I’ve been watching Dr. Who since it premiered on American television (in my case, my local Public Television station, WHA-TV) back in the early 1980s, and found myself smitten with Tom Baker’s portrayal. Since then, there’s been a lot of water passing under that bridge, with a number of subsequent Doctors failing to make much of an impression on me until David Tennant only a few short years ago. With the 50th Anniversary of the premiere of the series on British television, this seems like a fine time to recall a few things I enjoy about the series.
Tennant’s Doctor is charming like Tom Baker’s, but has a more powerful edginess. There is more anger there, and more ferocity too, I think. Matt Smith’s Doctor was also charming in a slightly more naiive way, but while I found his youthful enthusiasm contagious, his darker moments were less effective — less believable to me.
There are lots of favorite episodes that spring to mind, many of them more recent. From the Tom Baker era “The Horns of Nimon” is a favorite around our house, if only to mock the dialogue of one character, Soldeed. Scary and compelling is “The Seeds of Doom”, and “City of Death” has to be counted as among my favorites largely because of the skills of talented veteran actor Julian Glover. The special effects from this age of the Doctor we’re all that special, but the writing was generally quite good – and clearly the show was no longer the kid’s programme it was during its infancy. “The Five Doctors” special filmed during Peter Davison’s tenure also amuses our household greatly – so much so that we watch our DVD of it every year or two.
Tennant’s episode “Silence In The Library” must be my all-time favorite episode, in which a shadowy creature stalks visitors to a massive, apparently abandoned library. “Blink” — also creepy and horrifying and features the ‘weeping angels’ characters — is a very, very close second.
While in earlier days the numerous time paradoxes that cropped up were solved with some determined hand-waving, current scripts are genuinely more thoughtful about such issues, treating them seriously and with a certain amount of respect. It’s this respect that has me turning back into a Dr. Who fan after years away from the fold.