The purpose of the experiment was to supply someone, who had knowledge of neither Doctor Who nor its history, with every episode from the beginning. However, the subject moved to Indiana in early 1998, therefore the experiment has had to draw to an untimely close. He saw and/or listened to every story up until The Smugglers, but only gave me reaction up until Marco Polo. Here is the reaction toward...
The first story of
Dr. Who at first struck me as
intriguing: the concept of a machine that could travel
freely through space and time, yet externally looking
rather like a police callbox; a girl who looked, acted, and
spoke as a 20th century English schoolgirl yet turns out to
be from another place and time; a visit to our "Neanderthal
roots" (which, I might add, has no definitive foundation
either in History or Archaeology, based only on the
unfounded premise that human civilization had rather
uncivilized beginnings); and their escape from the hands of
these savages, only to be transported to some undefined
location with deadly (albeit unperceived) levels of
The characterization was particularly good, all of the characters involved had their own distinct personalities (except for the cavemen, who apparently had not yet evolved distinct personalities, friendship, or even love, but could speak English that was by far more modern than that spoken by Beowulf...) The plot was developed rather well, except for the Doctor's inexplicable coldness, even to his own granddaughter, a travesty equalled only by the fact that the series is named after him. However, the characterization is consistent, we must give the writers credit for that, if for nothing else.
I personally feel that everything after the first episode of this story was a waste of time, money, talent (yes, there was a smidgen there somewhere), and above all else, film, contributing nothing to the plot, but only serving as one of a supposedly endless stream of encounters with other beings in other times and worlds, and only further reducing the chance that the school teachers will ever be returned to their proper place and time.
I do, however, look forward to seeing the next story, in hopes that the writers may have somehow learned from their past follies and somehow discovered how to develop a storyline properly. God will give me the strength to endure this test...
All in all I do feel it was a fairly good attempt, and for a first story I consider it to be pretty OK, inasmuch as it did set the stage for a continuing series.
completed watching The Daleks and The Edge of
I loved the Daleks story. It was very well written, had a sensible plot, and left few if any loose ends untied.
Unfortunately, The Edge of Destruction was such a monstrosity of a story... The story never explained why Susan and the Doctor suffered from pains in the back of their necks, why they lost their memory, or why they suddenly became so violently disposed against Ian and Barbara, why they could only approach the control column from one side.
And then the whole deal was solved by remembering that the fast return switch was never released, and that the TARDIS, which has refused to be destroyed, was actually "intelligent" enough to provide altogether cryptic signs to the crew. Very bad storywriting indeed.
The Daleks story, however, is a masterpiece of production and writing, except, of course, for some obvious flaws, such as the way that the alien humanoid tribe spoke and read perfect English, without even ever having had contact with 20th Century England. (a flaw I fear can be present in every Dr. Who story ever made, and must be treated with a willful suspension of disbelief), the self-destroying styrofoam cavern sets, and other minute production faults.
I look forward to seeing the next story, provided of course it does not prove to be as pathetic as The Edge of Destruction.
This review is so long, it has been given a seperate page all to itself, which may be seen by clicking here.