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Subject: Looking for Doctor Who recommendations rss

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Richard S
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When I was younger, I remember my father watching these shows with a tall guy wearing a scarf. I could never figure out why his enemies who has laser guns didn't just shoot him and have done. So, I had no interest.

Years later this show turns up on the SciFi (SyFy?) channel called Doctor Who. I caught a few episodes and was hooked. I think it is fair to say that it is my favorite television show.

I realize that Doctor Who is a show that has been running on and off since the 60's with soon to be 11 different incarnations. What I am looking for is advice of specific DVDs to purchase or rent. With the most recent stuff one can simply purchase full seasons, but I can't seen to find that for the older stuff. Rather some single episodes seem available but that is about it. So, what would you recommend?
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Majik Mouse
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I found myself in a similar position a while back. I caught some of the new Dr. Who on BBC America and got interested in going back to watch some of the older series. I am certainly no expert (although I am sure there are those here who are and will give you far more useful suggestions) but my recommendation would be to go right back to where you first started... with the fourth doctor, Tom Baker. I tried to go back to the third doctor (Jon Pertwee) because he was the earliest doctor on the Netflix insta-watch, but I found most of those episodes not terribly enjoyable. Baker, however, I have loved. It is campy in the extreme, but as long as you enter with that mindset, you should really enjoy yourself. I will leave the recommendation of actual episodes up to those who know more, but as a general note I have found the Netflix suggestions and ratings to be pretty fair.
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Ed Sherman
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You're not really going to get "seasons" of the old stuff because they did episodes in serial format, with each story being multiple episodes (often four but usually going up as high as twelve). The recent series is more self-contained.

That being said, you need to watch "Inferno." Best Doctor Who ever.
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Carc >> BSG
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What's this again?

Sounds stupid.
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David Matchen
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The Old Skool Who is notoriously expensive, since it used to be serialized, unlike the present standard episode format. So, each "story" typically clocked in at anywhere from 2 to 3-1/2 hours--possibly more for "Trial of a Time Lord." So, the Beeb will be happy to charge you an arm and sixteen pseudopoda for your favorite serials.

Now, some suggestions, all from the Golden Age of Who (the Tom Baker era, 1974-1981):

"The Pyramids of Mars"--a classic by virtually any standard. Two words: robot mummies.

"City of Death"--written by Douglas Adams, and shot on location in Paris.

"Genesis of the Daleks"--for my money, the best of the Dalek stories by a good mile. I loved the guy who played Nyder--a fantastic villain.

"The Robots of Death"--claustrophobic Agatha Christie mystery set on a massive mining transport. Clever and creepy.

"Image of the Fendahl"--gothic horror tale set at a research lab in an old priory. Scared the hell out of me when I was ten.

"The Talons of Weng-Chiang"--essentially a Sherlock Holmes mystery featuring a sinister Chinese magician and an assassin cleverly disguised as his ventriloquist's dummy.
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Carc >> BSG
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Okay, in all seriousness...

Pyramids of Mars (4th)
The Deadly Assassin (4th)
The Ribos Operation (4th) (also beginning of the Key to Time arc)
The Pirate Planet (4th) (Douglas Adams involvement, too)
The Caves of Androzani (5th)
Attack of the Cybermen (6th)
Revelation of the Daleks (6th)
Remembrance of the Daleks (7th)
Battlefield (7th)
The Fox TV Movie (8th)*

*Most agree the story is bad, including me, but Paul McGann is a great Doctor, even if only seen on tv once.
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Carc >> BSG
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Then there's a list of 'benchmark' episodes.

Robot - Tom Baker's First story
Genesis of the Daleks - first Davros story
The Face of Evil - first Leela story
The Invisible Enemy - first K9 story
Destiny of the Daleks - first Romana II story
The Horns of Nimon - first 'laughing while dying' story
Shada - unaired, incomplete story due to a television strike
State of Decay - first Adric story
The Keeper of Traken - first Nyssa and first Anthony Ainley Master story
Logopolis - first Tegan story and last Tom Baker story
Castrovalva - first Davison story
Earthshock - last Adric story (yay!)
Planet of Fire - first appearance of the twins
The Twin Dilemma - first Colin Baker story
The Mark of the Rani - first Rani story
The Mysterious Planet - first Trial of a Time Lord story
Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids and The Ultimate Foe complete that story arc
Time and the Rani - first McCoy story
Dragonfire - first Ace story
Survival - last broadcast story of the original run
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Josh
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Decide entirely on the companion.ninja
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Josh Jennings
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Stop it you guys. All this Doctor Who talk makes me want to scream "KROLL!"
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Dan Cristelli
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thorndor wrote:

With the most recent stuff one can simply purchase full seasons, but I can't seen to find that for the older stuff. Rather some single episodes seem available but that is about it.


You know, I was just reading about this last night...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_who#Missing_episodes
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Michael Barlow
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Quote:
Decide entirely on the companion.ninja

To help you along, here's a list of the Doctor's worst companions:

Adric
Adric
Adric
K-9
Peri
Martha

You have been warned.
 
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Josh Jennings
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Reprint wrote:
Quote:
Decide entirely on the companion.ninja

To help you along, here's a list of the Doctor's worst companions:

Adric
Adric
Adric
K-9
Peri
Martha

You have been warned.


No! I love K-9! And who is this Adric you speak of? I seem to have no memory of such a character ever existing.
 
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László K.
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thorndor wrote:
So, what would you recommend?

Be sure to watch Blink. It's an excellent episode.
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Michael Pennisi
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Ladislaus wrote:
thorndor wrote:
So, what would you recommend?

Be sure to watch Blink. It's an excellent episode.


agreed. This story was amazing. Incidentally, the writer is taking over the reins to the show next year.
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Jim Patterson
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Second the "In the Beginning" set for Hartnell. Have a copy right here, in fact. Three great stories in there.

I wish I could get more excited about The War Games as a recommendation. I just watched it on an old VHS tape I'd made a couple decades ago that my brother had kept. Even missing the first episode, it was overlong and fairly dreary, only really saved by the last episode or so, which, admittedly, is pretty awesome and must've been doubly so at the time, considering how much retro-continuity it created. But I really went crazy with all the WarCHIEF, WaaarrrrLORRD capped-for-emphasis dialogue. Sadly, there's so little Troughton left in intact series that it's probably not such a bad rec after all.

"Inferno" is excellent.

Hard to go too wrong with T. Baker, but I'll second Genesis of the Daleks and Pyramids of Mars. The whole Key to Time is a set, also, and most of it quite good.

I think rec'ing Caves for Davison is a bit premature, as it's his last adventure. Consider the "New Beginnings" set covering the end of the T. Baker era and the beginning of Davison's. Since the set is all-Nyssa, I give it a hearty thumbs-up despite the Adric.

I'll forgo a C. Baker rec. It's been too long, and all of it swirls in a courtroom-based miasma for me.

Also too long ago for me for McCoy. I swear that I've never seen "Survival," and, oddly enough, neither has my brother, who's a far bigger fan than me. "Battlefield" might be worth it. Really, by this point, the series was very hit-and-miss for me. I think McCoy got a rough ride from the scripts and the budgets, but anyone who could put up with Mel deserves commiseration.
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Fraser
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There's a Doctor Who Guild
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Peter Ferguson
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I watched Doctor Who on the rare occasions when I was a kid, however my older brother was into it. I remember the Tom Baker era (I watched probably around 1983-84) and I did see the episode where he died and the new Doctor (blonde Hair, celery stick) took his place. I forget his name unfortunately. After that I lost interest. I checked in once years later and saw the curly haired clown guy, and really had no interest.

I remember the theme music freaked me out, and I also remember the constant Telethons that PBS had on TV to "keep great shows like Doctor Who on the air". Haha.

As others have said, the DVD's for the old Doctor Who are really expensive, heck, even the new ones are. At least in North America. My advice, is download them via bittorrent. The old ones have some campiness to them, so beware.

One of my favorite episodes was one with David Tennet's Doctor, and Martha Jones. And in fact, they were in the episode very little. It was about these stone angels that killed people by sending them so far in the past that they'd be dead in the present day. So they killed them, however humanely, then feed of their energy.

The only problem is, they were frozen if you ever looked at them.

 
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Xander Fulton
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Kind of surprised 'The Horror of Fang Rock' wasn't mentioned. I liked that one a lot, and one of the many on Netflix's instant-watch.

I'd say the important thing to remember when watching the 'older' Doctor Who serials is to really put yourself in the mindset of "watching a play". The production values manage somewhat better than 'high school production' or even 'community theater', but somewhat shy of 'broadway'. But staging, directing, story, etc - MUCH easier to get into if you treat it as watching a play, rather than the 'miniature movies' that the newer TV series try to do.
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As someone who owns almost 50 classic Who DVDs (plus the new ones) a few others I'd recommend in addition to those mentioned above:

3rd - Spearhead from Space (Jon Pertwee's debut & the only one shot entirely on film, which gives quite a different look to the rest)
- The Green Death (the only time we've seen the Doctor in drag!)

4th - The Ark in Space (remember bubblewrap was a rare thing when it was shot )

5th - The Five Doctors (nice to see 3.5 Doctors all together, & the DVD has one of the coolest Easter Eggs ever)

7th - Ghostlight, Curse of Fenric (they started to make the Doctor more mysterious before the axe fell)

The DVDs are also great for the extras. The commentary tracks in particular are generally quite fun.

At its best classic Who is some of the greatest TV sci-fi written. It just must be remembered how tiny its budget was.
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Richard S
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Thanks for all the suggestions. As far as the new stuff goes, I have seen all those episodes and enjoyed many of them. The Empty Child story is one of my favorite TV stories ever. It sold me on the show.

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The Curse of Fatal Death is on iTunes now, and is worth seeing.
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Fraser
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Dion wrote:
4th - The Ark in Space (remember bubblewrap was a rare thing when it was shot )
But the ABC repeated it soooooooooo often gulp

Dion wrote:
5th - The Five Doctors (nice to see 3.5 Doctors all together, & the DVD has one of the coolest Easter Eggs ever)
It has??? Oooh, now why didn't Daughter the Elder find that?

Dion wrote:
It just must be remembered how tiny its budget was.
I reckon with each DVD sold, they probably recoup the cost of an original series episode
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Karlsen wrote:
Dion wrote:
4th - The Ark in Space (remember bubblewrap was a rare thing when it was shot )
But the ABC repeated it soooooooooo often gulp


I'm too young to remember that.


Karlsen wrote:
Dion wrote:
5th - The Five Doctors (nice to see 3.5 Doctors all together, & the DVD has one of the coolest Easter Eggs ever)
It has??? Oooh, now why didn't Daughter the Elder find that?


The uncredited commentary track. I don't think it was on the earliest DVD release.

 
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Fraser
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Dion wrote:
Karlsen wrote:
Dion wrote:
4th - The Ark in Space (remember bubblewrap was a rare thing when it was shot )
But the ABC repeated it soooooooooo often gulp


I'm too young to remember that.
Touche cool


Dion wrote:
Karlsen wrote:
Dion wrote:
5th - The Five Doctors (nice to see 3.5 Doctors all together, & the DVD has one of the coolest Easter Eggs ever)
It has??? Oooh, now why didn't Daughter the Elder find that?


The uncredited commentary track. I don't think it was on the earliest DVD release.

Drats soblue
 
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David Matchen
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I toyed with recommending The Horror of Fang Rock, because I remembered how effective the use of the lighthouse was as a nice, claustrophobic environment for a "mad killer on the loose" story, but I went with "Robots of Death" instead because I recalled how ridiculous the Rutans looked at the end.

Oh, yeah, I should also throw some props "State of Decay"'s way, for two good reasons: 1) space vampires; 2) Romana II, for whom I still have a raging case of the hots.
 
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