User Reviews (83)

  • zedthedestroyer1 June 2001
    Greatest Series of All Time
    `Doctor Who', in a nutshell, is probably the most imaginative show ever created. Initially, it was about an eccentric time-traveller from another planet, who looked human and affected an English manner and style. The interior of his time machine (called a TARDIS) was huge and highly advanced, but the exterior quaintly resembled an English public call box. The Doctor was a self-imposed exile from a race of powerful beings called the Time Lords. The Time Lords observed history, but never interfered with it. This bored the almighty heck out of the Doctor, so he made off with an older TARDIS and decided to see the Universe for himself.

    When the original actor who played the Doctor decided to leave the show, the writers came up with the inventive concept of `regeneration'. Whenever the Doctor was close to death, or actually killed, he would `regenerate' into a new body (and persona). The show went through seven highly talented actors in this fashion.

    The format of the show was highly adaptable. Didn't like the way the show was going? Just wait two or three years. The style always seemed to change whenever there was a change of Doctor, producer and/or script editor. The series went from educational children's drama to monster show to intelligent adult sci-fi/drama to gothic horror to high camp, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.

    This was a wonderful, imaginative, fun show when it was on. I was sad to see it go.
  • dr_foreman10 May 2002
    10/10
    a lifetime's worth of entertainment...
    Doctor Who ran for 26 years, and its last episode was as fresh and imaginative as its first.

    The show chronicles the adventures of a time-and-space traveling alien who wanders the universe battling evil conquerors, ruthless corporations, and other exploiters of the innocent and oppressed. Every few weeks, the Doctor would travel to a different planet or time, allowing the show's cast, setting, and tone to constantly change. Even the Doctor himself was periodically replaced by a new actor, "regenerating" his body whenever he was on the verge of death. This format gave the show an amazing freshness and allowed it to last for over a quarter of a century without becoming stale.

    Since the show's cancellation, Doctor Who has been sustained by hundreds of books and radio shows. Although the concept is beginning to seem a bit old now, great "Who" stories are still coming out all the time.

    Television remains the ultimate format for Doctor Who, however, and the series has something to offer for just about everyone. The early episodes, starring William Hartnell, were mysterious and realistic in tone, and are terribly underrated by the show's fans. Tom Baker, the most popular Doctor internationally, had a succession of wild and colorful adventures that are more entertaining and a lot funnier than most of the sitcoms on TV today. In its dying days, when Sylvester McCoy was in the lead role, Doctor Who became highly allegorical and politically charged.

    Every Doctor's era has some merit, though some are obviously more inspired than others. In the early 70s and early 80s in particular, the show suffered from some poor production values and repetitive plots, but even the bad episodes are fun to watch and often redeemed by some strength – good performances, an interesting plot twist, etc.

    Lovers of modern, flashy science fiction will probably laugh Doctor Who off the screen because of its modest special effects, but nevertheless it remains one of the most visually inventive TV shows ever made. Episodes like Tomb of the Cybermen and Remembrance of the Daleks contain unforgettable images that stack up to anything Hollywood produced on a 100x bigger budget. If you want to pick the show's visuals apart, you can, but you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't suspend your disbelief and allow yourself to be drawn into the Doctor's universe.

    I may be in the minority, but I enjoyed the 1996 TV Movie that attempted to resurrect Doctor Who years after its cancellation. I don't buy the argument that Doctor Who couldn't survive in today's big-budget entertainment arena. The intelligence of the X-Men and Spider-Man movies has convinced me that a slick, cerebral version of Doctor Who could be produced today that would be faithful to the not-so-slick, cerebral original. But regardless of whether Doctor Who returns or not, it remains one of the great TV shows of all time. It still wins awards even today, and enjoys widespread popular and critical acclaim. Even Doctor Who's detractors only serve to prove that the show is famous enough to draw criticism!

    In short, Doctor Who is smart, fun, and endlessly creative. It has kept me entertained for over fifteen years, and my enthusiasm for it has barely waned. Science fiction is in a dumb rut right now, so you could do a lot worse than look back at this show, one of the genre's crowning achievements.
  • CJ-938 June 2000
    What Doctor Who could teach the people of today.
    If there is one thing Doctor Who could teach the people of today, it would be "special effects do not make a movie/show". Movies and shows these days tend to rely more on special effects and less on plot. They're all show and little go. Doctor Who made up for it's lack of a high budget with it's strong plots and acting. I'd rather watch the all teeth and curls Tom Baker than watch the kid who played Anakin Skywalker in Phantom Menace. And I'd rather watch a pepperpot with a plunger sticking out of it repeating "Exterminate!" than watch Jar Jar "meesa no likea yous" Binks and the "extraordinary" fact that he's completely CGI.
  • Alex_Hodgkinson18 March 2014
    9/10
    No Words Can Describe...
    This series is just too huge to put into words. Classic Who has so many different styles and stories and protagonists. It's amazing concepts and different, iconic things.things that are just common knowledge in our culture today. Eight Doctors. Eight eras. There's just too much of it to put into words. Doctor Who is just part of British culture due to this fine, twenty six season long story of a time travelling alien.

    Each Doctor's era is very different. They seem to have the same style as the Doctor. The Doctor ran the show, with the exception of the First Doctor (William Hartnell) to a degree, who let his companions take charge. Each Doctor had unique personalities, and the style and stories of Classic Who matched the Doctor they were assigned to.

    The First Doctor was more of an adviser and let his companions take control, but he was still a crazy, lovable alien just like his other incarnations. The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) is my favourite, he's very childish but intelligent and was grown up when he needed to be. The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) was the earthbound Doctor started off as arrogant and annoyed, but gradually became more loving. The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) arguably made the show popular and is the most known Classic Doctor. He's also arguably the most childish and always had that huge smile.

    The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) was the youngest Classic Doctor, but acted like the oldest at times. He's arguably the most unlucky Doctor as he just wants fun but death surrounds him. The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) is arguably (yes, again) the most disliked Doctor due to his arrogance and choice of clothing (not his fault). He was very childish and serious most of the time. The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) was the clown to start off with, but gradually got much darker and more manipulative but always remained childish. The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) was probably the most human Doctor, and seemed to be one of the most childish but had a hidden sadness and rage, leading into New Who.

    The TARDIS is the Doctor's iconic time and space travelling machine. It has became so iconic in British culture that if a child sees an old police box, he'll/she'll probably shout "TARDIS!" and point. The Master is the Doctor's nemesis, his Moriarty, who can also regenerate when injured as they are both the aliens called Time Lords from Gallifrey. Daleks are another iconic thing in Britain now, try and find somebody who doesn't know what one is.

    Of course, these are only brief descriptions and don't go into each era, which usually matches the Doctor at the time. The series is so massive that I could describe it for hours. So impressive. A small concept became such an iconic show. Possibly more famous than Robin Hood, another British achievement.

    I gave this series a 9 for a reason, though. I believe the pacing is too slow. It's hard to pay attention much of the time as things take so long to happen. This was normal at the time of 1960s Doctor Who, but not the extent this series. As fun and interesting as it is, it can bore me to a very large extent. If only each story was cut in half, bar some of the better paces stories.

    So a huge cultural thing, but the series itself has a number of problems. The concepts are so genius, though, that these can be forgiven. I just find the series hard to watch a lot of the time. I'll review New Who (2005-) separately.
  • nicholas-179-8718628 January 2016
    10/10
    Best Sci-Fi Show Ever!
    Doctor Who was my childhood. This show was, and still is, awesome. Right from the start, it was set apart from sci-fi shows at the time. This show was originally intended to be educational. But all that changed one fateful day in 1963. Yes, that's right, I'm talking about... the Daleks.

    These monsters were one of the few things from sci-fi that could illicit pure, unadulterated terror in me. Other monsters eventually cropped up over the years, like the Cybermen, Sontarans, Silurians, Sea Devils, the Master, the list goes on...

    In short, there is a reason this show has spawned countless spin- offs, a TV movie, and has lasted for 50 years.

    It is because it is a staple of British television. Even cancellation couldn't stop this gem.

    After 16 years in development hell, barring the aforementioned movie, Doctor Who returned.
  • bh_tafe322 November 2014
    9/10
    How do you review something that's been on for 50+ years?
    Warning: Spoilers
    I guess the only way you can do it is just to go over your own experience with the show. I grew up in Australia, the Australian bush specifically. The first doctor I was old enough to actually appreciate was Slyvester McCoy. I had seen all the Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes as a kid but hadn't taken them in, so my first episode I have any real memory of is Time and the Rani. And I was hooked pretty much from there. As a child of 7, I had no concept of good Doctor Who or bad Doctor Who, or, as I prefer to call them both as a grown adult; "Doctor Who." I just knew he was a Time Lord, from the planet Gallifrey, that he drifted around through time and space in a Police Box and helped people. I didn't care about effects or acting, I just liked the premise.

    It took about 5 years after the McCoy era ended in 1990 (in Australia) for the show to return, at 4am in the morning, and it was Peter Davison episodes they were showing. Every morning I would get up and watch the show and Davison ended up becoming MY Doctor.

    I spent a lot of the so called "Wilderness years" watching the old episodes, becoming acquainted with Hartnell's Doctor and re watching some Tom Baker episodes I never really followed as a child. I could see the changing world views on show, from the fear of nuclear destruction in The Daleks to the sympathetic look at Christianity in The Romans, to attacks on consumerism in the Sun Makers and anti-Thatcher sentiments of the Happiness Patrol and the increasing prominence of secular humanism within the show's ideals.

    I could notice stylistic changes from action oriented in early 70s, to hammer horror influences in the mid 70s, to bonkers Monty Python silliness in the late 70s and then glossy and pessimistic kill fests in the early to mid 80s. I came to admire the way the show changed and adapted as it got older. Season 22 was a disaster, both stylistically and thematically, but it was the only real clunker the show had in its original run which lasted 26 seasons. The key idea that the show had to keep was that the Doctor was an alien with a magic box who flies into a town, finds a problem, fixes said problem, and flies off.

    I'll list briefly the episodes that I enjoyed the most as a youngling and then take off, probably not having achieved anything apart from indulging myself.

    Remembrance of the Daleks- First episode I ever watched obsessively. Devious doctor, dalek civil war, creepy little girl, lots of deaths and a satisfying resolution. I hear criticism of this being too continuity heavy. All I will say is I was 8, and had no problems understanding that the daleks were fighting each other over Davros, the doctor had left the hand in a previous incarnation and he had got it from his home planet. Kids really aren't as stupid as some adults seems to think. As Peter Davison later paraphrased "The challenge with writing Doctor Who is keeping it simple enough for the adults to follow, but complicated enough for the kids to stay interested." Deadly Assassin- loved it. Crispy Master. Decadent Gallifrey. Awesome Castellan. Big stakes and Tom Baker at his best. This was another one fans at the time hated because it showed the Time Lords and Gallifrey in a different light to ever before.

    The Romans- got the VHS in 1996(I think) and loved this one. Ian became one of my favourite companions. Felt like such an epic. Again was criticized for its tone, but out of context it's a fun epic romp.

    Anyway, that's my personal experience with Doctor Who. Thanks for reading.
  • Stargazer5918 March 2005
    Desert Island "Doctor Who"!
    After a wait of almost sixteen years and with only just over a week to go before the new series of "Doctor Who" begins, let's hope that some classics are on the way to warrant all the hype and, above all, that the show remains true to its original spirit and is as fun as it always was. With that in mind, I thought it might be an opportune time to reflect on some of the great stories of the past.

    From First Doctor William Hartnell's era, my choice of favourite story would have to be "The Dalek Invasion of Earth". The use of extensive location filming enhances its atmosphere greatly. I know that, forty years on, the Robomen look and sound silly and the flying saucer is obviously dangled from a piece of string but the serial's shortcomings are compensated by the imagery of the Dalek rising from the River Thames and a group of them patrolling Trafalgar Square, not to mention crossing Westminster Bridge in the trailer. And then there is the sensitive ending marking Carole Ann Ford's departure from the series after playing the Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, for ten stories...

    So many perfect serials from Second Doctor Patrick Troughton's time on the show! "Fury from the Deep" is my choice because it frightened me more than anything else I'd ever seen. It has several excellent cliffhangers and I'll never forget one of the characters walking out to sea and not stopping as she becomes totally immersed by the water or Victoria trapped in a locked room as the seaweed and foam threaten to engulf her. I long to see this story again but, alas, it seems gone forever.

    I love the first six serials of the Jon Pertwee era because they are complex and challenging. Of the six, "The Mind of Evil" is my favourite though writer Don Houghton's other serial, "Inferno", comes a close second. The reason I like it is because the idea of a parasite feeding off the fear in men's minds is so much more frightening than some lumbering monster!

    My favourite Tom Baker serial is "Genesis of the Daleks" despite the BBC always falling back on it for repeat seasons! Writer Terry Nation, creator of the Daleks, devised the character of Davros in order to raise the standard of dialogue between hero and enemy, succeeding here in discussing many moral issues. Sarah Jane Smith seemingly falling to her death from the rocket scaffolding, as she tries to make her escape, and the freeze frame is another moment that will always stay with me.

    Cliffhangers play an important part in making a good serial and "The Caves of Androzani" boasts two of the finest. When Peter Davison's Doctor and new companion Peri are shot dead at the end of the first episode I didn't foresee the resolution. It's a shame it took until the last story of this era to get it right but director Graeme Harper presents us with a thoroughly gripping tour de force. Christopher Gable is electrifying as Sharaz Jek and I love the scene of the dying Doctor, coat caked in mud, struggling to carry his companion back to the TARDIS in an act of self-sacrifice that leads to his premature regeneration at the story's close.

    "Revelation of the Daleks" is "Doctor Who" for adults. Writer Eric Saward presents us with an alternative take on the Doctor through the character of Orcini, and his sidekick with personal hygiene problems, which is why Colin Baker's Doctor doesn't really enter the fray until over halfway through. Nicola Bryant, as Peri, is lucky to have worked with Harper on both his serials which may account for why she is one of my favourite companions. There are moments of real pathos in this serial such as Natasha discovering what has really become of her father and the death of Jobel, which is no mean feat when you consider the ghastly nature of his character!

    Finally, from Sylvester McCoy's three years on the show, my choice has to be "The Curse of Fenric". This period has come in for much criticism when, certainly during the last two years, the show was actually beginning to find its feet again. It wasn't all played for laughs as is often suggested. One of the scariest things in this serial isn't the Haemovores or the rather placid Ancient One but the transformation of the two girls into vampires because the allegory, equating loose morality with bodily decay, is far more frightening than any monster could be, even when those monsters are well-realised. The story contains some very memorable dialogue too. Who can forget the chilling menace of "We play the contest again... Time Lord"?

    And, if I was only allowed just one of the seven to take to my mythical island it would have to be, if it still existed in the BBC's archive, "Fury from the Deep". I don't think I would be disappointed, given the opportunity to see it again, as anything that can leave such an indelible mark on the memory has to have been an extremely powerful piece.
  • Paul Evans8 January 2016
    10/10
    Without a doubt the best series ever made.
    Warning: Spoilers
    It is now wonder this show has run for as long as it has. I'm reviewing the classic series only, although why it's split into two I've never fathomed out. Seven actors held the mantle of being the Doctor, credit to William Hartnell, for being the hook, for gripping the initial viewers, and credit to Patrick Troughton for doing the unthinkable and taking over the lead role.

    I love how each generation of my friends had a 'Doctor,' and how passionate they felt towards theirs. I grew up with Sylvester as mine, and sadly by then the show was in a huge decline and subsequently ended up being axed.

    Purple patch of the show for me Series 13, Tom and Lis on supreme form, fantastic production values, and writing to match, the whole Gothic horror format worked amazingly well. Such a shame that the quality went out of the show during the late eighties for the most part, but there are definite hidden gems in there, Remembrance of the Daleks being a prime example.

    I'm sure we all know parts of the series inside out, so doing a general review is quite difficult, all I can say is that I've loved this show since I was young and continue to do so.

    Highlights, Caves of Androzani, Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars, to name but a few.

    Legendary 10/10
  • ShadeGrenade8 September 2006
    10/10
    "Mum, Can I Have A Dalek For Christmas?"
    'Dr.Who' was the first television programme I got hooked on. It was 1968, when Patrick Troughton was the incumbent. The story, a repeat of 'Evil Of The Daleks', was the most incredible thing I'd ever seen. Wild horses couldn't have dragged me away from the set at the same time the following week. Dalekmania had passed by then, so I never got my toy, but I did get a Dalek colouring book on Christmas morning, as well as that year's 'Dr.Who' annual. As the '60's gave way to the '70's, my interest in the show intensified as Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker steered a successful course through the choppy seas of T.V. ratings. I started to lose interest in the '80's though, though that was probably my fault for growing up. When it ended in 1989, I wasn't surprised. Now its back - and a whole new generation of children are just as excited about 'Dr.Who' as I was back in 1968 - my enthusiasm has rekindled. We can all look back on the 1963/89 series as 'the classic years' even though as far as I'm concerned they're not over yet.
  • Tangent-54 July 1999
    Some recommendations for new viewers
    The sheer volume of Doctor Who episodes makes briefly commenting on all aspects of this wonderful show a challenge. However, I can make some recommendations for new viewers.

    If the ONLY thing you want from science fiction is special effects, then Doctor Who is not for you. The quality of the effects are often admirable when the shoestring production budget considerations are factored in, but Doctor Who never really equaled the special effects of other shows. What Doctor Who does deliver is keen attention to character, dialogue, and plot. Doctor Who was always something more than its 1963 b&w kid's show origins suggest, and over the years it evolved into a program that could make some very clever, thought-provoking comments and observations while at the same time delivering a fun and suspenseful adventure.

    Cliffhangers were what made me a fan from the beginning. Unfortunately, Doctor Who tends to be shown now in movie-style blocks. This dilutes those marvelous cliffhangers. Every episode of the show is about a half-hour, but most stories had at least 4 parts. At the end of each part, the Doctor or one of his many companions faces seemingly absolute, inescapable doom of some kind or another. I was lucky enough to first see Doctor Who on PBS, one half-hour episode per week-night. My friends and I had to wait a whole agonizing day to see the Doctor's clever escape or rescue. I don't know how the UK fans had the patience to wait a week. If you can, you should try to preserve the breaks too in order to get a real sense of the show, even if you just pause a few moments between parts.

    One more thing to remember is that the Doctor is enigmatic. We still don't know everything there is to know about this renegade Time Lord. Part of the fun of the show is learning about the complex character and his history. But rest assured, his hearts are always in the right place.

    So which episode should you start with? Every fan has a favorite Doctor and episode. I think you can't go wrong with "Remembrance of the Daleks" (1988). The 7th Doctor and Ace are a great team. Or try "City of Death" (1979), a terrific 4th Doctor and Romana story set in Paris. But ask around and check the web; other fans will send you in other directions. That's the most fun thing about discovering this show, there are so many directions to explore.
  • WakenPayne26 September 2015
    8/10
    A Timeless gem of sci-fi TV
    I think it's hard to even glance at the science fiction television scene without knowing about Doctor Who. There are many people I've come across who are fans and almost all of them have a different answer to the question (the question I always ask when I find this out) "Who's your favourite Doctor?" Everyone has a different opinion and the reason for that is something I'll get into later, either way each has it's own era which I'll get into. Either way, the plot is simple, an alien takes his granddaughter and 2 schoolteachers inside a telephone box that's bigger on the inside and is convinced to use the ability to travel anywhere in the universe at any time to save lives, the people he travels with changes and every time he dies he gets a new body.

    The First Doctor is one that I'm sorry to say does not age well. His granddaughter is easily one of the most useless companions the show's ever had. I'd say his stories are slow and sometimes due to William Hartnell's decaying health that he seemed like a background character in his own show. I don't blame anyone for that, really. That and the show doesn't have it's comedic charm that it'll later have. With that said there are some endearing moments from these years and some of them hold up better then others.

    The Second Doctor is where the show hit it's stride with bar none the one with the most influence on how future incarnations are to be played. Usually the most distinctive thing he's done that will sometimes get used by other incarnations is that he would usually fool his enemies into thinking he's an idiot or not as smart.

    The Third Doctor's era is probably the most distinctive out of all of them because it changes it's premise and easily has the biggest change in the history of the show since the jump between this show and the newer one. I'd say some of his later ones are worth watching first just to get a gist of him actually doing what the show is about but I'd also say that if you want a kind of pre-cursor to shows like The X Files (except with the tone of Doctor Who) then I'd suggest stories like The Silurians. With all that said I do like Pertwee as The Doctor, kind of reminds me of what I thought when I thought of Sherlock Holmes before I saw any adaptation as a kid.

    The Fourth Doctor is my favourite with my second favourite being... The second. His time on the show was so long that if you see a story from 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1981 then you'll see how different his era can be. I discovered the show through arguably one of the best stories of the entire 52 year run and Tom Baker can do effective build-up and also is by far the strangest and most unpredictable incarnation of the character.

    The Fifth Doctor is where things got a little shaky... I mean, the most iconic incarnation of the character just left, how can they top that? Well, they went the route of making him the most human incarnation of the character. I do really like his performance and there are some things that still hold up, so even though it's after Baker, it's not an act of just "Go up until this point - then stop".

    The Sixth... despite his reputation is not that bad. The writing here is where the show becomes the shadow of what it once was and never goes back on track. I'm not apt to blame Colin Baker for this, he seriously is trying but the problem is that despite some okay story-lines, those "Okay" ones were the best of them, like the BBC was just making more of the show out of obligation.

    Finally the seventh... His just seems like they wanted one thing and after a year just threw up their arms and just asked for something else instead. His era started out like a bad remake of Troughton's era without using his being goofy to make his enemies underestimate him. This is where I think the show just gave up... Until his second and third year. He was changed from the goofy one nobody takes seriously because he's the goofy one nobody takes seriously to by far the most meticulous planner out of all the incarnations. Revelation Of The Daleks is a story where all he had to do was (using a chess metaphor) move the pieces around so he can do his final move which he made before the episode even started. Unfortunately though, instead of opening a new era, the BBC decided to cancel the show because... Well, nothing competes with 4... Except 2.

    In conclusion, I know this isn't a linear review but I don't think I can talk about the show without splitting it up into these eras. I can't list all my pros and cons because this is the show that what one era does right, another era does wrong or vise versa. I could have gone into a lot more detail about things like why Colin Baker is not to blame for his era even going as far to say that he had very little control in anything, asking to dress in all black so The Doctor can blend into the night and instead greeted with... Well if you've seen his costume, you'll know why he hates it. There are so many different retrospectives and opinions if you want to start with something I'd suggest watching them. This show is something that lasts a lifetime.
  • jadzia923 June 2015
    10/10
    Doctor Who is the greatest series ever
    Doctor Who is the greatest series ever. I guess the reason why I love this show is because it is lots of fun as it take a story any place and any time period and make it work. That is why the classic series is so loved and that is why there was a lot of demand for it to come back in 2005. To the naysayers of Doctor Who, it is their loss and their problem why they do not get the appeal of Doctor Who. It is their problem and frankly it should never be mine and watching Doctor Who is the best viewing decision I have ever made.

    It is often been said that Doctor Who could easily run forever (notwithstanding the gap between the "classic" and "new" series). That is because flexible in its format and it is that flexibility is why Doctor Who aficionados always stick with Doctor Who because it is worth sticking around for.
  • richard.fuller122 June 2002
    This show was like an addiction for me, a wonderful addiction!
    I first found Doctor Who on the PBS network in the early eighties, with Tom Baker. Harry and Sarah must be his Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, I thought. He was some eccentric scientist. At the end of his first adventure, "Robot", he, Harry and Sarah enter this blue cabinet, the strangest noise in the world is heard, and the cabinet disappears. Now the stumper was Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart's non-chalant reaction to the vanishing box. LIttle did I realize there was nearly twenty years history to what I was watching. I knew nothing about Time Lords, Gallifrey or what a Tardis was, let alone a walk-in police call box, something not found in America.

    I missed Harry's departure and thought the actor must have just quit the show, but he did show up later. Then Elizabeth Sladen left and I had no idea what to expect. Gallifrey? What was Gallifrey? He has to go back and get Sarah.

    The Gallifrean adventure was followed up with the introduction of Leela, the jungle girl. When she stormed into the tardis, I knew I was watching a show I could not begin to predict. K-9? Need I say more? I was destroyed when Leela left, and with Romanadveratrelunder's arrival I just sat back and went for the ride. When Lalla Ward (Romana II) left, I was a little more braced for what I was watching. So I thought. As Tegan, Nyssa and Adric watched, the Doctor saw all his old friends, then his old enemies. What did this mean?

    Enter Peter Davison. I would learn that what I had just watched, five episodes a week, like a soap opera in a matter of eight months, was a twenty year old character. Tom Baker had already quit being the Doctor by the time I started watching it.

    Davison's reign would be short and not as thrilling as Baker's. After Davison was Colin Baker, whose tenure was even shorter. Sylvester McCoy was an alleged attempt to get back to the second Doctor. In between waiting for new episodes, existing episodes from back to William Hartnell, the first doctor, and 'An Unearthly Child' would be shown. There would even be the movie to re-introduce the Doctor with Peter McGann taking over for Sylvester McCoy and Eric Roberts as the Master.

    But today, it is Tom Baker's term that was so spectacular. The first three actors greatly set the pace for the character, but it took Baker to bring him to America. As Baker would say on the 25th anniversary, Doctor Who was fun, fun, fun.

    And it was.
  • Stu Chandler (chanelit-1)11 August 2003
    Excellent
    This is perhaps one of the finest sci-fi series ever made. The idea is simple; a timelord who travels through time and space in a TARDIS (in the shape of an old Police Box)with various companions to fight the forces of evil in the Universe.

    The budget was never large, but the ideas and effort were outstanding. It started going downhill after Peter Davison finished his turn as the Doctor, mainly due to poor stories and weaker scripts, but with the right budget and some seasoned writers, this show could be very great again.

    Well worth watching for the ideas alone - especially some of those in the Tom Baker era, this has a massive worldwide following and deservedly so.
  • Theo Robertson7 May 2002
    The Greatest Show In The Universe
    Without doubt the best thing about DOCTOR WHO is its format. The premise of a space craft being able to visit any time period or any planet means the possibilities are limitless . However it`s a series often ridiculed and no television show is producer proof , a fact that shows up in the late 70s and 80s

    Created in 1963 by Sydney Newman the first producer was Verity Lambert a woman who would later become a legend of broadcasting in the 70s up till today. Lambert`s talent shines through in the early episodes with William Hartnell as the Doctor. True it`s got a budget of sixpence and the sets are as big as a cupboard but the production has excellent writers and is treated with absolute respect most of all from the actors who always manage to suspend our disbelief with convincing acting , especially William Russell who plays Ian Chesterton . Ian plays the typical heroic figure to Hartnell`s atypical antihero, and it`s intresting to note the antagonistic approach towards the early tardis crew. Also interesting to note that each SF story was followed by a historical story . Strangely the SF ones have dated very badly

    By the time Patrick Troughton took over as the Doctor , Dalekmania , antagonism between the changing tardis crew , and historical stories had disappeared and in it`s place we had more formuliac and scarier stories in their place. Unfortunately the BBC junked most of this eras mastertapes so we only have a brief taste of this era, but Troughton never gave a bad performance and his assistants were sexy

    Jon Pertwee , colour , and an entirely Earthbound format was introduced in 1970 . I`m not alone in saying this was the best era and was when I first started watching the show aged about four years old though I had to watch it behind the couch. Every Saturday afternoon was the highlight of my life , all my friends watched it as the viewing figures climbed. Alas the Pertwee era hasn`t aged very well as I found out watching the repeats over 20 years later.

    Tom Baker had an era of two halves when he took over from Pertwee. Coinciding with the change of actors we had a change of producers as Barry Letts gave way to Phillip Hinchcliffe who took DOCTOR WHO to even greater heights 14 million viewers would tune in as the show became more adult and terrifying , concerned mothers and viewers pressure groups would bombard the BBC with complaints about the horror on show which meant when Hinchcliffe was replaced with Graham Williams in 1977 and with it ended the programme`s most acclaimed period. It probably wasn`t William`s fault but DOCTOR WHO soon started becoming very silly , the monsters were laughable and Tom Baker seemed to be taking the p***.

    In 1980 John Nathan Turner took over the producer reins and when Baker left the following year he cast Peter Davison as the Doctor. The early Davison episodes were certainly an improvement on the latter Baker era , KINDA for example features a guest appearance by Simon Rouse of THE BILL fame and gives the greatest performance in the show`s history , while THE CAVES OF ANDROZANI often wins fan polls as the greatest ever DOCTOR WHO story but the cracks were starting to show as Nathan Turner started introducing more and more old foes and when Colin Baker was ( Mis)cast as the Doctor in 1984 his whole first season featured old enemies and anorakish references to the past. This led to the BBC putting the show on hold for a year

    The show returned in 1986 worse than ever and now cut to 14 episodes a year, Colin Baker was sacked and replaced by Sylvester McCoy who was an even bigger disaster than Baker and by the time the show was axed in 1989 it only had something like 3 million viewers. As a fan I`d describe it as a mercy killing.

    So ended a once great television series . It has become a fondly remembered legend and there`s often rumours of a Hollywood remake , but as the American 1996 TVM showed megabuck budgets can`t enhance a poor script. DOCTOR WHO works best as a memory
  • fertilecelluloid30 December 2005
    A TV series of Ideas, Adventures and Monsters!
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Dr. Who" is so well known and so legendary, it's a stress trying to write something new about it. For many, including myself, it represents a world of incredible wonders and many memorable relationships with a handful of Doctors and three times as many "assistants". Of course, the Daleks ARE "Dr. Who", there's no getting around that, but the Cybermen ran a fair race with them, too.

    For me, however, "Dr. Who" is Linx, the helmeted Sontaran who appeared in the episode "The Time Warrior". At the end of the first ep, he removes his cover to reveal pure alien ugliness, and there the ep ended. I have always loved those cliffhangers where a putrid looking alien is revealed. Cue the transporting, sonically rich theme music and wait for the next installment as the ugly alien image you just saw remains at the front of your cerebellum.

    "Dr. Who" is a series of amazing ideas, wonderful pseudo-science, exciting adventures and, yes, sexy women. I will always have a very special place in my heart (and elsewhere) for Jo (Katy Manning) after I spotted her pink panties in one episode. I adored Sarah-Jane (Elisabeth Sladen), too, and felt short-changed when Tom Baker, my favorite Doctor, married the second Leila (Lala Ward), an actress I'd lusted after since Hammer's "Vampire Circus". The primitive Leila (Louise Jamieson) was a great addition to the cast, too, with her barely-there costume and impatient, naive personality.

    I recall vividly "The Robots of Death" because their voices were so comforting yet disturbing. They looked amazing, too, with their pseudo-human-like faces of metal. The "Zygons" ("Terror of the Zygons"), who resided under Loch Ness, and had greasy, flesh-like control instruments in their spaceship, resembled giant, rotten carrots were also my favorites. After Linx screwed up his mission, The Sontarans regrouped and sent Field Major Steyr to Earth in a two-parter known as "The Sontaran Experiment". The images of the grumpy Steyr talking to his bosses on a TV embedded in a rock were priceless, as was Sarah-Jane's first reaction to seeing Steyr's face: "Linx!?". I still hold much fondness for John Pertwee, the third Doctor, who brought great gravity and sophistication to the role. Patrick Traughton's finest hour for me was when he was battling "The Sea Devils", wet, misshapen creatures who sabotaged oil rigs on their road to world conquest. As a lover of plastic creatures, the Nestenes got my vote every time. Their appearance in "Terror of the Autons" chilled my tiny bones when I first encountered them, and I would never see a mannequin in the same way again.

    As mighty villains go, Davros (from "Genesis of the Daleks") was hard to beat. Once again, he was one of Who's Ugly Aliens, and what a frightful fellow he was. Unable to walk and saddled with a mechanical, sickly voice, he exuded evil and made his Dalek accomplices pale in comparison. The Master was always good fun, too, as was the lovable Brigadier.

    The new "Dr. Who" episodes have impressed me, but there's no point in writing about them here because, well, they're from a different world and deserve their own review.

    I am sorry to all the monsters and potential world dominators I have not discussed here. You, my dear friends, are just as wanted as those I've singled out with a word or two.

    Long Live The Doctor and his Enemies!
  • AaronCapenBanner17 August 2013
    10/10
    My Favorite TV Series...First Five Doctors Only!
    Of all the TV series I've seen, this is in my mind the best, since it had a huge impact in my life, ever since I first saw it in 1982! William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, & Peter Davison represent the program for me, an imaginative, intelligent, engaging and fun adventure for the first 21 years....then alas it went off the rails disastrously, becoming a gaudy, unappealing mess with the miscast Colin Baker and poor writing ruining my favorite series. I just ignore the final five years as a result(though Sylvester McCoy was fine, the irreparable damage had been done...) I remember wishing that I could travel with the Doctor as a companion and share in his adventures, but then again, so haven't millions of fans. The Tardis is still like a second home for me, and I can revisit it anytime I like now that the DVD range is complete!
  • Ed Cowell6 September 2002
    The best TV show ever
    For me,fictional characters are better heroes than most real live people.The Doctor is one of those characters. The writing on the show constantly showcases the beauty of the English language and even though it was a low-budget show,the stories more than made up for that. There was always this insane sense of fun as the Doctor and his companions went around the universe righting wrongs,having all these great adventures and exploring the wonders of the universe. The notorious English wit runs rampant throughout. ("Who did this to you?" "SOCIAL WORKERS!") It's impossible for me to pick a favorite Doctor or a favorite episode,but a few favorites of mine: "Terror Of The Autons" "City Of Death" "The Five Doctors" "The Caves Of Androzani" "Vengeance On Varos" "The Happiness Patrol" "The Greatest Show In The Galaxy" and "Paradise Towers." Occasionally,there was a clunker like the

    absolutely horrible "Delta And The Bannermen" but overall,DOCTOR WHO was a classic show.
  • Scapegoat_Y1 March 2006
    10/10
    Probably the best show ever.
    Is there any stopping the Doctor? My answer is no. Even though some reports have suggested that time lords may only go through 12 generations, hopefully the Doctor will break that tradition and the internet geeks will bury their faces in their hands with shame.

    Even though it may not sound like it, I used to be a normal little girl who liked pink and ponies before I discovered the wonderful world of Who last year. I was never into science fiction or fantasy, just comedy and family, but Doctor Who changed all that.

    It was in April 2005 when my middle-aged aunt had misheard something about me liking Doctor Who. She bought 'The Three Doctors' on DVD, and I had no choice but to watch it. Since then, I've been hooked.

    I know Romana's full name (well, it's either Romanadvoratrelundar or Romanatrevortrelundar), how Adric died (he was trying to solve a logic code when a Cyberman destroyed the keyboard and the ship blew up), the importance of the sonic screwdriver and nearly all the monsters and planets mentioned. I am a true Whovian (complete with a crush on Matthew Waterhouse) and I'm not afraid to admit it.

    If the Doctor had to die for the last time, the world would be in deep despair. People would talk about for years. I would be one of them. If the Doctor died, shame, shame. At least the Who legend will live on.
  • YGoodwriter15 January 2007
    10/10
    This show will live on through time
    DOCTOR WHO is a triumph of the imagination. A premise that is elegantly simple with an enigmatic hero, who is staggeringly brilliant and yet endearingly flawed. The show's strength has always been its consistently powerful writing, and the performance of the lead actor, of who there have been many. (Seven all together in this series.) The premise: A time traveler from an advanced race flees his suffocating, antiseptic society, to experience the wonders of the universe in his time/space vehicle, the TARDIs (Time and Relative Dimensions in Space). He starts out as purely an explorer, but soon becomes a galactic crusader, using his amazing science and resourceful ingenuity to defend the weak and fight evil.

    When the series first star, William Hartnell, became too ill to continue on in the role, the writers came up with the ingenious concept of "regeneration". Whenever the Doctor is dying, he can regenerate into a newer, healthy form. This explains the seven varying actors, who not only don't look alike, but have decidedly differing personalities.

    Doctor One was an aging, eccentric curmudgeon. He had little patience and he didn't suffer fools gladly. He could be very intolerant and dismissive of his traveling companions (except for his beloved Grand daughter Susan) although he started to lighten up as the show went on, learning to enjoy a bemused chuckle once in a while.

    Doctor two was a complete reversal. He was friendly, funny and frivolous. He liked to play his flute, wear disguises and use lots of puns. He was like a mischievous little imp. He would certainly show fear at a frightening moment and was not adverse to running away when the situation warranted it. He often played the fool, making himself seem like a bungler...but this was all an act, designed to make people underestimate him. And he knew when to stop playing games. When he was all business, he was very formidable.

    Doctor Three Was the most physical and action oriented of the Doctors. Although he was certainly not a young kid, he was athletic and a master of a unique form of martian arts. This Doctor was a product of the James Bond era, relying on gadgets, like his cars "Bessie" and the Whomobile. He was elegant and classy looking, in his ruffled shirt and opera cloak. He exuded a sense of supreme confidence. He always seemed to be in control, no matter what the odds against him.

    Doctor Four was eccentric, unpredictable and maybe just a little bit crazy. There was no telling what he'd do or say next. He had a childlike enthusiasm and a sometimes a childish petulance. He would frequently enrage an enemy with his verbals barbs. Wrapped in his long, multi-colored scarf, he'd bound recklessly into danger, grinning that big boyish grin, as if the idea of defeat had never occurred to him. He was as fearless as he was curious.

    Doctor Five was a kinder gentler Doctor. He was patient, gentle, and displayed more vulnerability than other Doctors. His amiable nature was often put to the test, since he was saddled with the most disagreeable and argumentative group of traveling companions that any Doctor had ever been burdened with. He tried to play the adult and keep peace among his squabbling crew, but sometimes he just had to storm out and get away from these pests. He was a big sports lover and always dressed in a Cricketers outfit.

    Doctor Six was the most unlikable and irritating of all the Doctors. He was bombastic, boastful and belligerent. He showed little sympathy for his companions, and was quick to use lethal force to defeat an enemy.

    Doctor Seven began an a comical, impish fun lover, but soon revealed a darker side. He was the most enigmatic Doctor since Hartnell and displayed many layers of mystery beneath his smiling exterior.

    The tone of the show changed with each Doctor, and allowed the writers to reinvent the show over and over, keeping it as fresh in it's 26th year as it was in it's first.
  • atomius10 August 2004
    10/10
    The best Sci-Fi show of all time.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Doctor Who is by far the best science fiction show ever. It also has the best theme music of any show. And it ranks as my number 2 favourite show, beneath The Simpsons. The original series (which was far better than the newer one) is extremely enjoyable to watch. From the black and white episodes from 1963 through 1969 to the last episode in 1989, Survival, where the Doctor's old foe the Master returns once again, the show never fails to be entertaining. The characters are excellent, never lacking in originality. The plots, though some are outrageous and fantastic, as in the episodes where the Doctor travels between dimensions as well as through timespace, are always fun and full of adventure. There is depth in the characters, especially the Time Lord race, of which the Doctor, the main character, is a member. The Doctor's constantly changing companions, usually less than three, provide the audience with a tool to ask the time traveller questions they themselves would wish to ask. Explaining the police box shaped time machine TARDIS takes a lot of time. Another component of the show is the famous theme music written by Ron Grainer and created by Delia Derbyshire in 1963 with limited electric technology. It's still incredible to hear now, and would easily make most modern popular music seem rather simple indeed. Ten Stars for this classic show.
  • cpm627 December 2000
    Great science fiction series
    Despite the fact that the special effects make "Flash Gordon" look like "The Matrix", Doctor Who was a pretty good show. Despite a bunch of mediocre episodes that were basically rejected horror movies(___ of fear,____of death, you get the picture), there were some great stories, concepts, and writing. Also, the character of the Doctor was charming and funny, no matter who played him. Sadly, the show got canceled in the late 80's, just as it was getting good again after a slump. Best episodes of each Doctor- William Hartnell-"The Daleks"-introduced the salt-shaker bad guys, very well written. Patrick Troughton-"Tomb Of The Cybermen" Very atmospheric, with a great performance by Troughton. See if you can spot the supporting cast in various Bond movies! Jon Pertwee-"The Green Death"-Could have been terrible, but suceeds with some of the best writing ever in the show. Tom Baker-"City Of Death" shot beautifully in Paris, and featuring Julian Glover and John Cleese. Written by Douglas Adams, as well. Peter Davidson-"Caves of Androzani". Perhaps the best directed episode, Davidson's last. Colin Baker-"The Two Doctors". Troughton and Colin team up. Great fun, and shot beautifully in Spain. Slyvestor McCoy-"Rememberance Of The Daleks" A cool Dalek story, and also a trip down memory lane, with references to past Dalek stories and also the pilot episode, "An Unearthly Child".

    Then there's Mcgann, but that's a different review all together...
  • The_Other_Snowman14 December 2009
    8/10
    Time and Space Aplenty, but not a lot of money...
    "Doctor Who" is simply one of the greatest works of science fiction ever to appear on television. The only thing holding it short of absolute, unmitigated greatness is its amazing longevity (26 seasons) which ensured that there would be a good number of lousy episodes.

    The American version of this show is "Star Trek", of which I'm also a fan. The differences between the two series might be used as a basis of contrasting the two nations, but I'll only contrast the shows because it's much simpler:

    1) "Star Trek" has an ensemble cast, each of whom are designed to appeal to different demographics. "Doctor Who" has one regular character, the Doctor. To be fair, the Doctor has been played by ten different actors so far, each to a different effect.

    2) The heroes of "Star Trek" -- and while we're at it, the average US sf series -- represent a quasi-military organization tasked with keeping the peace throughout the galaxy, exploring, and righting wrongs. The Doctor doesn't follow anyone's orders, and largely makes it up as he goes along. To be honest, he's a bit of an anarchist at times, and at the very least usually totally anti-authoritarian.

    c) The Enterprise is a huge starship with a crew of hundreds, equipped with futuristic technology and run sometimes like a battleship, sometimes like a hot rod. The TARDIS is an antique time machine/spaceship in the shape of an antique British police telephone box.

    5) The Federation are the good guys. We like the Federation; they represent everything that is good and worth preserving about humanity. On the other hand: the Time Lords. Corrupt, petty, self-serving, bureaucratic. The Doctor ran off with the TARDIS to get away from them.

    Which is not to say that one show is inherently superior to the other. I like them both. But, as an American, "Doctor Who" is a refreshing change of pace from the standard formula of American television. The hero questions authority at every turn; he doesn't need a badge or a gun to back up his sense of morality; he is usually neither handsome nor physically strong, and there's barely a hint of sexuality. He's a champion of the oppressed and the underdog, totally free of political or nationalistic concerns.

    He may have had a good understanding of Right and Wrong, but what he lacked was a budget. Luckily, the BBC of old did not care, and they continued to produce the series so long as it had excellent writing and acting, which it did for the majority of its run. Each of the actors playing the Doctor has his strengths: my favorites are Patrick Troughton and Sylvester McCoy. Lack of funds ironically meant that there was no limit to what they could do: they knew it would look silly regardless, so they said to hell with it and threw everything they had up onto the screen. The result is colorful and imaginative and often very exciting. Say what you will about the show, it was never drab.
  • Big Movie Fan1 June 2002
    One Of The Finest Sci-Fi Shows Ever!
    Dr. Who without a doubt is one of the best sci-fi shows ever produced by British Television. No show can boast of the success Dr. Who has enjoyed. It ran from 1963-1989, there was a movie in 1996 and today there are countless books and audio tapes continuing the Doctor's adventures. It is frequently referred to in the media and is still talked about by fans all over the world. Not bad for a show that properly ended in 1989 is it? How many other shows that ended 13 years ago are still being talked about.

    Dr. Who was a very exciting series. I would like to talk about all the different actors that played the Doctor but I could literally go on forever so I shall try to be brief.

    My personal favourite was Tom Baker. Both sarcastic and serious at the same time when facing danger, Tom Baker's interpretation was brilliant. In my opinion he was the definitive Doctor and he enjoyed the best adventures facing the usual array of villains such as the Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons, Robots of Death etc.

    The real great thing about Doctor Who was how it evolved like a good show should. Each Doctor was different. For example, the late Jon Pertwee's Doctor was a man of action whilst Tom Baker's Doctor was better at thinking his way out of a predicament. Colin Baker's Doctor was arrogant and remote whilst Sylvester McCoy's Doctor had quite a cavalier attitude to his adventures.

    One thing I would like to say is how scary Doctor Who was-and I'm not talking about the Daleks either. They were just overgrown saucepan headed robots. The scariest ones were the truly creepy Cybermen who were both human and inhuman at the same time (if that can be considered possible). There were many other scary races such as the Zygons (shape-changers) and the autons. Doctor Who can be credited with giving me many sleepless nights.

    There is much more I could say about Doctor Who but it's not easy to do a quick review of a show that spanned almost 700 episodes. I will finish by saying that Doctor Who is without a doubt the best science fiction TV show ever-and that is quite an honour considering the amount of sci-fi shows that have been made since TV began.
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