Literally my first impression of Patrick Troughton as the Doctor was he seemed stern. I thought this long before I saw him play the Doctor or even knew his real name. It was just my immediate reaction to the images/pictures the BBC usually chooses when they show all the Doctors. Maybe it was the dark hair? Maybe it was the piercing stare? I don’t know. But once I began my journey through Classic Doctor Who I knew I’d see if there was any truth to my uninformed first impression (my bet was there wasn’t). And my journey’s progressing! This is the second installment in my series of feelings/impressions upon meeting each Doctor! Patrick Troughton’s run as the Doctor would span three series, from 5 November 1966 to 21 June 1969.
When I began watching Classic Doctor Who, it was like a whole other world. The show – from its pacing to style to the character of the Doctor – felt very unfamiliar. But I soon found my rhythm, loving it for what it was and how it flowed into the Doctor Who I fell in love with. I was immediately fascinated by Susan Foreman, the Doctor’s granddaughter! So often I’ve seen the Doctor mourn their lost family, grieving all those who died when Gallifrey burned, leaving them the last of the Time Lords. But here Gallifrey still hung in the heavens and the Doctor was travelling with his granddaughter! I couldn’t wait to learn all about Susan and her relationship with the Doctor. It left me wanting to explore her character, what it felt like to meet one of the Doctor’s blood relatives, and ponder what happened to Susan after she parted ways with her grandfather.
We love a good team-up, don’t we? The Avengers. Justice League. Even Godzilla vs. Kong. Part of me expects a movie where Annabelle, the Nun, and La Llorona team-up to haunt Ed and Lorraine Warren (which won’t happened as the Conjuring Universe has more narrative integrity than that and the stories are based on true events (or at least truth-adjacent)). Doctor Who has been doing the multi-Doctor team-up for decades in TV, novels, audio dramas, and comics. But there is a fascinating dimension to different Doctors teaming up that none of these other stories have. When the Doctor encounters other incarnations of the Doctor it’s not just a group of our favorite heroes coming together. Rather they are, in effect, meeting themself at different moments in their life! Can you imagine that?!!? I can’t stop imagining what it would be like if I found myself in the same situation! Can you imagine meeting yourself at different points in your life, some younger than you and some having seen things you’ve yet to see? The idea is captivating and this is exactly what happens whenever the Doctors team-up.
It was only a matter of time. I love Doctor Who and the show means too much to me (not to mention how my crazy completist mind works XD) to not go back to the very beginning and watch its original 1963-89 run. The timing was motivated, in part, by continued pandemic life leading to much more time at home…but I was always heading here. At first I was hesitant to get another streaming service but I realized I’d be watching 695 episodes of classic Doctor Who. I’ve not watched 695 things on Netflix if you add up everything I’ve ever seen on it and I’ve had it for years. I’ve not watched 300 things on Netflix! Nor Hulu. Nor Disney+. Nor HBO Max. So 695 episodes of Doctor Who means I’m getting more for my money with BritBox than any service! To commemorate such an undertaking, I felt a series of impressionistic pieces as I met each Doctor was apropos. Naturally, I began at the beginning with William Hartnell, whose run as the Doctor went from 23 November 1963 to 29 October 1966.
So…I may have a problem buying sonic screwdrivers. I’m not going to say how much I’ve spent but I will openly say I’ve purchased eight. But they’re worth it because I almost always have one on me and I almost always point them at any light as I turn it on or off. Regardless of the financial cost, my life is obviously immeasurably better being able to do this. On more than one occasion, while waving a sonic around at work, a student has asked if it was a lightsaber (an understandable mistake as a) Doctor Who isn’t as big in America as Star Wars and b) they know I love Star Wars). I explain that, no, it isn’t a lightsaber. It’s much better. A lightsaber is a weapon, the sonic screwdriver a tool. One has the potential to dismember and kill (which it’s often used for); the other to analyze, augment, and repair (which it’s always used for). When it comes to heroes, I’ll take the Doctor over the Jedi ten times out of ten. Early this schoolyear a student posed a question – If I had to pick just one fictional universe to enjoy for the rest of my life would I choose Marvel, Star Wars, or Doctor Who? The answer was surprisingly simple. There are many reasons I’d choose Doctor Who but the most important is the way the Doctor moves through space and time, always modeling an ethic of kindness and sowing the seeds of hope across creation.
Happy International Women’s Day! In celebration of International Women’s Month, I’ve joined with some other bloggers to write pieces spotlighting some of our favorite female characters. Kathleen, of Graphic Novelty2, kicked off the festivities with her brilliant look at Kara Zor-El/Supergirl and, following me, we’ll have Green Onion, of Green Onion Revival Project; Nancy, of Graphic Novelty2; Kalie, of Just Dread-full; and Jeff, of The Imperial Talker. You can find all their posts here but you should check out their super sweet sites, too. Anyhoo (or AnyWHO, as the case may be (stop…don’t reward that (I’m sorry, I’m so sorry (you deserve better)))), this year when I thought of what “fearless” means, my mind turned to Martha Jones. Played by Freema Agyeman, she was the companion of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor in Series Three of Doctor Who. Martha did a great many things while travelling with the Doctor but, in her faith and her willingness to advocate for her own needs, she models the type of courage which could transform all of our lives if we, too, could be so fearless.
Weeks ago, listening to “What Christmas Means To Me” while decorating got me thinking about what Christmas means to me. I decided to spend the month of December reflecting on it with a series of posts and I decided to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the lens through which to do my reflecting…and now we’re here! I feel like I blinked and I’m writing the fourth piece and Christmas is this week! Ahhh! Showrunner Chris Chibnall has shifted the Doctor Who special to New Year’s Day as opposed to Christmas but – as Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor has become my favorite Doctor – I didn’t want to leave the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham out of the fun here. Enter Titan Comics to the rescue! Jody Houser (writer), Roberta Ingranata (artist), and Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist) took the fam on an amazing Christmas adventure last year in Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Holiday Special. Yay! So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 4)? Well, let’s crack open a couple comics and figure it out.
Inspired by listening to the song a few weeks ago, I decided to spend the month of December reflecting on what Christmas means to me. Then I decided it would be a fun to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the sole lens through which to consider this question! “The Return of Doctor Mysterio,” written by Steven Moffat, was Doctor Who’s 2016 Christmas special. It starred Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, Matt Lucas as the oh-so-amazing-yet-forever-underrate Nardole, Justin Chatwin as Grant Gordon/the Ghost, and Charity Wakefield as Lucy Fletcher. Picking favorites out of the Doctor Who Christmas specials is all but impossible. Still…this one has always stood out for me. So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 3)? Let’s follow the Doctor stateside to New York City and start breaking that very question down!
Listening to “What Christmas Means To Me” while I was decorating a few weeks ago got me thinking about, well, what Christmas means to me. So I decided it would be fun to spend the month of December reflecting on that with a series of posts. Then I thought it would be even more fun to use Doctor Who Christmas specials as the lens through which to do so! This time I want to look at Doctor Who’s 2010 Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol,” the first written by Steven Moffat and starring Matt Smith as the Doctor along with Karen Gillan’s incomparable Amy Pond and Arthur Darvill’s Rory Williams. So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 2)? Well, it turns out “Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol” has a lot to say about that!
It’s officially December so that means it ‘tis the season. As I was decorating a few days ago I was, naturally, rocking out to some Christmas carols. When “What Christmas Means To Me” came on I danced and sang along as loud as I could. I didn’t get much decorating done for those ten minutes (because who only listens to that tune one time??) but the break was festive and fun and totally worth it. It’s always been a favorite Christmas song of mine and every time Steve Wonder’s classic is covered it makes me happy because it means I have even more chances to hear it randomly playing in a store or on the radio. Anyway, as I was singing along it got me thinking about what Christmas means to me (my love!). I thought it would be interesting to reflect on that with a series of posts through December. And then I thought using Doctor Who’s Christmas specials as a frame for those reflections could be fun. So, What Does Christmas Mean To Me (Vol. 1)? Well, let’s turn to “Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned” and talk about it!