Classic Who Runthrough

Discussion in 'Doctor Who' started by Darth_Daver, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. Darth_Daver

    Darth_Daver Captain Captain

    Jun 5, 2007
    I never got myself to sit down and watch more than one or two eps of classic who. Now that the girlfriend is also a fan, and we've burnt through just about every other scifi show, I thought maybe I'll watch Classic who. But I think this time around I might have to skip a few epsiodes, after all I didn't have the stomach to watch every episode of ST Voyager either... :) (Okay,I'm not saying Who is as bad as Voyager, but you know, the campiness, the 60s, etc...)

    So, I know quite a lot of stuff from old who, i've seen a few (very few) episodes (first and fifth doctor only), but i've read a lot on wikipedia and on this forum. So can you give me a MUST and an AVOID list? What I wish to avoid is the very campy very childish episodes, the horribly bad stories. What I want to see is the Doctor doing something huge, being his usual awesome self, and also some "real drama" (think Caves of Androzani).

    Thanks in advance, I'm looking forward to your opinions
  2. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

    Jan 13, 2007
    Moonbase Alpha
    Well, I think artistically, the 1960s episodes are probably the best of the whole series. And camp and funny is a very large proportion of what Doctor Who is. Still...

    Recommendations based on your criteria:
    The Aztecs
    The Dalek Invasion of Earth
    The Ark
    The Invasion
    The War Games
    Doctor Who and the Silurians
    Day of the Daleks
    Invasion of the Dinosaurs
    The Ark in Space
    Genesis of the Daleks
    Pyramids of Mars
    The Deadly Assassin
    The Armageddon Factor
    City of Death
    Warriors of the Deep
    The Caves of Androzani
    The Happiness Patrol
    The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
    The Curse of Fenric
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  3. Darth_Daver

    Darth_Daver Captain Captain

    Jun 5, 2007
    Thanks for the reply, first of all, a longer list is ok. I don't just want a glimpse, I want the whole experience, minus some crazy ride that would cheese me out, or bore me to death. First and last stories of each doctors is a must, also the important companion's introduction (or fate...)

    I have nothing against funny - I love funny, I just like the grandiose stories better.
  4. Count Zero

    Count Zero Make our planet great again! Moderator

    Mar 19, 2005
    European Union
    I can only do this for the first four seasons:

    An Unearthly Child (not that great a serial perhaps, but it does start the whole thing)

    The Daleks (a little slow paced but it's the first origin story of the Daleks and overall quite entertaining)

    The Keys of Marinus (a versatile action adventure)

    The Aztecs (unexpectedly non-naive and modern in its view of Aztec culture)

    The Sensorites (A cool sci-fi adventure with a nice twist)

    The Dalek Invasion of Earth (A must, just an awesome story)

    The Rescue (Well, it's an entertaining episode that gives us a new companion)

    The Romans (A fun adventure that explains where Nero got his ideas...)

    The Space Museum (A good action story with an intriguing beginning)

    The Chase (A great Dalek story)

    The Time Meddler (Fun story that introduces the Meddling Monk)

    Of the third season, hardly any serial is complete (which is a shame because The Dalek's Master Plan must have been great) and those that are, didn't really impress me, though The Ark and The War Machines aren't bad, either. Stay away from The Gunfighters, though.

    Then there's The Tenth Planet, which, though missing almost all of its last episode gives us the first regenaration and also introduces another of the recurring monsters of Who, so that makes it a must-see.

    No serial from the fourth season is complete, so that settles that.
  5. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

    May 15, 2002
    Per Doctor, and listing only those which are available on dvd in Region 1.

    One - An Unearthly Child (*only*) - This was the original pilot. In this era, each episode had its own title, while the dvds give an overall story title. Go with only the first episode. Everything you need is there, and the following three episodes are so bad, you'll probably want to stab somebody just to relieve the pain.

    The Aztecs - A solid four-parter, one of the earliest historicals.

    The Rescue - Introduction of a new companion, directly after the departure of the Doctor's granddaughter Susan. It's only two episodes, and gives a decent introduction to the series for new viewers.

    The Romans - Follows The Rescue immediately, and is another historical, though a comedic one.

    Two (his first story is lost; the regeneration scene, about 15 seconds or so, is on the Lost in Time box set)

    The Tomb of the Cybermen - Solid four-parter with Jamie and the Cybermen

    The Invasion - 8-parter with the Cybermen working with shadowy folks on Earth, preparing to invade the planet. Introduces UNIT.

    The War Games - epic, 10-episode story, which gives us the introduction to the Doctor's race, planet, and more. This is the final Second Doctor story with him as the current Doc.


    Spearhead From Space - The first story with the Third Doctor, reintroduces the concept of UNIT, intro of Liz and others. The Doctor is now confined to Earth in the 20th century, not allowed to leave the planet.

    Inferno - Parallel universe versions of the main characters, not including the Doctor

    The Three Doctors - Yeah, the plot itself is flimsy. It's the 10th anniversary special, and a reunion of the first three Doctors. Together, they go on a mission for the Time Lords; as a result, the current Doctor is once again free to travel time and space.

    Time Warrior - Introduction of arguably the most popular companion, Sarah Jane Smith. Semi-historical, also introduction of recurring bad guys the Sontarans.

    This Doc's finale is not on dvd yet.


    Robot - First story with this Doctor.

    Pyramids of Mars - Oh just good stuff, gives us a new look on the ancient Egyptians as aliens.

    The Key to Time - This is a box set, six stories, taking up the entire sixteenth season. The Doctor is given a new companion - actually, she's forced on him by the Time Lords. Her name is Romana, and she is every bit the Doctor's equal, the first woman who could stand up to him, and be right about it. Together, they are looking for the six pieces that make up the "Key to Time."

    Logopolis - Fourth Doctor's finale.


    Castrovalva - Fifth Doctor's first story. It's *not* a good one, in my opinion.

    The Arc of Infinity - semi-sequel to the Three Doctors, everyone goes to Amsterdam, and Maxil comes in to say "hi." Maxil is played by Colin Baker, who would later be the Sixth Doctor.

    The Five Doctors - 20th anniversary special with the first five Doctors coming together, along with a metric buttload of companions and bad guys. No real plot, just an excuse to see everybody on screen again.

    Resurrection of the Daleks - As I recall, it's the only time this Doctor met the Daleks.

    Caves of Androzani - finale for this Doctor, introduction of the Sixth Doctor.


    His first story, The Twin Dilemma, comes out next week. It's mostly memorable because it's the first time the Doctor has tried to kill one of his companions. In his defense, she was really annoying.

    Attack of the Cybermen - Cybermen plus grumpy Six, I love it.

    Mark of the Rani - Introduction of the Rani. She's a Time Lady who was basically the equal and opposite of the Doctor. As brilliant as he is, but with no moral compass, she would murder everyone on a planet just because she could. And she kicked the Master's ass. Literally.

    The Two Doctors - The last multi-Doctor story in the classic series. Everyone is pretty much completely out of character, but it's so much fun seeing the Second Doctor go insane.

    Revelation of the Daleks - Six finally tones down his costume and works with Richard Bucket ("Keeping Up Appearances").

    The last appearance of this Doctor was in the season-long Trial of a Time-Lord. The Doctor is put on trial for his life. Half the scenes are set in a courtroom, the other half are seen as memories. It does get a little tedious as the Doctor mocks the name of the man who is prosecuting him. Even the actor rolls his eyes more than once, and his commentary is hilarious as he describes just how bad the scripts were.

    Seven The first story for this Doc, "Time and the Rani" is not yet available. The regeneration scene is simply painful. The actor playing Seven puts on a blond wig, there's a bit of whooshing around with camera fx, the wig comes off, and it's Seven.

    Remembrance of the Daleks - Memorable mostly for tying in to the original pilot, and for the first-ever flying Dalek.

    Survival - this was the finale of the classic series. Even then, it's pretty bad.

    Eight - Well, there's only the tv movie. And it's only on dvd overseas, not in North America, unless you import it and have a multi-region player. Unless you're a major hardcore "must have every story available" fan, you can skip it.
  6. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

  7. Captain Pike

    Captain Pike Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    * = Not a great story, but has some significance to it.
    For the missing episodes I recommend either the BBC audio with narration or one of the reconstructions doing the rounds.

    1st Doc -

    An Unearthly Child. Part one only. Watching parts 2 - 4 could turn you off the show forever..
    The Daleks - Introduces the Daleks.
    The Aztecs - One of the best of the historical stories
    The Dalek Invasion of Earth - Susan's last story.
    The Rescue - Vicki's first story. The dvd also includes the story The Romans which is pretty good, you may as well watch that too.
    The Chase* - not out on dvd yet. This is Ian & Barbara's last story, & introduces Stephen, but otherwise it doesn't have a huge amount to recommend it.
    The Time Meddler - Introduces the Meddling Monk. Stephen's first proper story as a companion
    The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve - Story is missing. Introduces new companion Dodo.
    The Savages - Completely missing. Stephen's last story.
    The War Machines* - Dodo's last story. Introduces new companions Ben & Polly. Story parralells the later UNIT stories.
    The Tenth Planet - not on dvd yet. This is the last story of the first doctor. The BBC put out their own release on video a few years back which included a reconstruction of the missing last episode - see if you can get a copy of this it's floating about.

    2nd Doc -

    Power of the Daleks - Story is missing completely. First story of 2nd doc.
    The Highlanders - As above, completely missing. Introduces new companion Jamie.
    The Faceless Ones - Episodes 2 & 4-6 missing, other eps on the Lost in Time set. Departure of Ben & Polly.
    The Evil of the Daleks - Only episode 2 exists, can be found on Lost in Time. Introduces new companion Victoria.
    Tomb of the Cybermen - One of the 2nd doc's better surviving stories.
    The Ice Warriors - Not out on DVD. Episodes 2 & 3 are missing, but there are reconstructions you can find. Introduces the Ice Warriors.
    The Web of Fear - Only the first episode exists and is on LiT. Introduces Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart.
    Fury from the Deep - Completely missing. Victoria's last story.
    The Wheel in Space* - Only episodes 3 & 6 exist and are on LiT. Introduces new companion Zoe.
    The Invasion - The two missing eps have been reconstructed with animation. The first proper UNIT story.
    The War Games - 2nd Doc's final story. Zoe & Jamie's final story. Introduces the time lords.

    3rd Doc -

    Spearhead from Space - Introduces the the Autons, the 3rd doc and his new companion (assistant?), Liz Shaw.
    The Ambassadors of Death - Not on dvd, but it's a great story.
    Terror of the Autons* - Not on dvd. Introduces the Master & new companion Jo Grant
    The Three Doctors - First multi-doc reunion special. Introduces Omega.
    Frontier In space / Planet of the Daleks - You could skip Planet.. if you like, but it's one long story more or less. This is already out on dvd in some regions I think.
    The Green Death - Jo Grant's last story.
    The Time Warrior - Introduces the Sontarans and new companion Sarah Jane Smith.
    Death to the Daleks - Not out on dvd yet. Don't know why but I've always liked this one.
    Planet of the Spiders - Not out on dvd. 3rd doc's last story.

    4th Doc -

    Basically just everything you can find except for maybe Underworld & The Leisure Hive. Really, it's all pretty good.
    If you really need to cut it down, I'd watch -
    Robot - First story of 4th doc
    Genesis of the Daleks - A classic. According to RTD the Time War starts here.
    Terror of the Zygons - Not yet on dvd. Classic, gothic horror.
    The Seeds of Doom - Not yet on dvd. One of the greatest stories ever imo.
    The Hand of Fear - Sarah Jane Smith's last story
    The Deadly Assasin - Helped flesh out the timelords. Sees the return of the Master.
    The Face of Evil - Not yet on dvd. Leela's first story
    The Robots of Death - great story
    The Talons of Weng Chiang - another great story. The doctor does his Sherlock Holmes thing here.
    The Horror of Fang Rock - Basically this is Graham Williams doing a homage to Phillip Hinchcliffe
    The Invasion of Time* - Leela's last story
    The Ribos Operation - introduces Romana
    Destiny of the Daleks* - bit of a lame story, but introduces Romana II
    City of Death
    Full Circle* - introduces Adric
    Warrior's Gate* - Romana's last story
    The Keeper of Traken* - Introduces Nyssa.
    Logopolis - Introduces Tegan. 4th doc's final story.

    5th Doc -

    Castrovalva* - 5th doc's first story
    The Visitation
    Earthshock - Adric's last story
    Mawdryn Undead - Introduces Turlough
    Terminus* - Nyssa's last story
    Enlightenment - Conclusion of the Black Guardian arc which started in Mawdryn..
    The King's Demons* - Not yet on dvd. Introduces Kamelion
    The Five Doctors - 2nd multi-doc reunion special.
    Resurrection of the Daleks* - Tegan's last story
    Planet of Fire* - Not yet on dvd. Introduces Peri. Turlough's last story.
    The Caves of Androzani - 5th doc's final story.

    At this point some of it becomes a bit tough to stomach

    6th Doc -

    The Twin Dilemma* - Actually, I wouldn't bother with this unless you simply have to see every doc's first story.
    Vengeance on Varos - Introduces Sil.
    The Mark of The Rani - Introduces the Rani.
    The Two Doctors - last of the proper multi-doc reuinion specials.
    Revelation of the Daleks - probably Colin's best story.
    Trial of a Timelord* - It ranges from pretty bad to damn awful, but it introduces new companion Mel and culminates in Peri & the 6th doc's last stories.

    7th Doc -

    Time and the Rani* - Not yet on dvd. As with Twin Dilemma, I'd skip this unless you feel the need to see this doc's first.
    Dragonfire* - Not yet on dvd. Mel's last story, introduces Ace.
    Rememberance of the Daleks - one of the better stories of the 7th doc.
    The Curse of Fenric
    Survival - The last story of the classic series.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  8. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

    Jan 13, 2007
    Moonbase Alpha
    Sorry, I've got to speak up for parts 2-4 of An Unearthly Child (or "the cavemen story" if you prefer). Not only are they incredible, intense tv drama of the kind we just don't get any more - but as the OP wanted big, epic moments - well, the evolution of homo sapiens occurs right there onscreen in episode 4 - surely one of the most important events ever seen in Doctor Who.
  9. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I suppose its not as horrible as people say. The slower, more talky pace takes some getting used to.

    Btw, I don't think they ever actually come out and say their on Earth in the episode. For all we know it could have been Mondas. :)
  10. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

    May 15, 2002
    Yes, yes it is. Episodes 2-4 are terrifically bad. Episode one was brilliant, followed by utter garbage. I understand some people like them, but I don't know any of them personally.
  11. Andrew_Kearley

    Andrew_Kearley Captain Captain

    Jan 13, 2007
    Moonbase Alpha
    Do you watch much 1960s vt drama at all?
  12. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    The suggestions on this thread are good ones, but to be honest it's probably better to pick and choose almost at random. Everyone likes different things, and some of the stories listed here I think are awful*, and some I consider classics** have been overlooked. Fans are like that.

    I wouldn't bother trying to watch it in order. Assuming you are doing a DVD rental scheme, just get in a few stories from different Doctors and see what you like.

    To be honest, he doesn't really do a lot of that in the classic series. He generally lands on a planet, gets in trouble, and solves things in the end.

    Watch The Talons of Weng Chiang though. That's brilliant.

    *Resurrection of the Daleks. One of the worst ever. But you might love it, that's the beauty!
    **The Mind Robber. The best surviving Troughton story by some distance.
  13. OmahaStar

    OmahaStar Disrespectful of his betters Admiral

    May 15, 2002
    Well sure, if today is opposite day. :P
  14. Cutter John

    Cutter John Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Ask ten different fans, you'll get ten different answers. :rolleyes:

    Again, I'd recomend Youtube. Especially doing a search for 'Next time doctor who'. There are a ton of fan produced trailers for classic Who episodes that might give you an idea of what might appeal to you.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  15. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jun 22, 2003
    Exactly why I suggested just diving in at random.