My never-ending review project has reached the end of the First Doctor era! That's three-and-a-bit seasons, 29 adventures and 134 episodes he certainly served his time. I won't say how long it has taken to get this far, writing reviews takes time and I have precious little of that available, each project taking its turn (before eventually, usually, fading away) but it's been nothing but fun, getting to know the original Doctor and his wonderful companions.
That's what this project is all about, really getting to know every part of the Doctor and every one of his companions. I've seen almost every televised adventure now, but writing about them in-depth, in order, teases out details I might not otherwise have noticed, allows me to join the dots and build up a complete picture of who all these characters really were and what they actually experienced which doesn't always bear much resemblance to what the received wisdom of collective memory might claim.
When I first started watching First Doctor adventures, I found, as do most newcomers to the classic show, that it was quite a culture shock, the television of 50 years ago so very different from what I've become accustomed to in the shows of today: different structure, different format, different production values and technology, different acting style, different pace, different dialogue patterns. It takes a bit of getting used to! But I found that I adapted quickly, growing enormously attached to the characters and gaining a whole new appreciation of the televisual pioneers of the 1960s along the way.
This era of the show, like every other, has its ups and downs. It was limited by the technology available at the time, and sometimes over-reached itself, its ambition greater than what could actually be achieved. Sometimes the pacing didn't quite work, or the dialogue was clunky. Sometimes the plot was a bit thin for the time available and had to be padded out, while other times perhaps there was a bit too much story to cram into the time available and the resolution was rushed. Sometimes the characters fell a bit flat, or were required by plot to do or say something out of character. But you know what? Every one of those criticisms could also be aimed at every other era of the show, including the current one. Nothing made by man is perfect, after all. So yes, this era has its flaws, but the whole is immeasurably greater than the sum of its parts.
There is just something wonderfully fresh about this era of the show, back before a dense mythology had grown up around it, back when everything was new there's such freedom here, as the show explores its concept for the first time, pushing boundaries and discovering what Doctor Who is capable of. There are some fantastic characters in this era, and they have some incredible adventures. Susan, Ian, Barbara, Vicki, Steven, Katarina, Sara, Dodo, Ben, Polly, not to mention the Doctor himself it is well worth the effort of acclimating to the style and technology of the era for the sake of getting to know them.
Behind the cut is a masterpost of reviews and banners for the First Doctor era:
( Masterpost of links and banners )
Phew! Now onto the Second Doctor era!