Friday, August 27, 2010

Doctor Who 1970

I grew up watching Doctor Who on PBS on Sunday mornings, and while I'm a big fan of the new series the old show still has something special about it.

I'm currently in the midst of watching a pile of old Doctor Who stories featuring Jon Pertwee as the Doctor. This follows up on my watching a number of the old series episodes several years ago. I just finished watching "The Frontier in Space" and "Planet of the Daleks": excellent Who episodes with topnotch writing and acting even if some of the effects aren't quite up to our modern "standards". I've known people who refused to watch the show on the basis of the effects, but if you can look past that aspect of the show (or even learn to enjoy it) there is some brilliant stuff there. I'm currently in the midst of watching "Doctor Who and the Silurians" which has turned out to be another great one.

The beginning of the Third Doctor's era saw him stranded on Earth without access to a functional TARDIS (his travelling space-time machine for those not in the know). The series has him cruising around England in his roadster "Bessie" and acting as a consultant for UNIT. The tone of the show had darkened from the previous era, and it often took on a definite anti-establishment tone at times. The series was clearly influence by Nigel Kneale's excellent Quatermass stories.

Here's a list of five of my favorite old Who serials*:

1. Inferno (Third Doctor)
2. Genesis of the Daleks (Fourth Doctor)
3. City of Death (Fourth Doctor)(Written by Douglas Adams)
4. The Ark in Space (Fourth Doctor)
5. Planet of the Daleks (Third Doctor)

I've got a copy of the old FASA Doctor Who roleplaying game which I picked up at the San Diego Comic-Con in around 1990. Maybe I'll dig it out and try another round of RPG Excavations like I did for Rolemaster. I've never played the game, and I only have the barest recollection of the rules. Stay Tuned.

* The show is broken into half hour episodes. A serial is a single story and can be comprised of anywhere from four to ten individual episodes!


  1. I'm a big fan of old school Who, too, from watching on PBS back in my teens. You've got a good list of favorites--but Talons of Weng-Chiang would make my list, I think.

    My group made up characters for FASA Who, but I don't know if we ever played it, unlike FASA Trek which we played a lot of.

  2. I thought about Talons--so maybe I'd put that at #6.

  3. I loved the first doctor and - I have only ever seen 'An unearthly child' and the first encounter with the Daleks in their city...
    The First Doctor seemed dark and manipulating on a scale that made the Master look more like a wannabee.