Hey all! A while back I wrote about Doctor Who for newbies, and it was all about starting New Who. I’d never seen any classic Who, but a lot of you wrote tips on where to start for that in the comments. Since the freelance life means my schedule is less than normal, recently I had a chunk of time on my hands and decided to start watching Classic Who finally.
One thing I will say off the bat is that US Netflix makes it very confusing to start watching this, as they are organized in a strange way that I don’t like at all. Each “season” is a story arc, usually in four parts. Originally I was trying to find the first Cybermen episode, The Tenth Planet, which doesn’t appear to be on Netflix. So instead, I decided to watch the first “season” that was on Netflix and then pick one that I thought sounded really cool.
The first episode on Netflix is The Aztecs featuring the first Doctor and the companions; Susan, Barbara, and Ian. They go back in time to the Aztecs and Barbara is mistaken as a deity. They proceed to turn the social order upside down while stopping the tradition of human sacrifice and avoiding numerous murder plots by a suspicious priest. I thought this story was a little boring at times since there was a lot of spoken plot. But I did think it was interesting to see what the first Doctor had to say about altering past events. I also thought it was really interesting to compare the first Doctor to his future regenerations. One often has a twinkle in his eye that made me smile, and although he is still serious about serious matters, he wasn’t as grave as Ten or Eleven can be. I thought it was a nice change and it made it seem like he was having so much more fun!
The second episode I watched was Season 12: Horror of Fang Rock.
This story features the 4th Doctor and the companion Leela. I loved this one! Tom Baker is so fun. He’s many people’s favorite Doctor and is also the most familiar Doctor to those who grew up in the initial run because he had the longest tenure in the role. I was very happy to see the familiar scarf. I liked comparing the 1st Doctor to the 4th, where Four in general put a lot more trust in his companion. This episode was actually scary! Granted, I scare easily. But while this episode was spooky, I loved it.
What I like about Classic Who so far is that it is a lot easier to watch just one episode, even in the middle of a season.
One of the major complaints with the final seasons of Matt Smith’s era was that things were becoming far too complicated, and so I really enjoyed the simplicity of these older adventures.
For those who are also just starting Classic Who, I would not recommend starting with The Aztecs. I would pick a villain or a specific Doctor and start with that instead. I wish I could have started with the Cybermen like I had originally planned. But since I’m loving Tom Baker so much, my new plan is to continue with him, and then start going through the episodes with Daleks.