llywela: (DW1-brainyspecs)


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!
llywela: (DW1-brainyspecs)
So my reviewing project has slowed, since I have far too many hobbies to juggle effectively, but it hasn't stopped yet - Doctor Who's third season is now complete, following on from Season One and Season Two

Season Three brings me almost to the end of the First Doctor era, closing with the Doctor just two adventures away from his first regeneration.

When I began this journey, I did not expect to fall so much in love with this era of the show, but the First Doctor and Susan, and Ian and Barbara, and Vicki and Steven and the others have well and truly won me over. The seeds of every Doctor there has ever been can be found in William Hartnell's performance – he is the Doctor, the pattern for every incarnation after him. Very much of its time, his era isn't always easy viewing for an audience accustomed to modern stylings and slick production values, but if you commit yourself to taking that journey with him and hook into the characters along the way, it really is a fantastic ride, an age when almost anything could happen. Although at times the show could be over-ambitious, the limitations of the cramped little studios often worked in favour of the drama, as, without sophisticated special effects to fall back on, there was much greater emphasis on characters, dialogue, drama and tension. Equally, while we are so accustomed to dramatic shortcuts now that it is easy to become frustrated by the slow pace of this storytelling, there is something only too relatable about seeing the characters struggling to overcome the obstacles they encounter along the way, rather than simply glossing over them to save time. There were no quick fixes in this era of the show, no shortcuts and no easy way out, the characters had to work through their adventures on their own wits in a way that brings their fantastic adventures right back down to Earth.

Of Hartnell's three complete seasons, the third is the weakest and there's no getting away from that. Those ten adventures, told over 45 episodes, were a time of transition for the show, both behind and in front of the camera, and it was very much a season of two halves as the departure of the show's pioneering first producer, Verity Lambert, ushered in a new era, leading to an experimental, more light-hearted and less character-focused second half of the season. The cast, meanwhile, went through a period of rapid turnover, swapping Vicki for Katarina for Sara for Dodo in the space of just four adventures. Space pilot Steven was the constant figure at the Doctor's side through all this, carrying entire adventures virtually single-handed, an absolute stalwart through some turbulent times, but he too had departed before season's end, while yet another change in the season finale saw granddaughter-figure Dodo exchanged for the trendy young adult pairing of Ben and Polly to launch a new era going into the new season ahead.



3.01 Galaxy 4
3.02 Mission to the Unknown
3.03 The Myth Makers
3.04 The Daleks' Master Plan
3.05 The Massacre
3.06 The Ark
3.07 The Celestial Toymaker
3.08 The Gunfighters
3.09 The Savages
3.10 The War Machines

All reviews hosted over at my other journal, [livejournal.com profile] whatinthewho
llywela: (DW1-brainyspecs)
Cross-posted from my Doctor Who review journal, whatinthewho

Season 1


Doctor Who's second season was a time of both consolidation and change for the show, which by 1965 was firmly cemented in the Saturday teatime viewing schedule – a new episode every week for 10 months of the year. During nine adventures told over 39 episodes, season two saw the start of what has since become a well established tradition of cast change, as the Doctor's beloved granddaughter Susan left to start a new life with David Campbell on 22nd century Earth, while schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright later returned to their home in London 1965, their places aboard the TARDIS taken by futuristic orphan Vicki and space pilot Steven Taylor.

This is a lovely era of the show, it really is. The cast, writers and production team were now well settled in, telling wonderfully varied stories – still early enough in the show's run to feel fresh and ambitious rather than formulaic. With each adventure written to follow on from the last as one long ongoing story, a story more focused on character than on plot, there is a sense of continuity and development that feels almost modern, albeit distinctly 1960s in style and delivery, and I've tried to capture that in these reviews, delving into the characters, their experiences and evolving dynamics.

Doctor Who fans often tell new viewers to pick and choose which serials to watch, blithely claiming that it is okay to jump in anywhere and to skip around at random, and to be sure that is one way of becoming familiar with the show and getting a taste for the different eras...but any show is best experienced in order, and classic Doctor Who is no different, the First Doctor era in particular. Watching these early seasons in order is the only way to truly get to know these characters and the ongoing story of their adventures together, and my shift in focus on this review project reflects that. When I began this project I was content to skip from era to era as the fancy struck me, but my relationship with the show and its characters has changed a lot since then, and now that I know them so well and have grown to love them so much, I want to really do them justice. The only way to do that is to do a proper review job, start to finish, in order - two seasons down, only a couple of dozen still to go...

DW-S2


2.01 Planet of Giants
2.02 The Dalek Invasion of Earth
2.03 The Rescue
2.04 The Romans
2.05 The Web Planet
2.06 The Crusade
2.07 The Space Museum
2.08 The Chase
2.09 The Time Meddler
llywela: (DW1-brainyspecs)
And yes, I really do mean season 1, the original series of the show aired in 1963-4, not the first season of the rebooted show in 2005!

Some of my f-listies know that I have another journal where I've been posting reviews of classic Doctor Who adventures as I slowly work my way through them, rediscovering the old show, having grown up on it but then not watched in years. When I first started writing up my thoughts about classic Doctor Who serials, it was all a bit off-the-cuff, jumping around from era to era as the whim struck, in most cases offering little more than first impressions, without much depth of analysis. Then recently I decided to revisit the Doctor's first ever season in a more structured manner, watching and reviewing each serial in sequence. I reviewed a story I hadn't previously written about, re-wrote two reviews from scratch, and refreshed and revised the rest, with an especial focus on story progression and character development - this is the masterpost for those season one reviews.

The first season of Doctor Who is made up of 42 episodes, 8 serials – and one long ongoing story in which the coming and going of the various individual adventures is rather less important than the question raised in the first episode, asked by the Doctor shortly after Ian and Barbara entered the TARDIS for the first time. "The point is not whether you understand," he said. "What is going to happen to you?" Every episode of every adventure they have been through during this first season asks that same question; those two characters, perfectly ordinary people from contemporary London, have stepped through the Looking Glass into Wonderland, in effect, and this is the story of what happens to them on the other side.

The current fashion for TV shows is for a variety of 'arcs', both plot- and character-based, to play out over the course of each season, with clearly defined start and finishing points. Well, in 1963-4 there was no such thing as an 'arc', the term hadn't been invented, but what Doctor Who had in this its first ever season was progression, progression of both the characters and the story of their adventures together. There was no such thing as a standalone episode, or even a standalone adventure, because the show as a whole was one long ongoing story which was constantly moving forward. Each episode builds on what has come before, while the relationship between the characters evolves constantly and naturally over the course of the season, as they get to know one another better and learn from their experiences.

This is vintage television and it shows, of course it does. The production values are primitive, the narrative style outdated and the acting theatrical, all of which can appear alien to our modern sensibilities, accustomed as we are to watching shows that conform to more up-to-date values and fashions. Yet if you look past those surface drawbacks to the story being told and to the characters at the heart of that story, the 42-episode season as a whole really is gripping and great fun to watch.

DW-S1


1.01 An Unearthly Child
1.02 The Daleks
1.03 Edge of Destruction
1.04 Marco Polo
1.05 The Keys of Marinus
1.06 The Aztecs
1.07 The Sensorites
1.08 The Reign of Terror
llywela: (Default)
I have committed fic! Big time fic - this has been eating my brain all summer, and I'm pretty sure I could go on tweaking it for the rest of the year, but I need my life back so I'm just going to publish and be damned. *G*

It's a classic Doctor Who story, casefile, so it's posted over at my other journal, I'll just link to it here.

Title: Life Goes On
Author: Me!
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: ensemble – Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Sergeant-Major Benton
Rating: PG
Spoilers: This story is set some time after the Doctor left Sarah on Earth at the end of The Hand of Fear.
Wordcount: 49,541 - complete
Disclaimer: UNIT and all characters connected therein belong to the BBC. I have borrowed them for this story and am making no profit from this.
Summary: Case-file. The Doctor has left UNIT…but life goes on without him and so do extra-terrestrial incursions. When mysterious fissures appear and unidentified aliens attack, Liz Shaw finds herself drawn back to UNIT after an absence of several years, while a newly returned Sarah Jane Smith is wondering what the future holds for her, now that her dearest friend has left her behind.
Author's Note: This story comes from more or less exactly the same place as the BtVS Wishverse fic I wrote a few years ago - apparently I have a bit of a thing for removing the hero of a show so that the sidekicks can step up and be heroes in their own right!
Acknowledgements: with thanks to Sue



Part One
Having put her time at UNIT behind her, Liz Shaw is furious at being dragged back to assist with a new investigation. Surprised to learn of the Doctor's departure, she slowly begins to change her mind as her interest in the case is piqued - but then disaster strikes
Part Two
As UNIT regroup after the alien attack, Sarah struggles to find a role in the investigation, while Liz and Harry attempt to escape from their alien captors
Part Three
While Liz learns what the aliens are up to, Sarah brainstorms with the Brigadier back at UNIT, but then the approach of another alien spaceship throws everyone onto alert
Part Four
Liz and Harry manage to escape at last, while Sarah takes matters into her own hands - with unexpected consequences
Part Five
Sarah and Harry have been thrown into the past with no way home, how will they cope? Meanwhile back at UNIT, Liz is the only person who stands any chance of saving them, but how will she handle the pressure?
Part Six
Trapped in the past, Sarah confides in Harry as they struggle to keep their spirits up, while Liz's attempt at retrieving them is interrupted by another alien attack - will UNIT get their defences in place in time?
Part Seven
As Liz saves the day, there is time for reflection: what does the future hold now?
Epilogue
Life goes on...

This story can also be read at my website or at AO3
llywela: (Default)
I have committed fic! Big time fic - this has been eating my brain all summer, and I'm pretty sure I could go on tweaking it for the rest of the year, but I need my life back so I'm just going to publish and be damned. *G*

It's a classic Doctor Who story, casefile, so it's posted over at my other journal, I'll just link to it here.

Title: Life Goes On
Author: Me!
Show: Classic Doctor Who
Characters: ensemble – Liz Shaw, Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Sergeant-Major Benton
Rating: PG
Spoilers: This story is set some time after the Doctor left Sarah on Earth at the end of The Hand of Fear.
Wordcount: 49,541 - complete
Disclaimer: UNIT and all characters connected therein belong to the BBC. I have borrowed them for this story and am making no profit from this.
Summary: Case-file. The Doctor has left UNIT…but life goes on without him and so do extra-terrestrial incursions. When mysterious fissures appear and unidentified aliens attack, Liz Shaw finds herself drawn back to UNIT after an absence of several years, while a newly returned Sarah Jane Smith is wondering what the future holds for her, now that her dearest friend has left her behind.
Author's Note: This story comes from more or less exactly the same place as the BtVS Wishverse fic I wrote a few years ago - apparently I have a bit of a thing for removing the hero of a show so that the sidekicks can step up and be heroes in their own right!
Acknowledgements: with thanks to Sue



Part One
Having put her time at UNIT behind her, Liz Shaw is furious at being dragged back to assist with a new investigation. Surprised to learn of the Doctor's departure, she slowly begins to change her mind as her interest in the case is piqued - but then disaster strikes
Part Two
As UNIT regroup after the alien attack, Sarah struggles to find a role in the investigation, while Liz and Harry attempt to escape from their alien captors
Part Three
While Liz learns what the aliens are up to, Sarah brainstorms with the Brigadier back at UNIT, but then the approach of another alien spaceship throws everyone onto alert
Part Four
Liz and Harry manage to escape at last, while Sarah takes matters into her own hands - with unexpected consequences
Part Five
Sarah and Harry have been thrown into the past with no way home, how will they cope? Meanwhile back at UNIT, Liz is the only person who stands any chance of saving them, but how will she handle the pressure?
Part Six
Trapped in the past, Sarah confides in Harry as they struggle to keep their spirits up, while Liz's attempt at retrieving them is interrupted by another alien attack - will UNIT get their defences in place in time?
Part Seven
As Liz saves the day, there is time for reflection: what does the future hold now?
Epilogue
Life goes on...

This story can also be read at my website or at AO3
llywela: (SQ-shiny)
Okay, so I think I've finally got my website move all done and dusted, yay! It's actually been up at the new home for a while now, but the coding was a bit wonky at first. I think it's all fixed and fine now, though. So, many many thanks to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] rosely for hosting me for so long and for building the site for me in the first place (I am rubbish at php coding so absolutely could not have done it myself). And huge, huge thanks to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] nikkimisplaced for offering to be my new host, over at belladonna.

So here it is, the shiny new link to Randomness

There is still tidying up work to be done, mind. Please let me know if you spot anything broken!

In Other News, I have a new project. And yes, I know, I know, I already have about a million unfinished projects lying around making me feel guilty for not getting back to them. What can I say? I am fickle and I have to go with whatever is eating my brain at any given time. At the moment, my brain is being eaten by my re-exploration of Classic Doctor Who, and when a show is eating my brain I have to write about it, so I have been, but in the interests of tidiness (and icons) and because I've been just writing for me, instead of posting my musings here I set up a shiny new Doctor Who journal for myself. I've been umming and ahhing over whether or not to advertise it here, since I doubt any of my f-listies will be remotely interested, but then I thought what the heck, why not? Someone might fancy taking a tour of a few Classic adventures, so here it is:

[livejournal.com profile] whatinthewho

I won't sustain the motivation indefinitely, I already know that, because I never do, but for now it's a fun project that is keeping me entertained. And one day my brain will be eaten by one of my outstanding projects again, giving me the push to actually complete one of them!

In Other Other News, this timeline of Doctor Who is absolutely awesome.

In Other Other Other News, things are going seriously pear-shaped down in Cornwall this week. Please pray for my sister and her family, they are going through a really hard time at the moment, again.
llywela: (SQ-shiny)
Okay, so I think I've finally got my website move all done and dusted, yay! It's actually been up at the new home for a while now, but the coding was a bit wonky at first. I think it's all fixed and fine now, though. So, many many thanks to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] rosely for hosting me for so long and for building the site for me in the first place (I am rubbish at php coding so absolutely could not have done it myself). And huge, huge thanks to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] nikkimisplaced for offering to be my new host, over at belladonna.

So here it is, the shiny new link to Randomness

There is still tidying up work to be done, mind. Please let me know if you spot anything broken!

In Other News, I have a new project. And yes, I know, I know, I already have about a million unfinished projects lying around making me feel guilty for not getting back to them. What can I say? I am fickle and I have to go with whatever is eating my brain at any given time. At the moment, my brain is being eaten by my re-exploration of Classic Doctor Who, and when a show is eating my brain I have to write about it, so I have been, but in the interests of tidiness (and icons) and because I've been just writing for me, instead of posting my musings here I set up a shiny new Doctor Who journal for myself. I've been umming and ahhing over whether or not to advertise it here, since I doubt any of my f-listies will be remotely interested, but then I thought what the heck, why not? Someone might fancy taking a tour of a few Classic adventures, so here it is:

[livejournal.com profile] whatinthewho

I won't sustain the motivation indefinitely, I already know that, because I never do, but for now it's a fun project that is keeping me entertained. And one day my brain will be eaten by one of my outstanding projects again, giving me the push to actually complete one of them!

In Other Other News, this timeline of Doctor Who is absolutely awesome.

In Other Other Other News, things are going seriously pear-shaped down in Cornwall this week. Please pray for my sister and her family, they are going through a really hard time at the moment, again.

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