How I got into Doctor Who

Wow, I can’t believe it has been this long since I updated this blog! I’m so sorry about that. I’d been away for part of the summer, then work got really busy, the holidays were upon us, and finally my 74-year-old mom was having health issues for which she had surgery. I had meant to update a lot earlier but could never find the time.

There is so much I want to blog about. Since then I have read some more Doctor Who novels and I’d like to share my thoughts about them. I also got The Faceless Ones animated episodes on DVD and just now got Fury From the Deep, so I will write about them too.

But first I’d like to share how I got into Doctor Who in the first place. It was around 1981. Here in America, Doctor Who had been airing on PBS stations. Both of my parents were into science fiction (my dad being a big fan of Star Trek already). I was about 3 years old when I was watching TV with them one day. I saw a funny man with googly eyes, a mop of brown curls, and a long colorful scarf. I asked what this show was and was told “Doctor Who.” Even though I was so young and probably didn’t understand half of what was going on, there was something about it I liked. I even thought the opening theme song was kind of creepy and cool. Don’t ask me what the episode was about. I just vaguely remember Tom Baker’s Doctor on some planet or other. Not sure who the companion was (though I think it might have been Sarah Jane) or who the baddies were in it.

I’m not sure how long we watched on PBS but probably not more than a few years. Fast forward to 1996. I was graduating high school and heard there was to be a Doctor Who movie on network TV here. I immediately felt nostalgic and when I saw the pictures of Paul McGann in the role it piqued my interest. I did watch it and it seemed different but still interesting. Around the same time I remember reading articles in various magazines and books I had on TV shows in general regarding the earlier Doctors. I remember someone saying that Patrick Troughton’s Doctor was a lot like a hippie (don’t ask who wrote this or where I saw it). I started picturing him looking like Wavy Gravy with a bushy beard, headband, granny glasses and a tie-dyed shirt. I kid you not. A blurb about William Hartnell’s Doctor just mentioned him as a grumpy old man, and one about Jon Pertwee’s being a Bond-like character. The only Doctor I was familiar with at that point really was Tom Baker so I found it fascinating to read about these earlier Doctors.

That was about the extent of my exposure to Doctor Who until around 2005 when SciFi (now known as SyFy) started airing the “New Who” with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. There was that feeling of nostalgia all over again and I started watching faithfully his episodes followed by David Tennant’s. I didn’t watch much of Matt Smith’s because I hadn’t really warmed up to him much, although he grew on me later on. I watched most of Peter Capaldi’s and then watched a few of Jodie Whittaker’s… although I admit I wasn’t crazy about the writing by that point so I sort of fell away from it.

Going back to 2013-2014, I started searching for old clips on YouTube, and finally got a glimpse of the 1st through 3rd Doctors. Imagine my shock to see the 2nd Doctor was not the “hippie” I’d envisioned him as, lol. Once I found these old clips I got more and more interested in the classic episodes. For Christmas the following year I got the “Lost In Time” DVD set with the 1st and 2nd Doctor “orphan” episodes from the missing (or mostly missing) stories. Their companions grew on me, especially Barbara and Ian, Vickie, Steven, Ben and Polly, and I took an instant liking to Jamie, Victoria and Zoe. I had to seek out more and from there I expanded my DVD collection to include stories from the 1st and 2nd Doctor’s times (as well as a few from the 3rd’s).

I then ventured out into the Classic Who fandom some, and have found other fans to be nothing but welcoming. Its a nice little fandom that is a pleasure to be a part of and extremely tame compared to some of the others I have belonged to (Stargate SG-1, Supernatural). I began writing fanfiction, started my own Classic Who blog on Tumblr, and have even attended a convention, meeting a few of the cast and fellow fans.

It’s been a great experience which I hope will continue for quite some time. I want to thank the fans and cast I’ve met for being so pleasant and accommodating.

(And again, I promise I will update this more regularly :))

Doctor Who: Harvest of Time

I’ve finally got a reason to update this blog. I was given the novel “Doctor Who: The Harvest of Time” as a Christmas gift and finally got a chance to finish reading it.

This book written by Alastair Reynolds is an adventure featuring the Third Doctor, Jo Grant and UNIT (the Brigadier, Captain Yates and Sergeant Benton make appearances). In summary, there are strange goings-on in the vicinity of an oil rig off the coast of Scotland. People are being attacked by little metal crab-like creatures called Sild who attach themselves to their victims, putting them under their control. Meanwhile, shady government types are working with an enigmatic fellow who turns out to be – you guessed it – the Master. The Sild eventually target the Master, and the Doctor ends up having to work with him in order to stop the Sild from taking over Earth.

Jo and UNIT didn’t feature too heavily in this one, but whenever they did feature I thought they were completely in character. I could just picture the actors’ mannerisms and hear them saying the lines. The Doctor’s characterization was also well done, as was the Master’s. The author portrayed their banter/sniping back and forth at one another as they’re forced to work together. We also got some glimpses into their history together, and less antagonistic interaction at times that was well done.

I also loved the nod to Jamie McCrimmon in this one. Towards the beginning, the Doctor and Jo meet a character by the name of Edwina “Eddie” McCrimmon, who is the middle-aged daughter of the man who was formerly in charge of the rig. Someone else associated with the rig mentions “McCrimmon” to the Doctor, who replies something to the effect of “I knew a McCrimmon once. Awfully decent fellow.” It’s never said whether this character could have been a descendant of Jamie, but I still appreciated the nod to him here. 🙂 Edwina is a very good, well-rounded character, proving she’s more than able to hold her own throughout all the dangerous predicaments in which she gets herself involved. There was a cool twist later on involving her, although the author seems to telegraph it and it wasn’t as much of a surprise as I’d thought… still, it was pretty well done.

The Praxilions, the aliens to which we get a quick introduction at the very beginning (and which we see much more of in the second half of the book), are pretty interesting characters, as is the history of their planet.

I also liked the nod to the Masters’ other incarnations while he and the Doctor are working together aboard the Consolidator. He sees them all on display and the descriptions bring to mind not only his decaying self from the 4th Doctor’s time (The Deadly Assassin especially), but also the Saxon!Master from the 10th’s era and the more recent Missy.

The only nitpicks I have about this book are that, one, it tends to drag quite a bit in the second half. The action is well-paced in the first half, but once the Doctor and Master are working together, it’s as if the author takes the situation and zooms in on it, slowing down time as he’s doing so (not sure if “time dilation” would be a proper description for this?). It’s almost as if he suddenly realizes it and then quickly rushes to the end of the book. The second nitpick is that the environmental “message” seems a bit heavy-handed. I know it does fit well within this era of Doctor Who (see episodes like “Doctor Who and the Silurians” and “The Green Death”), but the way the author has Edwina giving her press conference at the end and saying the things she does, it’s done in a quite heavy-handed way as if he just wanted to get his agenda out there. I think a more subtle approach would have worked, but I think it might be a casualty of the fact that he’d slowed things down so much earlier and perhaps realized he quickly had to wrap it up. I also found that when she told the Doctor and Jo that her father was actually very agreeable to her new direction with the company a bit hard to believe, given the glimpses of his character we were given earlier. I won’t say any more as I don’t want to make this political in the least. I did enjoy the book; I just couldn’t help being a bit disappointed by these two items.

That concludes my review. I’m about to start reading the Second Doctor book “The Final Sanction” and I’ll be sure to post my thoughts when I’m finished with it.

Fanfiction Master Post

I know I’d mentioned before that I write fanfiction, but I thought I’d include a master list of it in case anyone was interested in reading it.

One-shots:

Something I Said : Zoe unintentionally offends Jamie and tries to make amends. (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Up to Snow Good : The TARDIS lands in a snowy wonderland. A snowball fight ensues and Jamie learns another thing or two about dressing for the weather. (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Home for Christmas : It’s Zoe’s first Christmas on the TARDIS and she’s not all that happy about it. The Doctor and Jamie try to make her feel more “at home.” (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Starting Over : Not long after she’s first come aboard the TARDIS, Zoe has become frustrated by Jamie’s treatment of her. After a confrontation that turns a bit more emotional than either of them expected, they manage to find common ground. Takes place between The Wheel in Space and The Dominators. (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Father’s Day : On Father’s Day, the Doctor thinks about the meaning of the holiday, remembering times spent with his former companions and cherishing those with his current ones. Takes place sometime before The War Games. (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Easier With Time : Shortly after her father’s death, Victoria prepares for another bad, sleepless night on the TARDIS. Things end up not as badly as she was expecting. Takes place between The Evil of the Daleks and The Tomb of the Cybermen. (2nd Doctor, Jamie and Victoria)

Multi-Chapter:

You Can’t Go Home Again (Or Can You?) : After losing Clara, the Doctor is crushed and the TARDIS wants to help. He is reunited with some old friends, but as the saying goes, “You can’t go home again.” … Right? Prequel to the Time With A Twist of Tartan series. (12th Doctor, Jamie and Zoe)

Series:

Time With A Twist of Tartan : Jamie had been inadvertently dropped off in late twentieth-century London by the 12th Doctor. This series follows his adventures with some familiar faces as well as some new ones. Directly follows “You Can’t Go Home Again (Or Can You?)” (Jamie, Ben, Polly, Victoria, Zoe, 3rd Doctor, UNIT, 4th Doctor, Sarah Jane, Harry, 5th Doctor, Adric, Tegan, Nyssa, Original Female Characters, Original Male Characters)

  1. Waylaid In London : With the 12th Doctor’s help, Jamie inadvertently ended up in 1970s London instead of reuniting with his family in 1700s Paris. While there, he stumbles upon some familiar faces as well as meets some new ones … And manages to find trouble while he’s at it.
  2. Of Castles and Hairy Beasties : Much to UNIT’s relief, things have been relatively quiet lately. That is, until the Doctor reads about strange goings-on at a castle in Scotland. While touring this castle, Jamie comes face-to-face with an old foe and things get very personal as someone close to him becomes threatened.
  3. Just Like Old Times : A disaster perpetrated by a renegade Time Lord finds the Doctor being forced to work with his past selves to resolve it. This Time Lord has not only placed his very existence in jeopardy, but also Time itself. The Doctors may be a bit in over their heads with this one, but the help of a certain companion surely can’t hurt. Takes place during (and is a slight reworking of) The Three Doctors.
  4. The Lair of Grom : Not only has Jamie had to adjust to the Doctor’s new face, but his honeymoon has been interrupted and he’s left with a discontented bride … who, along with Sarah Jane, has now gone missing. Set not long after The Ark in Space story arc.
  5. Reunion : In the years since the Grom situation, Jamie has settled down with a family of his own and has been working with UNIT on a barely occasional basis. However, he soon finds himself thrown back into the world of the Doctor, thanks to a surprise visit from an old friend who brings a dire warning. Takes place soon after Castrovalva.