Monday, March 14, 2011

Knee-Jerk Reaction

I just watched "Vengeance on Varos."  For those of you keeping score at home, this would be my first foray into the Colin Baker era of "Doctor Who."  I really wasn't sure where to start with the Sixth Doctor, only that I didn't want to start with "The Twin Dilemma" (curse you, internet people telling me how awful it is - and I still don't even know for myself).

As you probably are aware (and if you're not, I don't mind repeating myself) Peter Davison is my favorite of the Classic Doctors.  I completely fell in love with the stories from that era and his portrayal of the Doctor is just wonderful and I love the companions.  Not to say that era is without its problems (I'm pretending the Myrka never existed), but it was just a fantastic run of television.  The fact that Peter Davison continues to be involved with the franchise and the fans completely endears him to me and there was much jealousy in my heart towards the Gallifrey 22 attendees who got to meet him in person (I can't wait until BBC America gets to his run in "Law and Order: UK" - and I don't even think they've started filming the new series yet).

Anyway, I've had a hard time coming to terms with the events at the end of "The Caves of Androzani."  After I finished it, I had to leave the house and go for a walk to calm down because I was so upset that the Doctor had regenerated and that it happened the way it happened (yes, I know it originally aired 27 years ago - STOP JUDGING ME!)  I mean, don't get me wrong, it was the most brilliant piece of storytelling and they did a fantastic job with it - but I don't particularly like endings.  Especially when it means there are no more episodes of my favorite, favorite Doctor (since David Tennant and Matt Smith are still duking it out in my head for which of those two I like the best, Peter Davison has been given the top spot in my book.  Sorry, guys).

So, instead of forging ahead into the Sixth Doctor's reign, I've been dragging my feet and listening to Big Finish's audio dramas (THANK THE GOOD LORD ABOVE FOR BIG FINISH) and rewatching the new series and watching episodes with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker (both of whom are very good).  But, I've finally come to the conclusion that I must experience all of the eras of Doctor Who at some point in order to fully understand and appreciate this show.  Even if it means moving on to the Doctor that replaced my favorite (is this how the exceedingly rabid David Tennant fangirls felt when Matt Smith took over?  I mean, I love David Tennant's Doctor - but I love Matt Smith's Doctor as well).

So, I watched "Vengeance on Varos" - it came as a recommendation from the Doctor Who LiveJournal community, that's why I picked it.  And - just after one Sixth Doctor story, this is my report:

HOLY. CRAP.  How in the WORLD could two back-to-back incarnations of the Doctor be so different? I mean - I mean - just - that - and the - thing is - I can't - and - and - *dies*

Okay - that was my knee-jerk reaction.  These are my coherent and civilized thoughts:

"Varos" was actually a decent story.  The effects were pretty good too, considering the time it was made and on what kind of budget ('course, I usually don't care much about special effects - if the writing is good then effect don't really matter.  I'm probably the only person who thinks so, though).  But it was so, so different to what I've come to expect from the Classic series that it threw me completely for a loop.  Even the Doctor was so much changed from his previous incarnation.  I mean, Nine and Ten were very different.  Same with the switch from Ten to Eleven and Two to Three and Four to Five... but Five to Six... the change is really jarring and not in a good way. I really don't know how I feel about all this.  It might just take some getting used to, honestly.  There are moments when Six is very likable (the first scenes of the Doctor and Peri in the TARDIS are actually pretty funny.  And I don't see what the big deal is about the acid bath scene - the Doctor never even touched the guy).

I realize that there were plenty of shenanigans going on in the executive offices of the BBC at this point in the show's history and sometimes the stories felt like they had too many cooks adding to the soup.  Sort of like what happened with Spider-Man 3 - everybody wanted everything all at once, but once they got it, everything sucked and they had to resort to a Broadway musical (which I hear is not doing so well).

However, I will reserve my own judgment until I've seen more of Colin Baker as the Doctor.  He may not end up being my favorite, but I really hate taking other people's opinions as Gospel Truth before I've had an opportunity to work it out for myself.  I know that totally contradicts my opening statement about "The Twin Dilemma," but I still manage to sleep at night.  Case in point: I actually liked the Dalek two-parter in Series 3 before I found out that the majority of fandom hated it.  Even after hearing everyone else moan and complain about it, I still like it (haters may please familiarize themselves with the left-hand exit procedure).

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