Being New to Doctor Who, Part 2. (Hey, that rhymed!)

So, last week for Fascinated Friday, I talked about my interest in exploring the wild world of Doctor Who.  Since then, I have learned much, traveling in the lands of Whovian fandom, and returned to tell the tale.  Now, pull up a chair and let me regale you with the lessons that I learned on my journey.  

Michele DeWerth contacted me via Twitter with her recommendation of the episode “Blink” as a good jumping on point, and our good friend Robyn King, who in addition to being a killer urban fantasy writer, is also a hardcore Whovian, corroborated this by suggesting that I start with the David Tennant episodes.  So, with this guidance, I loaded up the netflix and found the episode entitled “Blink.”  

So, here are my thoughts on this, my first real, full episode of Doctor Who.  

Blink

1)  David Tennant is pretty awesome and I would like him to narrate all my future blog posts.  I am sure he is not busy right now.  Someone want to get him in touch with me?  I think Gelineau and King could do great things for his career. I guess he has done quite a bit of work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and if anyone knows where I could find a version of him doing Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, I would love to see that.

2)  The Weeping Angels.  Okay, I am a monster guy.  I love creepy, imaginative, scary monsters.  tumblr_mamqc75qQH1ru18eoo1_500And the Weeping Angels are visually some of the most stunning and evocative monsters I have come across in a long time.  Essentially, the weeping angles are aliens disguised as stone angel statues.  When seen by any other creature, they become stone.  But if you turn away, or blink, then they can come for you.  

And they look amazing.

images

I also will not spoil the ending, but the episode played smartly with the rules it established in such a way that I was really impressed.  I am hoping all the episodes have that same sense of wit.  

3)  There was not a lot of the actual Doctor in this episode. I actually found this disappointing.  In hindsight though, I guess this is actually a good thing, as it shows that I am now intrigued enough to want to watch more.  

Hmm.  Well played, Whovians.  Well played.  

So my overall impressions were definitely positive.  I came away having enjoyed the episode and actually wanting to see more.  I am glad I started with a David Tennant episode.  This actually is an interesting point, as I guess the show regularly recasts the Doctor every few seasons.  It is explained in the plot, I guess.  I still think it is both odd and very cool that the show can continue on when replacing the lead actor is actually something they deliberately do every few years.  I now understand how people could get more attached to some casts than others.  

As a total bonus, I also came across a wonderful guide to discovering Doctor Who on Nerdko.com, and that is going to shape my Who watching going forward.  As a side note, Nerdko itself was pretty cool, and they seem to have some great podcasts to listen to, featuring many nerdly topics of interest to me.  I will definitely be back to see more of what they’ve got.  

So yes, in closing, I enjoyed my first steps into Whoville.  I will be taking  some more in the very near future.  So, I guess score one for team Doctor.  

I do want to give a special thank you to R.L. King (@dragonwriter11) and Michele DeWerth (@mdewerth) as well as all the others who helped with advice for this post.  Their helpful advice and clear passion made this a lot of fun.  Much obliged to you all.  

Until next time, keep finding things you love, even if they go all timey-wimey on you.  I know I will.  

-Mark

8 Comments

  1. forgottenrat says:

    So glad you enjoyed it! Yes, “Blink” is considered one of the best episodes of the series, so you picked a great spot to start!

    If I might suggest another good one-shot, try “Midnight.” It’s another Tennant episode, works well as a standalone, and, in contrast to “Blink,” it’s almost all Tennant (as in, he’s in pretty much every scene). He also does, IMO, some of the best acting he’s done in the series in this episode. And it’s creepy as heck, in a completely different way than “Blink.” This is more like “the things that can change people when they’re frightened.”

    –RLK

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  2. marlapaige says:

    I, too, am a Whovian. I suggested “Blink” as a starting point for my sister and she loved it and became a Doctor Who fan almost immediately. It’s an amazing episode. DH is actually terrified of the weeping angels to the point that he can’t stand any stone structure that looks like one. It’s really funny when we’re just walking somewhere and then suddenly there’s one there – he yelps, and the big baby hides behind me while I laugh. One of these days, I’ll probably get zapped back in time because I’m busy laughing, but it will be worth it.

    The second episode I would recommend, especially if you want more Tennant would be an episode called “Midnight”. Basically, it’s the polar opposite of “Blink”. You watched an entire episode with Sally Sparrow (I think that was her name), and the Doctor sort of talking her through the whole thing on a television from a script that she provided to him later. “Midnight” is sort of the opposite. It’s Tennant throughout the whole thing, and everyone else in the episode is merely to point the audience in the right direction, mentally and emotionally. Very basic.

    The great news is that if you like the Angels, there are quite a few episodes that involve them. I’d be happy to give you those titles when you are ready for them, but it is actually Matt Smith’s Doctor that deals with them more than Tennant’s.

    By the way, if you get DT to narrate your blog, send him my way so I can totally fan-girl out on him, OK? PLEASE!
    (PS: He’s MY Doctor)

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    • Thank you so much! I will definitely check out “Midnight.” Down to see a Tennant themed episode. And I do like the angels, so knowing they return is pretty enticing. Waiting for some weekend time to dive back in. Thank you so much for the comment though!

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      • marlapaige says:

        If you want, DH and I can recommend episodes to suit your mood. Doctor heavy, Doctor light, companion heavy/light, great episode for which Doctor, and entire seasons that will torture you because a tiny off-kilter comment in one episode comes back and ends up being a major catastrophic story-line a few episodes later. Personally, I think that’s Moffat’s strength…he weaves the stories into this huge fabric of amazingness. I know a lot of other people do not like him, or think he’s a bad show runner, but I completely disagree.

        If you want good Matt Smith episodes, I have two for you – one for each set of companions. The stories are not particularly Doctor heavy, but they are amazing episodes and beautiful to rewatch.
        1) “The Doctor’s Wife” –> Amy and Rory
        2) “Nightmare in Silver” –> Clara
        Both by Neil Gaiman. LOVE THEM!

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  3. forgottenrat says:

    Another possibility (I’m just full of possibilities!) is the two-part episodes “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood.” The Doctor is forced to give up being a Time Lord and goes back in time as a human to avoid some nasty aliens who are chasing him. His Time Lord essence is hidden in a pocket watch, and the only person who knows what’s going on is his companion Martha. Things get complicated when “John Smith” (the Doctor’s human guise) falls in love with a woman in the past and, when the time comes to change back, he doesn’t want to.
    This is another showcase episode pair for Tennant, and it’s another one you can get into fairly easily without a lot of history.

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    • marlapaige says:

      I agree with you, but I don’t think it’s a good follow-up to Blink. It is DT heavy, but he’s more of a blustering shy sort in the whole thing. It doesn’t give a complete picture of DT’s Doctor, just his acting skill.

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      • forgottenrat says:

        I suppose you could look at it that way, but to me, those two were standout episodes. Not ones to start with, true, but definitely high up on the list.

        Probably the best way to get a good sense of the DT episodes is just jump in and start watching them, beginning with the Christmas Invasion (which I loved, BTW). Yes, there are some serious (and I mean *serious*) klunkers–“Fear Her” and “Love and Monsters” come to mind, especially the latter) but watching in order gives a good sense of the continuity.

        Can’t really help you with the Matt Smith episodes–for some reason, I never really got strongly into Smith’s Doctor. Not to say I didn’t enjoy his episodes, but they’re not on “watch over and over” rotation like Ten’s and Twelve’s are.

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  4. marlapaige says:

    @Forgottenrat: I agree that Matt Smith’s are harder to get into than say Tennant, but I disagree about the rewatchability. The difference is that any one episode (or two together) of DT is easy to rewatch a hundred times; MS’s are to be taken as a whole and much more difficult to watch as a one-off repeatedly. Except The Doctor’s Wife and Nightmare in Silver…those two stand alone and I can rewatch them a million times 🙂

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