classic_primer

After celebrating the momentous milestone of the 50th anniversary, some Whovians have found a desire to go back and delve into more than just the past eight years. We at GPR are here to serve! We have put together a tutorial for starting a journey into “the classics”. Come with us as we visit some historic landmarks on the way to 2005.

  • The War Games [2nd Doctor, Season 6]

    • What?

      • Why are large factions of Earth armies being taken out of time, and forced to fight? The Doctor is forced to take drastic measures to help.

    • Why?

      • Great amount of backstory to the Doctor’s status as a rebel from the Time Lords, and the reasons for his life “on the run”.

      • For New Whovians: Some understanding of Time Lord “justice”, and the first clear indication that the mighty race is not necessarily a benevolent one.

  • Spearhead from Space (Available on Netflix) [3rd Doctor, Season 7]

    • What?

      • The Doctor is now regenerated into his third form, and finds himself trying to make sense of the transition, while protecting very suspicious humans from an Auton threat.

    • Why?

      • Excellent example of a post-regen experience, while discovering the “new self”, while still having glimpses of the predecessor.

      • Earliest use of the Autons, who recur all the way through New Who, despite being immensely easy to destroy.

      • More of an “action” feel from the series than seen before (and yes, the stupid tattoo).

      • For New Whovians: a solid understanding of how UNIT came to depend on the Doctor as an advisor, more so than an alien to have “tabs kept on”.

  • The Three Doctors (Available on Netflix) [3rd Doctor, joined by 2nd and 1st, Season 10]

    • What?

      • A “lost hero” from the Gallifreyan past enacts his revenge on the Time Lords, and in order to defend themselves, they must enlist not only one Doctor, but three.

    • Why?

      • Clever dialogue between Pertwee and Troughton, and the last screen appearance by Hartnell in the series.

      • Surprisingly interesting scientific baseline for the plot (TIme Lords drawing power from a black hole, Omega living in an antimatter universe on the other side, etc.)

      • An example of the Doctor ‘doing a solid’ for the Time Lords, and getting a reward for his efforts (the part needed for his TARDIS).

      • For New Whovians: a fun way to see familiar banter/argument between Doctors, great involvement by UNIT, the Brig, and Benton. Humor, danger, and an actually interesting script.

  • Genesis of the Daleks [4th Doctor, Season 12]

    • What?

      • The Doctor is sent back to intercept the creation of the Daleks, and comes face to face with Davros.

    • Why?

      • Suspenseful script, and a brilliant war of words between 4th and Davros.

      • For New Whovians: The origin story to the Daleks. CASE CLOSED.

  • City of Death (Available on Netflix) [4th Doctor, Season 17]

    • What?

      • A mastermind of an alien race is gathering priceless art — and technology — in order to gain the ability to time travel.

    • Why?

      • Clever writing that Baker absolutely shines with — witty, slightly mad, and always in control (while seemingly devoid of it).

      • A compelling villain (The Jagaroth) as a greed-driven species seeking the ability to time travel.

      • For New Whovians: a great example of the sort of fun that Classic Who can offer. Comedic bits as fun as 10th or 11th, and alien villains manipulating Earthlings (a familiar theme). Romana is a great companion for NW’vians to enjoy — smart, capable, and able to give as much as she takes from the Doctor. (Interesting fact: the last episode had over 16 million viewers, a DW record!)

  • Earthshock [5th Doctor, Season 19]

    • What?

      • The Cybermen are at it again, killing archaeologists who are getting too close to some of their plans.

    • Why?

      • Excellent example of Davison’s empathic Doctor, and his immense love for Earthlings and his companions.

      • For New Whovians: a clear example of Classic Who being just as willing to show distressing scenes and loss of key characters as New Who. 5th is an old-school Doctor who is very close to new-school portrayal, and would be ‘familiar’ to viewers who might not warm quickly to 1st/3rd/6th.

  • The Curse of Fenric (Available on Netflix) [7th Doctor, Season 26]

    • What?

      • Russians, Nazi code-breakers, Vikings and vampires, oh my!

    • Why?

      • Solid script, McCoy at his snarky best, and a period episode that uses familiar backdrop (WWII).

      • For New Whovians: Great example of the “dark Doctor” in a way that can be both surprising and rewarding — reminiscent of some of 10/11 making “the tough calls”. Ace is a fun companion with a more modern style.

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