Calling all “Doctor Who” fans (or those of you would like to become fans). I’m about to embark on a Whovian adventure of epic proportions.
All this talk about the 50th anniversary of the longest-running Science Fiction television show in history has piqued my curiosity, so I’m going to start exploring “Doctor Who” — from the beginning.
No, not all 800 episodes spanning 50 years and 11 Doctors. That would be fun, but it would take forever, even allowing for the many episodes that are lost to us.
But as I am (mostly) brand-new to the series, I’d like to start with the First Doctor, William Hartnell. And I’d like to invite all of you to join me.
Be warned: The entirety of my “Who” knowledge coming in consists of knowing a few actors’ names (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant), knowing that “ER’s” Dr. Elizabeth Corday gets involved at some point as a woman named “River” and knowing there’s a time-traveling phone booth.
Note: I literally just learned two nights ago that it’s actually a police box. See?
Since the first few Doctors consisted of “serials” contained within seasons, I will be writing twice-weekly posts for the foreseeable future, each post tackling 2-3 episodes at a time. As I said, I can’t possibly watch all the episodes, so please leave suggestions for serials that you feel should be included in the re-watch in the comments below.
To start, however, I feel that the first few serials should be covered in their entirety (though I’ve already discovered Story 4 is lost), so I’m diving in with “An Unearthly Child,” “The Daleks” “The Edge of Destruction” and “The Keys of Marinus.” The schedule is below. Once we’re a couple weeks in, I’ll lay out the next schedule based on your suggestions.
Tuesday, Nov. 19: “An Unearthly Child,” “The Cave of Skulls”
Thursday, Nov. 21: “The Forest of Fear,” “The Firemaker”
Tuesday, Nov. 26: “The Dead Planet,” “The Survivors”
Thursday, Nov. 28: “The Escape,” “The Ambush”
Tuesday, Dec. 3: “The Expedition,” “The Ordeal,” “The Rescue”
Thursday, Dec. 5: “The Edge of Destruction,” “The Brink of Disaster”
Tuesday, Dec. 10: “The Sea of Death,” “The Velvet Web”
Thursday, Dec. 12: “The Screaming Jungle,” “The Snows of Terror”
Tuesday, Dec. 17: “The Sentence of Death,” “The Keys of Marinus”
Feel free to dust off your DVDs and watch along with me, or just check in here twice a week to read what a newbie thinks and discuss the old episodes. Perhaps we’ll even have a live-watch/blog/tweet night at some point. On many Sundays, look for a post reminding you of the upcoming schedule.
Also, for you Whovians out there who want to get your hands on everything you can, BBC America is kicking off a veritable smorgasbord of “Doctor Who” goodies starting Monday, Nov. 18 at 8 a.m. ET.
Note: I set my DVR, though I won’t need them until much later in my viewing experience. I’d like to stay as clear as possible of knowledge of later seasons.
Anyway, the marathon consists of each of the Doctors’ “Revisited” specials, the “Companions” special, “Tales from the TARDIS” and “The Science of Doctor Who,” again, all kicking off at 8 a.m. Monday morning Eastern Standard Time on BBC America.
Then starting at 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 19, a marathon of the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors series — “Rose” through “The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe” — that ends Friday, Nov. 22 just in time for new specials “Doctor Who Explained” and “An Adventure in Space and Time.”
Beginning at 1 a.m. ET on BBC America the marathon picks back up with “Asylum of the Daleks” and runs until the brand new special “The Day of the Doctor” airs Saturday, Nov. 23 (the 50th anniversary) beginning at 2:50 p.m. ET — though there are live screenings for those of you lucky enough to live near one.
So, join me for some early “Doctor Who,” won’t you? First up — “An Unearthly Child” (both the original pilot and the aired pilot) and “The Cave of Skulls” are on tap for Tuesday, Nov. 19.