Thursday, May 29, 2014

In The Doctor We Trust

I have I said before I am a big Doctor who fan.  I have seen all the Canonical Doctors.  I have yet to see the Peter Cushing Films.  They are outside of the show’s canon.  I thought I would run down my thoughts about each Doctor and share it here.

The First Doctor (William Hartnell)

I have not seen a lot of his era’s episodes.  Hartnell is the original.  His Doctor was like an Oxford Don.  If you did not listen or did something stupid, he chastised you and it was for your own good.  He was gruff, but also kind.  He definitely did not suffer fools.  He was a man of Intellect and cleverness.  He let his companions deal with the physical stuff.  I enjoy the shows, but I am not a big fan of Hartnell.  His portrayal is wonderful, it just is not what I enjoy about the show.

The Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton)

Another Doctor whose entire adventures I have not seen.  Like the First Doctor, part of the reason is there are missing episodes and serials.  Nicknamed the Cosmic Hobo, this Doctor tricks his enemies into thinking he is not a threat.  He uses subterfuge and guile to defeat them.  This was the first Doctor to introduce whimsy to his character.  It would inform other portrayals of the character.  I love this Doctor.  His style and absurd manner are fun to watch.

The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee)

Now we are getting to the Doctors in which I have seen all or almost all of the episodes.  The Third was a man of action in a velvet coat, filly shirts and a cape.  He was exiled to stay on earth.  Most of his exploits are there.  He took a head on approach to problems, even engaging in hand to hand.  Previous incarnations were not this physical.  I enjoyed this Doctor.  Like the first he was easily irritated when dealing with intellectual inferiors at times.  He never shirked at challenge.  In Many ways this was the James Bond Doctor.  He worked as a scientific advisor to a government agency UNIT. 

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker)

My First Doctor is Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor.  His Doctor was mad as a hatter; he would react sometime inappropriately to situations.  Everything seems lost or there is battle he would offer a Jelly Baby.  He was the Mad Genius of Doctor.  Always twenty steps ahead of everyone.  He was never fazed by anything.  He had some of the Whimsy that The Third had introduced before.  His signature Manic grin was also seen everywhere.  Whovians who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s tend to have this as their first Doctor.  He has a huge following and was the number one favorite till the 2005 reboot. 

The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison)

When this Doctor appeared at 29 he was the youngest to portray the Doctor.  This was the kinder, gentler and more sensitive Doctor.  He also had a boyish charm to him.  This was my second Doctor.  He abhorred violence and tried to avoid any direct conflict.  I liked this Doctor, he was energetic.  He came off as a tortured hero.

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker)

Probably the most Maligned Doctor ever.  This Doctor was a petulant, volatile, and arrogant egoist.  The Sixth Doctor found himself in the middle of a behind the scenes battle with the BBC.  His tenure was cut short, but thanks to his work with the Audio Dramas he has been able to develop the character more.  I was not a fan of this Doctor, but that was my own opinion.  I do agree that the BBC executives at the time shorted him and did not give him a chance.

The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy)

Like the previous incarnation the Seventh was sadly mistreated by the BBC.  Head of the network decided to cancel the show leading to the infamous long hiatuses.  This Doctor was outwardly the bumbling fool, but also the dark games master.  The Actor himself was knowledgeable about clowning and brought it to his role.  This was a shrewd almost manipulative Doctor.  At the same time he seemed light hearted and foolish.  I wish we had seen more of what this character could have been.  The Heads of BBC canceled the show.  We did not see this Doctor again until after seven years.  I loved this Doctor and until the reboot he was my second favorite Doctor. 

The Eight Doctor (Paul McGann)

Of all the Doctors, the Eighth had one of the the shortest tenures.  On Screen he appeared in one TV Movie produced by Fox for American Audiences.  This was not a good attempt.  The Eighth went on to prove himself by appearing and quite a few audio drams other the years.  This was a wild eyed enthusiastic and debonair Doctor clad in Victorian/ Edwardian garb.  He was the first to be involved in a romantic relationship with a companion. Recently he made his second on screen appearance in a short prequel to the Fiftieth Anniversary Special.  There is a following asking for a spin off series starring the Eighth Doctor. 

The Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston)

After Nine years Doctor Who returned.  This time there was a new Doctor with shocking revelation.  The Ninth had survived the Time Wars between the Time Lords and the Daleks.  Both sides were gone and he was the sole survivor.  The Ninth was eccentric, but also had a darkness and sadness to him.  He only lasted one season.  I enjoyed the glee and chaos that this incarnation spread out in the universe.  He was a stripped down Doctor that was manic but not foppish. 

The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)

The Tenth Doctor has been one the most beloved since the reboot.  He was ball of excitement, energy and Child like glee, but was also able to show pronounced rage and fury.  The Darkness hinted at with the Seventh and the Ninth incarnations was clear in the one.  This Doctor meted out furious justice to the worst the universe offered.  Towards the end he began thinking the rules did not apply too him, only to be reminded they do.  I like this Doctor he was fun, but also had his scary moments. 

The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)

Matt Smith was the youngest Actor to ever portray the wandering Time Lord.  He was silly and eccentric, as well as tortured and fiercely protective of those he loved.  During his tenure the idea that his legend was becoming that of the feared destroyer was explored.  Even though that did not fit the character, he actions when provoked from the outside warranted this view.  This was a hold over from the previous incarnation.  I liked this Doctor.  He has told various media sources that he studied the Second Doctor for inspiration.  His silliness and exuberance juxtaposed  with his fierceness made this exciting to watch.

The War Doctor (John Hurt)

During the Eleventh’s tenure we learn there was an incarnation between the Eighth and Ninth.  The one that actually fought in the gruesome Time War.  This incarnation was the one that did not go by the name the Doctor.  It is never clear what moniker he used.  He only appeared in the Fiftieth Anniversary Special.  He had the shortest tenure in just one special.  So far there has been no other appearance in any other media.  I enjoyed this portrayal of the war weary and exhausted Doctor who fought the Time Wars for centuries.  Overall it was good stuff.

The Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi)

Peter Capaldi was a return to the curmudgeonly Doctor that we saw with the First and somewhat with the Third Doctors.  After two youthful Doctors it was nice to see an older Doctor again. At the time of this writing only the first series with Capaldi has aired. He is still finding his groove so to speak.  I like a Doctor that does not mind being rude.  He knows what the Doctor is meant to be, but he still has not grown into the role quite yet. 

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