Journeying Back Into Classic Doctor Who

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You may be wondering why I called this “Journeying Back” into of just “Journeying.” Well, a few years ago, I attempted to get myself more into the classic era of “Doctor Who” by…kinda going backwards. I watched all of the Seventh Doctor’s era as well as the TV movie starring the Eighth Doctor. I even listened to most of the Eighth Doctor’s early Big Finish audio stories. But one thing I’ve had trouble sticking with are the stories involving the First to Sixth Doctors. I have seen a few stories here and there that were highly recommended, but I found myself drifting from them frequently mainly due to their slower pace and length.

However, this week I’ve aimed to dive back in and at least explore a few stories from each Doctor that I skipped out on. Part of me feels bad for not attempting to go in consecutive order, but it’s difficult to find some of them in any sort of completion and I’ve dropped at least a couple because I found them uninteresting. Despite that, I’ve been having fun reacquainting myself with these early iterations so far. I’ve already worked through a few First Doctor stories and am in the process of wrapping up my time with the Second Doctor. I’m still trying to get used to the slower pace of these serials, and it’d probably benefit me to break them up. But if a story interests me enough, I can’t help but see it through to the end ASAP.

I’m grateful that reconstructions of their missing episodes are out there, but I’m also looking forward to moving past the point of needing them. One reason I haven’t fully gotten into Big Finish is because I have to be pretty focused on the story to be invested in it. I’m a visual learner, so while the audio for the missing episodes is intact, the reconstructions at least give me an idea of what the episode was going for. Yes, I’m capable of using my imagination, which is why I appreciate Big Finish for fleshing out things like the Sixth and Eighth Doctors, as well as recently adding more adventures for River Song. But as far as the TV show is concerned, I prefer seeing it in live action. Being able to see the actors going through the motions connects me more to their characters, and I like seeing what they were able to come up with for sets, whether cheap or impressive, during that time.

I’ve made it my mission this time around to look at certain kinds of episodes so that I’ll stay focused during each season. The last time I attempted to watch the earlier seasons (barring those with the Seventh Doctor), I found myself focusing on either episodes with interesting plots or those involving the Doctor’s regeneration. And yes, I know this means I missed out on character arcs and such, but curiosity got the better of me. This time around, I’m focusing on a combination of things. My main focus is episodes with almost universal acclaim, a few with plots that interest me specifically, and the post-regeneration stories as well (yes, even the insufferable “The Twin Dilemma” is on my list). I love “Doctor Who” in its current iteration the most even with its sometimes glaring flaws, but the show has such a rich history that deserves to be explored. I already have such respect for the show lasting as long as it did and for all the people who kept it alive and entertaining. Despite my issues with the pacing, some stories that don’t click with me, and the occasional over-the-top acting, this trip into the show’s roots so far has been worth the effort.

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