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April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor" 
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Post April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
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Fri Apr 22, 2011 7:05 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
My dad got me into Dr. Who during Tom Baker's tenure, but have no idea what years the shows were from. I really would like to catch up with previous epsodes, but just haven't found the time.

Love the new Dr. Who. Even though I missed the first season of New Who with Christopher Eccleston, I was able to catch up with the second season of David Tennant's version. Going to Afghanistan, I was able to buy all 5 seasons at one of the local bazaars for a song. Since the show has come back, I thnk each actor has done well with role. Eccleston was more brooding with his black ensemble, Tennant was manic and Smth is somewhere in between, more leaning towards Tennat's version. The companons have been o.k., nothing more. I hated Billie Piper's Rose, loved Freema Agyeman's Martha, and was indifferent towards Catherine Tate's Donna, although think her reaction to the whole "fly through time and space with an alien" was more realistic than the her predecessors' infatuation. Amy Pond is o.k., but really hope they lose her boyfried/whatever sooner rather than later. I look forward to the new season tomorrow night. Hopefully, the hotel in Savannah has BBC America.


Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:42 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
I only saw one of Chris Ecclestone's episodes and thought it was good to an extent but the visual effects were worse than they had been in the 70s! I've seen two Tennant era shows and have yet to see any with Smith. A couple of things put me off, the biggest being the sidekicks; I cannot stand Billie Piper or Catherine Tate (yes I know she's an actress but that doesn't stop her routine's becoming annoying when parroted by teenagers everywhere). The second is just the general look and feel of the show. It reminded me of the feeling I got when watching the latter two seasons of Red Dwarf; the characters were the same yet it felt like a point had been missed somewhere.


Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:53 pm
Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
The zarbi, yeti and daleks combined with the Cyberman had me hiding behind the sofa in the sixties
The doctor has been a friend through most of my life
It's still a huge deal in the Uk
Lots of very smart writing over the years
Thanks James for bringing it back
Rob


Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:17 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
Always enjoy your DW posts! I've had a very high opinion of the new series since about midway through Season 1 and took a shine to Smith last year. Can't wait to see the new season.

Was very sad to hear of Liz Sladen's passing last week. Sarah Jane was just about the perfect companion and Sladen always seemed a wonderful person.


Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:45 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
Dragonbeard wrote:
I only saw one of Chris Ecclestone's episodes and thought it was good to an extent but the visual effects were worse than they had been in the 70s! I've seen two Tennant era shows and have yet to see any with Smith. A couple of things put me off, the biggest being the sidekicks; I cannot stand Billie Piper or Catherine Tate (yes I know she's an actress but that doesn't stop her routine's becoming annoying when parroted by teenagers everywhere). The second is just the general look and feel of the show. It reminded me of the feeling I got when watching the latter two seasons of Red Dwarf; the characters were the same yet it felt like a point had been missed somewhere.


I find myself disagreeing with you in regards to the Rose charactor. i find that she was one of the best developed charactors in the series.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
I especially love her reaction when she first meets the darleks and puts forward the idea the doctor is just as single minded in killing the darlek as a darlek would be in killing him.

I also feel that out of all the assistants that the doctor has had, rose is the one that the doctor has the most respect for. towards the end he almost treats her as an equal.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:00 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
JB, I'm curious if this is currently the only TV show you watch at the moment? Or do you still watch House, because I remember you mentioning in past reel thoughts that you watched that as well. I know you do not like television nearly as much as movies. I'm that way too although I think television is a lot better than your attitude towards it often seem to suggest. There is actually a lot of good television I feel. I have to say, as much as I love movies, I don't think I love any movie from this year or last nearly as much as I love Fringe, one of the most original and thrilling sci-fi shows in years. This season in particular, has been phenomenal.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:46 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
I was a huge Dr. Who fan in the 80's. starting with the Tom Baker series, and devouring all of the earlier series as they appeared on PBS. There was something addicting about those old series: they had characters that you genuinely cared about, and they had a serial multi-episode structure complete with cliffhangers that made you anxious to come back for more. Even the cheap special effects were quaint, in their own way.

I eagerly watched the the new Doctor when he re-appeared, first with Eccleston, then with Tennant. But alas, somewhere around the middle of Tennant's tenure, I lost interest. I started missing a couple of episodes, then eventually gave up completely. I don't know why the series lost me as a viewer. Certainly Tennant was a fine Doctor, and the production values were OK. Perhaps I didn't like the single episodes as much as the old serials. Perhaps Netflix gave me so many more viewng alternatives that the Doctor simply lost his priority on my viewing schedule. Or perhaps I've burned out on the Doctor, much like I did with the Star Trek movies. In any case, I wish all you Doctor fans well, and hope the series goes on another forty years, but it will probably be without me unless there's a compelling reason to return.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:09 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
I remember the Tom Baker era when I was a kid (mid 80s). My mom ordered the scarf from PBS. It's badass.


Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:50 pm
Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
I love it when JB puts on his geek hat and gets all Whovian! I've always loved DW, I like every single Doctor so far, all 11 of them (including Colin Baker!).

I like some companions more than others, the unexpected death of Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane) last week is very sad.

For me, the best discussion forum for DW is http://www.reddit.com/r/doctorwho/


Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:15 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
ilovemovies wrote:
JB, I'm curious if this is currently the only TV show you watch at the moment? Or do you still watch House, because I remember you mentioning in past reel thoughts that you watched that as well. I know you do not like television nearly as much as movies. I'm that way too although I think television is a lot better than your attitude towards it often seem to suggest. There is actually a lot of good television I feel. I have to say, as much as I love movies, I don't think I love any movie from this year or last nearly as much as I love Fringe, one of the most original and thrilling sci-fi shows in years. This season in particular, has been phenomenal.


I currently watch four TV shows: HOUSE (which has all-but-lost me, although I still love HL), MYTHBUSTERS, GAME OF THRONES, and DOCTOR WHO. My TV gets used more for baseball games than for anything else.


Mon May 02, 2011 4:25 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
Bondurant wrote:
I remember the Tom Baker era when I was a kid (mid 80s). My mom ordered the scarf from PBS. It's badass.


Back around 1980, I knitted two Tom Baker scarves - the multicolored one from his first six seasons and the maroon/red one from his seventh season. I still have them both, but they're not terribly useful. They are far too long to wear outside even during the coldest weather.


Mon May 02, 2011 4:26 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
James Berardinelli wrote:

I currently watch four TV shows: HOUSE (which has all-but-lost me, although I still love HL), MYTHBUSTERS, GAME OF THRONES, and DOCTOR WHO. My TV gets used more for baseball games than for anything else.


I remember reading once that you owned a box set of "The Wire." Do you ever plan on giving readers your thoughts on it? I'd bet there's a large following who would genuniely love to read your views.

It's not that your insight into Doctor Who and Star Trek isn't appreciated, they get more interesting with every reelthought you dedicate to them :?


Tue May 03, 2011 9:01 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
When I was a child, while everyone else was watching Saturday morning cartoon shows, I was glued to PBS -- hopelessly hypnotized by old school Doctor Who. I chanced upon it one morning at the age of eight while looking for Alvin and the Chipmunks, saw Tom Baker and his ridiculous Harpo-hair battling a Cyberman, and fell in love. I returned to it every week, not telling anyone in my family of my new obsession because I instinctually knew that they would never be able to look past the horrid special effects and see that the heart of these stories was actually incredibly smart sci-fi (or at least smart enough to impress this grade schooler). My dad was a Next Generation Trekkie, but I instinctually knew that MY sci-fi of choice was Doctor Who. In the meantime, the janitor at my school, an oldtimer Brit named Mr. Jerry, once caught me drawing a picture of Tom Baker's Doctor, revealed himself to be a sci-fi geek, and lent me several episodes that he had taped off TV, including not only vintage Tom Baker but also John Pertwee's UNIT era, a bit of Sylvester McCoy, and the two Peter Cushing films--the latter of which paved the way for my later interest in Hammer films (and on a personal note: in the new series 5, when the Daleks turned multi-colored like in the Cushing films, I stood up and cheered nostalgically).

Unfortunately, the shows that PBS offered and the randomness of Mr. Jerrry's tapes were wildly inconsistent... It took me a while to realize that Tom Baker, John Pertwee, and Peter Davison were all playing the SAME character week-to-week (I thought that the name "the Doctor" might have been a code-name for different time travelers using the TARDIS) until I finally saw an episode (borrowed from Mr. Jerry, God bless him) featuring Baker's regeneration into Davison, and it was sort of a "Eureka!" moment for me. And while each episode was standalone and told its own story, it took me a while to put the pieces together about the overall history of the Doctor -- his origins, Gallifrey, his troubled history with the Daleks and the Master, etc. And by the time I thought I had a pretty good handle on it, PBS quit airing the episodes and I wore out all of Mr. Jerry's tapes. And I sort of forgot about Doctor Who for a while -- he was a pleasant memory from my childhood, but not much else. Sometimes I’d thought I’d dreamed up the Daleks and the Cybermen. I remember catching the 1996 TV movie on the FOX network when I was in middle school and being rather lost—though I enjoyed Paul McGann as the Doctor.

I heard back in 2005 that the show had been revived, I didn’t have much interest in watch it—I figured it was a kitschy remake attempting to cash in on the success of the Battlestar Galactica reimagining. Then my girlfriend announced excitedly one day that she’s discovered “this amazing new show,” and as I sat down to watch, I realized it was the new Doctor Who. I began with the Eccleston series and was instantly impressed (and I began to amaze my girlfriend with my knowledge of the show’s characters and history), especially when I realized that this series was actually following the continuity of the show I’d loved as a child. And I have to say, as much as I liked the first new series, this show has gotten better and better with clever writing and excellent acting/production values; I now believe that Doctor Who is the best show on television—I even recommended it to my Trek-devoted dad. Eccleston was good, Tennant was better, and Matt Smith is absolutely electrifying—especially in this new season, the first two episodes of which are already Classic Who. Doctor Who is back for me, and every time I watch it week-to-week, I feel like a child again, glued to PBS when I knew I should have been watching Alvin and the Chipmunks to keep up with my friends at school.

And let me qualify the last statement about Matt Smith: I believe now that he is the best Doctor since Tom Baker. Tennant has had that distinction raked upon him with much praise, and while I admired his interpretation of a lonely, very human Doctor, I think that Smith knows better than any Doctor since Baker that the Doctor is absolutely an alien—awkward, eccentric, and often with little patience for a misunderstanding human race. And I love the idea of the Doctor looking younger as he gets older; Smith fulfills that idea by shuffling around and mumbling like an old man. It’s a stunning portrayal.

That said, my Doctor will always be Tom Baker, the bumbling gumshoe with the absurd scarf. In close second, Peter Cushing, for being the only Doctor to rip open a Dalek with his bare hands (and for being the only Doctor I instantly recognized when I caught him as Baron von Frankenstein one Halloween on AMC, which paved my way for my future love for the great Gothic cheesiness of Hammer horror!). Oh, the memories of old-school Doctor Who… still gives me goosebumps to remember the terror I felt the first time I heard a Dalek screech “EXTERMINATE!”

(This long-winded post is dedicated to Mr. Jerry, who I hope enjoys the new series as much as I do.)


Tue May 03, 2011 9:51 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
Human Rain wrote:
(This long-winded post is dedicated to Mr. Jerry, who I hope enjoys the new series as much as I do.)


Great post from a fellow fan. I totally agree about Matt Smith! :D


Wed May 04, 2011 3:55 am
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
wisey wrote:
I remember reading once that you owned a box set of "The Wire." Do you ever plan on giving readers your thoughts on it? I'd bet there's a large following who would genuniely love to read your views.


Your memory is good. I do indeed own a boxed set of the entire series "The Wire."

I have not watched a single episode.

It's a time issue not a perceived quality issue. I'll get around to it one day.


Wed May 04, 2011 2:52 pm
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Post Re: April 22, 2011: "Welcome Back, Doctor"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Your memory is good. I do indeed own a boxed set of the entire series "The Wire."

I have not watched a single episode.

It's a time issue not a perceived quality issue. I'll get around to it one day.


I don't want to go too far with this because I'm sure you're tired of hearing about The Wire and it's greatness and how much you need to watch it. It's certainly not in your wheelhouse in terms of taste (where Battlestar or Game of Thrones more obviously reside), but I think you'll certainly appreciate what it does and you'll like the way it handles character and story development.

I'll offer one thing: I recall you mentioning a desire to take a chunk of time to go through the whole series. While I wouldn't necessarily discourage that, the show (which is certainly entertaining) it very heavy -- both in terms of weighty subject and thick, multi-layered stories. Each season certainly deserves dedicated time, but plowing through all of it in a month may not be the best way to consume this particular show. I may be wrong; that simply comes from instinct and my experience with the show (which I certainly consider the best thing ever on TV). I just think you might enjoy the whole thing more with a short break in between. And while part of the show's brilliance lies in the way it lets storylines and relationships simmer and the way it is so remarkably patient over the years, if you don't like the first season at all, I can't see you liking the rest of it. Most find the 4th the best, but while the shifts of focus is admirable, none of the seasons go far away from each other in spirit.


Wed May 04, 2011 4:50 pm
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