You may have picked up on the fact that my husband and I are giant Doctor Who Nerds or Whovians. We have seen all the of seasons of the newest reboot of Doctor Who which includes all episodes from 2005-present. We have been anxiously awaiting a new episode on BBC America since Christmas.
So you can imagine we were all kinds of delighted when we noticed that Netflix has now compiled Classic Doctor Who episodes in one handy little link on Netflix Instant. We spent the weekend watching episodes from the first three doctor’s collections of work. The collections or seasons are pretty sparse with just four episodes each for the first two doctors but I actually found this to be a nice manageable way to get a taste for each doctor and sample 20 years or so of Whovian history.
We are about halfway into the fourth collection of episodes, The Three Doctors (1972) which actually has all three of the first three doctors working together to solve an attack at Unit HQ. So while I am certainly not an expert on the first three Doctors, I have seen enough to throw in my two cents on each of them.
The First Doctor (played by William Hartnell) played the doctor from 1963-1966. To be fair I’ve only seen 4 or 5 episodes of Hartnell’s (mostly The Aztecs) portrayal as the Doctor but if I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t a fan. His version of the Doctor felt a bit stiff and boring and occasionally mean. He didn’t seem to have that urge to Save the World that his later incarnations had and I didn’t necessarily buy him as this amazingly brilliant guy who could figure anything out. The show itself just wasn’t as fun. If this had been my first introduction to Doctor Who, I’m not convinced I’d still be watching…
The Second Doctor (played by Patrick Troughton) starred in Doctor Who from 1966 to 1969. He is definitely a much sillier Doctor and appealed to me quickly in the Mind Robbers episodes that I watched as well as his stint in The Three Doctors in the 70’s. He is much more youthful as the Doctor and has that amazingly intelligent thing down. Perhaps this had more to do with the era in which he played the doctor than anything, but either way it made for a much more enjoyable watching experience. My six year old Whovian fanatic son would agree with this assessment. I also really liked his companions in the Mind Robbers a lot, where I never really took a shine to the first doctor’s companions.
The Third Doctor (played by Jon Pertwee) played the Doctor from (1970–1974). Netflix has a lot more of Pertwee’s episodes available to watch and luckily for me I like him perhaps best of the first three. He has the same smarty pants quality but charm to spare as well. His companions have been intelligent but not boring and his story lines good though the first couple of episodes were a bit trying on my patience as they mostly featured the other actors (members of UNIT and the bad guys, etc.) and though the plot was interesting, the good Doctor definitely made the shows worth watching. Luckily he got a lot more screen time as the episodes progressed!
That’s just my take of course. What did you think of the original Doctors? Who were your favorites / least favorites?