Review #1 – An Unearthly Child

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ImageAfter reading what other people had to say on An Unearthly Child, I was expecting an amazing first episode followed by three that weren’t so good. However, I have to completely disagree with anyone who thinks episodes two to four let the story down because they were almost as superb as the first…

To me, what makes this an amazing story is the way it portrays how everybody feels when they first enter the world of Doctor Who. Let’s look at Ian and Barbara, ordinary people who stumble upon a world of adventure, exactly the same as the viewer; the shock they get when they see the inside of the TARDIS for the first time, exactly the same as the viewer. The story is a personification of the mixed up emotions we experience when we first watch Doctor Who, and it’s beautifully written.

If episode one were a separate episode, I would give 10/10 because it is stunning; absolutely stunning. From ‘Three Guitars Mood’ playing on Susan’s radio to travelling through the time vortex, episode one, aka An Unearthly Child, is a Doctor Who masterpiece I will treasure for the rest of my life.

The beautiful portrayal of emotions continues into episode two, aka The Cave of Skulls, as Ian and Barbara get their first feeling of anticipation when they realise they’ve landed in another time period for the first time. It turns out they’ve landed in 100,000BC, when cavemen walked the Earth searching for the secret to fire. However, there’s no time for Ian, Barbara, or the viewer to take in what’s just happened as the very first TARDIS team is kidnapped by a tribe of cavemen.

The story continues into episodes three and four, aka The Forest of Fear and The Firemaker respectively, as Ian, Barbara and Susan try to help an injured caveman they find on their journey back to the TARDIS; The Doctor remains uncompassionate and wishes to get back as soon as possible. Their kindness backfires however as they are soon back where they started and locked up in a cave. In the end, through contributions from all four, including spectacular fire-making skills from Ian, they are able to make a close getaway and the TARDIS takes off.

Throughout the two concluding episodes, there are many tense moments that prove even in the early 1960s, Doctor Who could have you on the edge of your seat just as much as it could today. The fight scene between Za and Kal in episode 4 is particularly tense, with the individual close-ups of our heroes’ horrified faces adding to the tension.

At the end of episode four, the Doctor hits Ian and Barbara with the revelation he can’t pilot his ship efficiently and that it looks like they’ll be stuck with him for a long time yet…

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Changes to Doctor Who (Article)

If you were put in charge of Doctor Who for the next series, what would you change to make it more like the classic series?

Here’s a few things I’d do:
1. Considering TV takes a long time to produce nowadays, the show would probably still be 13×45 minute episodes. So, to bring back the cliffhangers, I’d make it a Season 22 format with 5×2 parters and 1×3 parter. 

2. Get rid of the soppiness!! The Doctor does not need to snog every single woman he meets (particularly not the companions!) Neither do they need to fancy him. He’s an alien that’s centuries old, it’s very wrong for him to be getting it on with humans. Emotional is fine, some of Doctor Who’s best scenes have been heartbreaking e.g Jo Grant’s departure, but stop with the kissing!

3. Destroy the Sonic Screwdriver. I do love the Sonic Screwdriver don’t get me wrong, but when it’s used to get The Doctor out of every situation, it gets tedious, repetitive and annoying. This would also help to get rid of some of the weaker writers and their lazy escape plans. 

4. More science, even if it’s made up. There is endless scientific possibilities that can be created for alien civilisations and species and Doctor Who needs more of it again. “Timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly” is no way to explain the situation. It feels very patronising too. Even if the Doctor came out with some scientific gobbledygook, that would be great because, after all, it happened with quite a lot of Tom Baker stories and it gets the audience’s imagination flowing. 

5. More alien planets please. While I like the odd episode set on Earth; past, future, or present; we don’t have as many alien planets as we used to. The whole point of the Doctor travelling with companions is so he can show them (and us, the audience) the wonders of the universe; not the city they were so desperate to leave 3 stories ago!

6. Finally, drop the story arcs. Some of Doctor Who’s story arcs have been very successful; Season 12’s loose arc, the Key to Time and even Bad Wolf, however plot twist after plot twist after plot twist gets incredibly boring and confusing and the individual episodes end up being very sloppy. You don’t need to have a story arc every series (or even over multiple series) to make a good show. All you need is good writers; a script editor who knows their continuity; a crew with a creative vision; and a cast with passion, and love for the fans.

 

Welcome Aboard

Hello and welcome to my blog!

Every week I will be posting about everything Doctor Who from Classic story reviews to New story reviews as well as articles and Doctor Who news. I will also be conducting weekly polls which will be starting with favourite episode per classic season then moving into favourite episode per new season.

I hope you stay with me for the ride! Don’t forget to follow for the latest articles and news…

Enjoy!