Doctor Who, first time through

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Hober Mallow, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    I'd never seen Susan in a Doctor Who story before I started this watch-thru, and I'll say although I've noticed the over-the-top freakouts, it doesn't really bother me. It's pretty much what I expected. She's the kid who's supposed to get into trouble and scream a lot, the viewpoint character for the original intended audience.
  2. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2006
    Georgia, USA
    Hober, as part of your ongoing viewing, have you seen the so-called "unaired pilot"? It's basically "An Unearthly Child" but with a few minor "tweaks". One notable bit was a "one shot" entrance sequence stepping into the TARDIS. The doors of the police box open and the camera follows Ian and Barbara into the console room. Very ambitious cinematography given the insanely tight schedule and the size of the cameras.

    Another difference was the exchanges between the Doctor and Susan once Ian and Barbara force their way inside the capsule. Susan makes some comments that suggest she might be of "royalty". Afterwards she sits upon the large wooden chair seen the aired "cut" with a rather regal "air" almost bordering upon a "cold" sense of superiority.

    Had that remained in the final version, later writers may have revealed a somewhat different past for the Doctor and Susan.


  3. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Bill, yeah I saw that. I'm glad the producers shelved some of their early ideas, like the Doctor being a regressive trying to stop the advancement of technology after traveling to his perfect time in the past.
  4. Count Zero

    Count Zero Welcome to the Danger Zone! Moderator

    Mar 19, 2005
    Procrastination Plaza
    Welcome to the club. :D
  5. diankra

    diankra Commodore Commodore

    Jun 22, 2005
    One poi nt about Susan: she tends to freak out in jungles or other wild conditions (An Unearthly Child, Daleks, Marinus), but is perfectly calm in unfamiliar futuristic cities (The Daleks again, where it's Barbara who panics in the Dalek city).
    Sort of works for someone who presumably grew up int eh Time Lord citadel.
  6. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Just saw "The Keys of Marinus" and the first episode of "The Aztecs" (which is streaming on Netflix). Okay, I take back what I said about Susan. The constant freakouts are getting really old.
    That's a fair point and I can accept that. But even beyond the freakouts is the infantization of Susan. We go from this in "An Unearthly Child:"

    Susan: (reading through a history book) That's not right!

    to this in "The Aztecs:"

    Susan: Ooooo! Look! Cartoons!

    I know what the producers probably thought they were doing -- providing a viewpoint character for the intended young audience -- but I could see even children in the audience at the time finding her annoying.

    In any case, "Marinus" was a fun story that's getting into more familiar WHO territory here. The group become separated in their search, and the Doctor doesn't even appear in two episodes. In the final episode (which seemed really rushed) it's Ian who saves the day. I'm still not used to seeing such a passive Doctor. I do like Hartnell, but I'm looking forward to Troughton. At the pace I'm going I'll get to Troughton by the end of the decade and the series by the end of the next ice age.

    Okay, "The Aztecs." I haven't seen much yet, but we begin with Barbara being separated from the group, who find her regally dressed and being waited upon by servants. Uh, didn't I just see that story? The Aztecs speak perfect British English, but then I suppose that should be more believeable than aliens speaking English.
  7. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 2, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    That's because the TARDIS translates for her Travelers :bolian:
  8. CaptainMatt

    CaptainMatt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2011
    Sector 001
    I could never watch them in order like they aired on PBS or whatnot. Just dont have that sort of patience anymore. I watch what I get in the mood for regardless of the last time I watched one and what it was lol.But I fully support and respect your going through them one by one in order like you are!
  9. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    May 19, 2001
    Columbus, Ohio
    Originally it was a gift the Doctor allowed his companions to share.
  10. The Dominion

    The Dominion Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Sep 20, 2011
    Gamma Quadrant
    Just wait until you get to Vicki, she does Susan much better than Susan.
  11. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    We'll see how long I can keep this up without losing interest. So far so good.

    Finished up "The Aztecs." Not bad, and some interesting bits about the Doctor's stance on changing the timeline. Oh, and what's this? A little romance with the good Doctor?

    I'm looking forward to "The Sensorites."

    EDIT: Oh, and I forgot to mention I found the Doctor's describing himself as an engineer and a builder (or maker?) of things intriguing, as Data would say. The assumption at the time must have been that the Doctor built the TARDIS himself. Actually, come to think of it, I don't actually know that that's not true. See, there are indeed some surprises in store for me.
  12. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Saw the first couple "Sensorites." Susan is acting much more mature, and neither Susan nor Barbara are screaming at every shadow they see, which is rather refreshing. As soon as it's discovered that the Sensorites use fear to take control of humanoids, I immediately thought, "Oh, crap, Barbara and Susan are toast." Fortunately, they're being written much more competently in this outing, at least so far. I like the part where Susan cuts off Ian who's trying to explain a spectrograph. She already knows.

    I actually feel like these episodes sort of help explain her childish behavior. I get the feeling that the Doctor has been sheltering her for a long time. It makes me curious about how she came to be in his care, and how he came to have a family in the first place. I'm fairly certain the original series, at least, never addresses this, so that's a bit frustrating. I remember that the prevailing feeling back in the 80s was that Susan couldn't possibly be the Doctor's blood relative, that she was just another companion, one who had grown close to him and began calling him grandfather. Yeah, right. Hartnell and Ford were playing it as if they were indeed grandfather and granddaughter, and so I accept that that is the case.

    I like the dynamic now of the four characters all on the same page after starting from a place where Barbara and Ian were in constant conflict with the Doctor, with Susan stuck in the middle of it. They've been through a lot together and they're a true team now. This is character development we don't really get with the later Docs. They get their companions, who last a year or two, then they move on to the next one. And though Tom Baker is still my favorite Doc, Hartnell's Doc in less than one season has had more character development than Baker did during his entire run.
  13. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

    Sep 28, 2006
    Georgia, USA
    I have not had the opportunity to see more than a few of the remaining Hartnell stories (just the Beginning collection and the Dalek Invasion of Earth) , but from what I've read in various articles and fan observations, I believe you are quite correct.

    The Doctor does evolve during this first year of the series, starting as an antagonistic "catalyst" of jeopardy and eventually developing a set of morals that makes him a defender of justice. Of course, this reflects the production searching for the "format" that might work best for the longevity of the series. Once they found it, they stuck with what worked. What was it David Gerrold (creator of Trek's tribbles) had to say in one of his "behind the scenes" type books? "Concept" eventually becomes "format" and that eventually becomes (or maybe "devolves" into) "formula". Basically, one refines an idea until you find "what works"; but if you stick with that without variation, it can become repetitive, predictable.


  14. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    So I finished up "The Sensorites." I really enjoy the futuristic plots, but the endings always seem so rushed. "Well, the bad guy was taken into custody off screen. We're safe now. Let's get back to the TARDIS everyone." I've started with "Reign of Terror." I'm actually digging this one more than I have the other "histories" so far.

    If you compare him to the other Doctors and imagine that in Hartnell-Doc's younger days he was probably more like the other Doctors, it's almost tragic. The Doctor as we later know him from him other more youthful incarnations in always in control, and in this Doctor we have an old man who's lost much of that control. He can't accept that, of course, and so in proving to the much younger Ian that he's still brilliant, still in control of every situation, still the Doctor he always was, he ends up getting them in trouble. It's kind of sad. I see his lashing out at Ian and Barbara in "Edge of Destruction" as his own frustration at himself reaching boiling point for not being able to handle the crisis when he knows a younger version of himself would have been able to take care of it. Obviously I'm applying what we learn later about the Doctor and maybe I shouldn't. But why shouldn't I? Since I have seen a lot of later WHO before I ever saw a Hartnell story, I can't help but make that my own take on the character.

    It reminds me a bit of Blackadder. In season two and three of Blackadder, he's a sardonic wit who's in command of every situation. In Blackadder Goes Forth, he has no control and knows it, and it makes for a tragic version of the character. He's still Blackadder, but he's mostly resigned to the fact that he has no control of his fate.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  15. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Okay, so I've finished up the first season.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but did Susan provide the first confirmation that the Doctor is an alien in the Sensorites? Or, at least, not from Earth. As far as anyone knew then, he could have been a human from the future born on another planet.

    Anyway, here are some thoughts on the first season.

    My favorite arc: "The Keys to Marinus"

    My least favorite arc: "An Unearthly Child"

    I'm enjoying the Doctor's character development. I need to revise my theory, though, from earlier in the thread.
    I think now that the Doctor probably was already like that in his younger days. It's not just a respect of Ian that inspires him to be that way again, but a bit of pride and competitiveness. It comes out whenever Ian makes some off-hand remark about the Doc not knowing what he's doing; the Doctor impulsively sets out to prove Ian wrong, inevitably getting everyone in trouble in the process. But his pride forces him to prove that he's still "got it."

    Next up, season two...

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