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Subject: Doctor Who fans: Need a bit of help with introducing a friend to the classic series rss

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J Sinnett
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I have a bit of a tendency to get my friends completely addicted to Doctor Who in short order once I get a chance to toss some DVDs their way. Pretty straight-forward, that. I just had a change from the way this normally happens, though...

One of my friends, not wanting to go three months with nothing new to watch after this week's finale, wants me to start running her through the classic series. This hasn't happened before, and I've never actually introduced anyone to the pre-Eccleston series.

So, I'm giving her two options. One is to just run through what I have in my collection in chronological order. This is a fine option, and wouldn't have any question of what to show (though she has no interest in the reconstructions for the missing Hartnell/Troughton episodes).

The other option I gave was the 'curated tour'. This is where I run into issues.

I'm a serious fan. I've got most of the classic-series DVDs, and with even the most questionable stories, I'd gladly go through again. But due to my classic-series background, I don't know for sure what episodes on a 'curated tour' would be best to introduce her to, given that all of her knowledge is New Series. I do know I planned on starting it with The Time Warrior, as she already knows Sarah Jane and the Sontarans, but... I'm not certain where to go from there.

Does anyone have any suggestions for what may be the most must-see episodes, and what ones would be the best to ease someone into the classic series?
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The City of Death
The Pyramids of Mars
The Hand of Fear

All classic Tom Baker.

Oh - The Face of Evil - that's a good one.
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Morgan Dontanville
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It would be fun to do one or two from each doctor, I'd say:
1: The Daleks & The Romans
2: The Invasion & The Seeds of Death
3: Sea Devils & The Green Death
4: The Ark in Space & Robots of Death
5: Earthshock & Black Orchid
6: Terror of the Vervoids
7: Remembrance of the Daleks & The Curse of Fenric
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J Sinnett
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sisteray wrote:
The Seeds of Death
The Green Death
Robots of Death


I'm surprised no recommendation for City of Death there.

More seriously, I'm... actually somewhat struck by how many of the better stories I don't have in my collection, just by these early replies. I do have most of the ones recommended so far, but somehow managed to miss the three Deaths there, along with Day of the Daleks.

Admittedly, The Green Death is low on my buy list, out of fear that I'll pick it up and then the next week they'll announce that a Special Edition re-release is coming down the line. Had that happen to me with Inferno angry and has me a bit hesitant to pick up any of the pre-2007 releases that aren't already in my collection.
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Morgan Dontanville
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City of Death is certainly one of my favorites, but if I started listing every T. Baker serial worth watching the list would be far less manageable.
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You could go right back to the beginning with An Unearthly Child.

Other classic Hartnell stories are, of course, The Daleks and The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

I have a soft spot for The Web Planet as it is as far back as I remember watching at the time (scared the hell out of me).


Should the complete story of The Web of Fear ever be found then that would be another must.
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Matt Kruczek
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If she likes the modern series then you could focus on original or classic appearances of familiar monsters:

The Daleks, Dalek Invasion of Earth, Genesis of the Daleks (RTD has said that this story is the start of the Time War), Resurrection of the Daleks

Tomb of the Cybermen, Earthshock

Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons, ANY of the Pertwee/Master confrontations

The Time Warrior, The Invasion of Time (Sontarans)

The Silurians, The Sea Devils

The Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva gives you the Master AND a regeneration

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Xander Fulton
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HikariStarshine wrote:
...she already knows Sarah Jane and the Sontarans, but... I'm not certain where to go from there.


Probably not a bad idea to hit the highlights using touchpoints she'll be familiar with.

- Episodes that introduce characters she may know (the Brigadier, Sarah Jane)
- Episodes that introduce monsters she may know (Daleks, Cybermen...although their earlier versions were kind dodgy, Sontarans, Autons, etc)
- Episodes that transition characters...companions coming or doing, Doctor regenerating, etc.
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J Sinnett
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OK, 3/4 of the way through The Time Warrior with my friend now, and... an issue seems to have come up.

"The story is interesting, but it's way too slow."

I should've seen this coming; my friend is somewhat ADHD. The classic series, on the whole, may not be for her (and I'm certainly not going to throw any of the longer stories like The War Games or Inferno at her, for obvious reasons... And am actually rather hesitant to even go near Genesis of the Daleks, as good as that story is).

She's still interested, though... So the question now becomes... where do I go, with this information to help guide further? Can anyone specifically point out some episodes out of the ones that've been recommended so far that might be faster-paced?
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Mark L
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A lot of old Doctor Who is slow compared to modern TV. Basically, the more recent it is, the more likely it is to be reasonably pacey. But this is only an average; there are plenty of exceptions.

I always say that Doctor Who in those days (before there were home video recorders or much in the way of repeats) was intended to be watched one episode at a time, and that's realy the best way to experience it. A story that was made in six 25-minute chunks can be watched as a 150-minute movie, but it's far from ideal.

Once you're used to the slower pace, you can actually enjoy the fact that there's more time for characterisation and plot details (even if you have ADHD). But if you're not used to it, it can really drag.

But to answer your question: some of the Tom Baker stories are pretty pacey. Genesis of the Daleks is a good choice, and ties in to some of the episodes of the new series (e.g Davros recognising Sarah Jane Smith and saying she was there at the beginning). City of Death (written by Douglas Adams under a psudonym) is clever, fun and witty.

Robots of Death is a good one too; personally I prefer both Talons of Weng-Chiang and The Seeds of Doom (not Death, that's a different story!), but I'm not sure they'd be good for someone unused to the pace of old TV. Some of the Peter Davison ones are great and quite pacey: Earthshock and Caves of Androzani (in that order, preferably) stand out.

The Pertwee and earlier stories are often quite slow, but I think Day of the Daleks and Carnival of Monsters are both a lot of fun and relatively fast-moving.
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Morgan Dontanville
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HikariStarshine wrote:

She's still interested, though... So the question now becomes... where do I go, with this information to help guide further? Can anyone specifically point out some episodes out of the ones that've been recommended so far that might be faster-paced?


You ask for recommendations, you choose something different, you say it didn't work and then you ask for different recommendations. I'm not sure how anyone can help you.

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Drew1365 wrote:
Different strokes . . . I didn't think The Time Warrior was all that great, and I agree it's slow-moving, even for early Doctor Who.

Perhaps you just chose the wrong one. If it's Sontarans you're after, The Sontaran Experiment has the benefit of being a two-parter -- the length of a regular episode of New Who.


Agreed, it is also a great companion for The Ark in Space.

I like Time Warrior, but there are something like 50 classic serials that I'd show first before considering showing that.
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sisteray wrote:
HikariStarshine wrote:

Can anyone specifically point out some episodes out of the ones that've been recommended so far that might be faster-paced?


You ask for recommendations, you choose something different, you say it didn't work and then you ask for different recommendations. I'm not sure how anyone can help you.



Excuse me. Not only was The Time Warrior recommended by Matt Kruczek several posts above (*not* me choosing something different from the recommendations as a whole, just one that happens to not be within *your* recommendations), but I stated clearly in my OP that I was planning on starting there if my friend didn't want to start at the beginning.

I'm not asking for *different* recommendations, here. I certainly don't have the time to rewatch my entire collection in search of better-paced episodes, and there's a number that have been suggested that I either don't have or haven't gotten around to seeing myself yet, so I don't know if they're appropriate for this situation or not. That's why I'm asking for some help selecting an appropriate subset of those already recommended, now that there is more information available.
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Sorry, if I sounded like a bitch.
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Eh, it's fine. I maybe overreacted a little, as well. Not enough sleep lately. :/

I'm quite glad for all the recommendations so far (and thankfully, most of them are already on my shelf), it's just an issue of... well, that's a lot of stuff to watch and even if I keep it to one episode per day with my friend, we've only got one part of the story we're on left, and then I need something else. And if the ones I selected to watch on my own all tended toward slower paces, well...

I did stick my copies of Black Orchid, Genesis of the Daleks, and The Romans in my laptop bag, though. At the very least, Black Orchid is super-short for a classic Who episode so it'd hold things off a little, and avoids Sontaran oversaturation.
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I wouldn't subject your friend to Black Orchid unless you want to put them off Doctor Who completely.

I mean, maybe later when they're more forgiving of the show's faults -- then they can enjoy it as a break from the norm. But it's definitely one of the dullest stories of the 80s. Admittedly, it's short, but honestly, you'd be far better off with either of the other two you mentioned -- or most of the others people here have recommended.

A much better Davison 2-parter would be The Awakening, if you have it.
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xipuloxx wrote:
I wouldn't subject your friend to Black Orchid unless you want to put them off Doctor Who completely.

I mean, maybe later when they're more forgiving of the show's faults -- then they can enjoy it as a break from the norm. But it's definitely one of the dullest stories of the 80s. Admittedly, it's short, but honestly, you'd be far better off with either of the other two you mentioned -- or most of the others people here have recommended.

A much better Davison 2-parter would be The Awakening, if you have it.


Looking on my shelf, it seems that the only 2-parters I have outside of Season 22's longer-format episodes are Edge of Destruction, The Sontaran Experiment, and Black Orchid.

*moves The Awakening up toward the top of the 'next discs to buy' list*

Hmm... I need to work on building up my Third Doctor collection; I wanted to get a Delgado episode in there, but my only choices are The Sea Devils and Frontier in Space. Not sure how I've managed to completely miss *all* of Season 8 in my collection. :/
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Drew1365 wrote:
Different strokes . . . I didn't think The Time Warrior was all that great, and I agree it's slow-moving, even for early Doctor Who.

Perhaps you just chose the wrong one. If it's Sontarans you're after, The Sontaran Experiment has the benefit of being a two-parter -- the length of a regular episode of New Who.


Can't agree, the one true Sontaran story is The Time Warrior. Lynx and Irongron were great.

Oh and can I just say that I hate the Ark in Space, possibly because I think it got shown more times than any other episode in Australia, it felt like every time Doctor Who came back on they would wheel out Ark in Space for yet another showing.

I always had a soft spot for the Peladon stories even though they really showed that the entire budget was about $1.50 per episode
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Morgan Dontanville
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Karlsen wrote:
Drew1365 wrote:
Different strokes . . . I didn't think The Time Warrior was all that great, and I agree it's slow-moving, even for early Doctor Who.

Perhaps you just chose the wrong one. If it's Sontarans you're after, The Sontaran Experiment has the benefit of being a two-parter -- the length of a regular episode of New Who.


Can't agree, the one true Sontaran story is The Time Warrior. Lynx and Irongron were great.

Oh and can I just say that I hate the Ark in Space, possibly because I think it got shown more times than any other episode in Australia, it felt like every time Doctor Who came back on they would wheel out Ark in Space for yet another showing.

I always had a soft spot for the Peladon stories even though they really showed that the entire budget was about $1.50 per episode


Alpha Centauri: Doctor Who's first giant green penis.

I like Curse, but I think Monster is the slowest paced Doctor Who that I don't dislike.
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