especially any episodes featuring the Master, and the early Tom Baker episodes, esp. THE PYRAMIDS OF MARS, the best Dr Who series ever shot and written.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2007 6:25:09 PM PDT
Casey Jane says:
Thank you, thank you both. Your suggestions are very much appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2007 9:33:15 PM PDT
It depends really on your own personal taste. The new series can stand on its own, or at least it has thus far, but the classic episodes can give some enlightening back-stories to current events (the significance of Sarah Jane in series two, for instance). But as said, the surviving 1963-1989 stories are low-budget and the stories are presented in a serial story-arc format. Plus, there is a lot of ground to cover. Doctor Who is the longest-running genre series in the history of television (1963-present; it was never officially cancelled in '89). But if you want to pursue some of the classic episodes, I concur with Mr. Downes, you should look into the Tom Baker years first and foremost. In addition to "Weing Cheng," you might also consider "Genesis of the Daleks" and "The Five Doctors" if you can find it. Peter Davison might also appeal if you like David Tennant. But avoid COLIN Baker, at least at first. His doctor was everything the current series tried to distance itself from.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2008 9:34:42 PM PST
Ken Fontenot says:
The Tom Baker years (the early ones in particular) were some of the best stories in the Doctor Who catalogue. T. Baker had an excellent rapport with all of his co-stars onscreen, good and bad. I agree with another comment that lists "Pyramids of Mars" as an excellent serial to watch. I also recommend "The Tomb of the Cybermen" and "The Mind Robber" from the Patrick Troughton years and "Earthshock" from the Peter Davison years. Another comment stated that they thought casting Tennant to follow in Eccleston's shoes was initially a mistake much like "the follow up to Baker." I'm assuming he means Tom Baker and the new incarnation being Peter Davison. Davison's Doctor added youthful whimsy but also made the character a lot darker, a quality that Eccleston and Tennant both have in their interpretations of the role. Colin Baker was an excellent Doctor, he was just mired by poor writing and a lack of support from the BBC. The same goes for Sylvester McCoy.

Check out any of the old shows featuring the Cybermen. That's one thing I'd change about the new series. The old Cybermen were much more ruthless and much more difficult to kill than the new crop.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008 8:42:25 PM PST
WriterGal says:
I agree with Esmond. I recently watched GENESIS OF THE DALEKS and CITY OF DEATH both starring Tom Baker (one of which was co-written by Douglas Adams) and found both very well written. I grew up watching Tom Baker as Doctor Who and thought he was the definitive doctor until the new ones rolled around (Eccleston and Tennant). Yes, the old Whos are a bit cheesy at times (thanks to the budget). But you can't argue with the storytelling!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2008 5:58:40 AM PDT
I started out watching the new series of doctor who and then I found out that it was an older show, so I started watching the Tom Baker episodes, loved them all! so yes you should watch the older episodes, in the older episodes hes not the last of the timelords, he actually travels with some time lords, but in new series hes the last of time lords. Then something epic happend i found out their was a movie, so of course being a huge doctor who fan now I had to buy it, it was awesome, so now on netflix im watching tons of the old doctors

Posted on May 16, 2009 1:49:34 PM PDT
beta says:
The main difference between the old series and the new series is the writing and production values.

New Who has fantastic production values, set design, special effects, location shoots and a beautifully slick look. But the stories tend to be a bit weak.

Classic Who is just the opposite. It was made on a much cheaper budget, in a time when special effects weren't that good to start with (remember, this was all back before Star Wars made special effects so amazing.) So the look of the stories can be less impressive, but the writing, the stories themselves are miles above most of what New Who has managed so far. It is the sheer imagination, scope, awe, and fun of the original stories that made the series the worlds longest running scifi program. It was the stories that people would enthusiastically tell each other about, not the special effects.

One of the reasons some old Who fans are a bit let down by the New Series is just because they were expecting them to make that awesome level of stories, with the new awesome level of effects. But that didn't quite happen.

Basically, yes, if you enjoy the new Doctor Who, watch the old one. It's still the Doctor, that weird, wonderful, slightly goofy, lovable alien, still travelling around time and space in his little blue box. But he actually travels much more extensively in the old series, he wasn't always stuck in London. He went to loads of alien planets, widely varied different times, even to alternate dimensions and once a completely different universe. There's lots of fun to be had.

DIFFERENCES: A word of warning, Classic Who has a few differences from New Who. First, the Time Lords are still alive. The Doctor is not the last of the Time Lords, instead he is a rebel who left home centuries ago because he didn't agree with his people's way of life. The Time Lords consider him a bit of an embarassment, even a criminal, if a good hearted one. You don't see them much, but every once in a great while they'll pop up and manipulate the Doctor into doing their dirty work for them.

Second: The Doctor doesn't fall in love with his companions in the Classic series. The Doctor and Companions are great friends, and the relationships are interesting and fun. But the Classic Series doesn't focus on romance. Instead the Doctor and his companions are great good friends. It actually works out better, because, while a loving relationship is definitely there, it isn't a sappy "come live with me and be my love" kind of thing. These are two friends who are trying to save the world, whatever world they happen to be on. They aren't worried about "their relationship." (But the series has some of the best relationships ever shown on TV.)

Third: The Doctor "doesn't do families." And in the Classic series he really doesn't. You won't see him constantly taking his companion home to visit mum. In the Classic series, when you left to travel with the Doctor, you left. You went away from home and went out to explore the far reaches of the universe and time. The Doctor and the Tardis were home and family to the companions who travelled with him. And that made the series seem much more real.

Fourth: The stories are longer. New Who stories are generally 45 minutes long, the length of one tv episode. Classic Who stories were 90 to 150 minutes long. Each Classic Who story is as long as a movie. So Classic Who has much more time to tell the stories, as such, they can tell more complex, more involved stories. Each story is an adventure movie in itself. (Don't assume they just took a New Who type short story and stretched it to make it longer. Instead, Classic Who is more like having EVERY story being a "The Impossible Planet/Satan Pit" or "Empty Child/Doctor Dances."

RECOMENDATIONS: Just like New Who, Old Who has stories that are great, and stories that aren't. If I were to suggest a new fan start watching the old series, I wouldn't suggest starting with the very first series, it's in black and white and 40 years old now, the storytelling style is very different, and a great many of the episodes of the first and second Doctors are missing, so it's sort of pot luck finding episodes. For New Who fans wanting to start watching Classic Who I'd suggest starting with the 3rd, 4th, or 5th Doctors. They seem to have the most consistently good stories per series.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 20, 2010 8:28:45 AM PST
V. Richmond says:

When starting off with Old Who, I recommend beginning with The Five Doctors, as it will give you an introduction to the first 5 Doctors in a single episode, although the Tom Baker appearance is limited.

Also, definitely check out the Dalek episode, especially Genesis of the Daleks and Remembrance of the the Daleks. They will give you some background to the Time War.

If you enjoyed meeting Sarah Jane in School Reunion, check out The Time Warrior, which is her first trip with the Doctor.

After that, kind of explore what is available and see what jumps out at you. If you still have a VCR (yeah, I know, antiquated technology), there are a lot of episodes on VHS that are not yet available on DVD.

Finally, keep in mind that Old Who episode tend to move a little slower that New Who. New Who tends to move very quickly, but the older show takes time to develop plots and characters.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011 2:06:55 AM PDT
well It was made when tv shows were crappy!!! But I love every epi
It depends if you like old tv shows. But trying a epi per Doctor wouldn't hurt see if you like any of them that's how I started out!
but I did them in order Hope this helps!!!
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Participants:  10
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Jul 7, 2007
Latest post:  Jun 12, 2011

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Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series
Doctor Who: The Complete Second Series by David Tennant (DVD - 2009)
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