How are you?
I'm good. Ish.
So anyway, when I woke up this morning I decided, apropos of nothing, really, that today would be the day that my kids and I sat down and watched Dr. Who for the first time. The first time ever. From the very beginning.
Yes, unlike a number of Dr. Who-ites (Whopies? Whovites? Whovians? I think the last one is the proper term), my kids and I would be watching the First Doctor, William Hartnell, and the first serial plotline, which is a four episode arc called "An Unearthly Child." It was first broadcast on BBC TV in four weekly parts from November 23rd to December 14th in the year 1963.
Man. THIS will be interesting!
I am interested to see how my kids take this.
The show, from the very beginning, is old, black and white, and I don't know how the kids will take it. Currently, my two youngest are watching the movie Pacific Rim, which my three year old son lovingly refers to as "The Wobot Movie." It's full on super monster fight giant robot cgi spectacle, so going from kaiju porn to watching a black and white British show from the early sixties maaaaaaay not be their bag.
Click here for a kick ass Pacific Rim song from my man Adam Warrock!
But here's the thing. I absolutely HAVE TO start from the beginning. I've tackled the subject of starting at the beginning before (and before again) but the main reason why I have to start at the beginning, at the first serialized plotline, is that the second one features the first appearance of the Daleks, evil alien trashcans or something that even non-Dr. Who fans know of, which I guess makes them sort of like The Joker of Dr. Who.
I mean, everybody knows The Joker, right?
And I don't particularly care about this first storyline. I just want to watch it so that I can THEN watch The Daleks.
THAT, my friends, is my master plan.
So, lets do this ...
I just gave my two youngest a buttload of ice cream. I guess I really have no faith in this tv show if I'm bribing them with food.
JUST NOW ... MAXWELL: "What is this show about?" ME: "Well, it's about an old man ... but he's really an alien ... and he travels thru time and space ... in a phone booth." I think that's the best way to explain this to a three year old.
Season 1 Episode 1 - An Unearthly Child by elviscudd
The opening credits start. The kids are freaked out by the opening credit visuals and the music. Bela is already complaining about it being in black and white. The beginning of the show is crazy dark, so much so that you have aaaaabsolutely no idea what's going on in the beginning. At all. Then we see the Tardis for the first time. And it confuses me. Is that how phone booths looked back then? Is it a police phone call ONLY box? Did they actually have random 9-1-1 only boxes scattered around their country? Do they still have those now? It's odd, you know? Real odd.
Now we're at a school and two teachers are complaining about a smart but odd teenage girl called Susan and her mysterious, old father. So they go and meet her in the library where ... she's blaring music? Damn, that's rude. Bitch. So is she an alien? I suppose she is. She's either an alien or she just has Asperger's. Either or. She's like Abed in Community.
So they follow her to her house, which is an abandoned junkyard. Maxwell could care less. He's running around the house screaming and dancing and having his Iron Man figure fight Godzilla. This isn't doing it for him. Bela, though, is quite interested. So then the teachers meet the Doctor, who seems to be an impressive Abe Vigoda level of old. The teachers and The Doctor have a rather sharp verbal jousting match. Then they go into the Tardis ...
The Tardis is a ship. It stands for "Time and Relative Dimension In Space." Ha! Good to know. So the teachers argue with him. And he's quite a crotchety old bitch. The Doctor is basically trolling the two teachers. He thinks they're idiots. And we get a few bits and pieces of the story. Susan and The Doctor are from some civilization and they hope to one day get back.
My thirteen year old is watching now. She's smiling. "The Doctor is a jerk," she said. And I agree. He's a big fucking asshole.
There is an argument, a scuffle, between Susan and The Doctor. And the Tardis is accidentally turned on. So they travel thru time and space. DAMN the Tardis is loud. It's almost as loud as my horrible ass car.
They arrive at wherever their destination is. It looks like a desolate wasteland. Or Tucson. And there's a mysterious shadow ...
... and that's the episode.
BAM! FIRST EPISODE DONE!
NOW ON TO EPISODE TWO: THE CAVE OF SKULLS ...
S1xE02 - The Cave Of Skulls by WHOat50
The shadow belongs to either a caveman or a Ringo Starr impersonator. Apparently they are in the prehistoric era and this dusty guy is part of a tribe of cavemen that somehow speak perfect english. How convenient! The male teacher, whatever his name is, still doesn't believe in the whole time and space shit and keeps fighting the damn old man Doctor. Now the other teacher, the woman, she's surprisingly cool with all this.
Bela's starting to lose interest. She's playing with Maxwell now, pretending to have a tail and dancing with him. My oldest is gone to her cave room. It's prrrrrrrretty much just me now.
They leave the Tardis to get samples of rocks and junk to try an find out what time they're in. Shouldn't the Tardis tell them that? Do they even know how to work that thing? And it's so sleek and white and plastic inside the Tardis that it looks like IKEA is selling Time and Space machines now. Apparently the machine is supposed to change its outside appearance to match its surroundings but something's wrong with it so it's stuck as a police box.
The man teacher, Ian, he just said it! "That's not his name? Who is he? Dr. Who?"
And I was all ...
So a caveman has taken The Doctor and Susan is freaking out about it. So the three of them decide to go and find him. And we see a caveman has an overly dramatic monologue before the caveman drops The Doctor to the rest of the tribe.
Oh my gawd is that caveman Phil Hartman ...
I know that's not him. But wow. It kind of looks like him. And it really sounds like him, too. This is strange. It looks like he's just playing a strange part on an SNL skit. Maybe this was a precursor to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer, like a prequel.
Or maybe PHIL HARTMAN IS REALLY A TIME LORD?!?!
So the cavemen wants The Doctor to make fire so they will survive the cold, plus there's something about a tiger or something. I don't remember. But GAWD these damn cavemen SURE DO like to fucking talk! Chatty Kathys, the whole lot of them. Just GAB GAB GAB every second they're on screen. So they might kill him but then the rest of the gang come to save him. There's a scuffle, then they are all sent to the title of the episode, the dreaded cave of skulls. There's also a lot of talk about who is the leader of the tribe, as well as a mysterious old woman who looks like the village elder in How to Train Your Dragon ...
So the gang are stick in the cave of skulls. They notice that all the skulls in the cave have been split open.
... and that's the episode.
BAM! SECOND EPISODE DONE!
NOW ON TO EPISODE THREE: THE FOREST OF FEAR ...
S1xE03 - The Forest of Fear by WHOat50
The Cave of Skulls, then The Forest of Fear? Really, BBC? What's episode four, The Mountain of Doom? The Jutting Precipice of Spookiness? The Jungle of Dread? C'mon, people. You can do better than that.
So they're stuck in the cave and old Doc Brown is getting all emo, as the kids say. He's really hating himself for getting everyone into this mess. Personally, I blame Bill Cosby for all of this. His years and years of raping affects us all, you know.
So the emo Doc Brown and his gang start using the bones from the Cave of Badish Things to cut the rope used to tie them up. Wait, the cavemen don't know how to make fire but they can make rope? THAT sounds scientific, right? But as they're trying to escape, Miss How To Train Your Dragon shows up and starts spouting off about how fire will ruin them and destroy their whole society blah blah blah, so she offers to get them free if they promise to leave and never return. Because FIRE BAD, I suppose. I dunno.
Yawn. Losing interest. Maxwell is napping now. On me. He is NOT into this at all.
So they escape and head to the forest, which is where either a beast or numerous beasts live. As they run thru the forest you can hear the legendary song "Generic Thrilling Music #184." Barbara, the female teacher, starts freaking the hell out in the woods. WAIT, ARE THOSE SHADOWS? Ehh, who knows or cares?
The woods, the forest, it all looks like the same small patch of bushes and trees that they would use to make Gilligan' Island seem so huge when in fact they just used the same small location, you know? They find a boar that's been killed. Barbara freaks out more. Her screams causes one of the cavemen, apparently named Za, to get attacked by a beast or animal or smoke monster or something. So the gang actually goes back and comes to the aid of the man who wanted to kill them. Whatever.
So then the rival caveguy starts a bunch of cave unrest, the primitive version of starting civil unrest, and gets everybody to believe that Za is the bad guy. Ok then.
Meanwhile, the gang builds a makeshift stretcher and decide to take their hurt cavehomie back to the Tardis to heal him. But by the time they get there the place is surrounded by angry cavepeeps who want blood. Or fire. Or both.
... aaaaaaaand that's the episode.
TRIPLE BAM! THAT'S THE THIRD EPISODE DONE!
NOW ON TO EPISODE FOUR: THE FIREMAKER ...
S1xE04 - The Firemaker by WHOat50
So. Three episodes in and Bela made her way outside playing with a neighbor friend of hers. And Maxwell, tired of watching this black and white nonsense, forced to to put on Mickey Mouse cartoons and Disney movies.
Yeah. I had to stop watching Dr. Who. Maxwell wasn't having any of that anymore. No one cared anymore. And you know what? I really couldn't blame them. That was some dense fucking shit right there, those last three episodes. It's just damn old and dusty and dense and dry and boring as all hell. Rough stuff to watch right there. Damn rough.
What I'm saying is that a number of days have since passed.
We watched those episodes Tuesday afternoon. And early Sunday morning, I decided that come hell or high water I would finish this damn first Dr. Who plotline.
Yup. It's time to reel this bitch in. Lets do this.
... when last we left the mystery gang they were about to jump back into their mystery machine when a gang of vicious cavemen bumrushed them. The first minute of the show is extreme closeups of people's faces. Wow, great. GET TO SOME ACTION!
So the gang, once again kidnapped by the rest of the cavepeople, bring their hurt cavehomie back to the tribe. He is being blamed for the death of the How To Train Your Dragon woman, who is apparently dead. But The Doctor gets all Sherlock Holmes or The Butler from the movie Clue or maybe even Sherlock Hemlock ...
... and overacts his way into SOLVING THE MYSTERY, finally reiterating my theory that early Dr. Who was just Scooby Doo plus British Teeth. So London Doc Brown gets the whole tribe to turn against the bad guy and he is banished from the tribe. Yay! End of story, right?
No. So Za is the leader again, but instead of giving The Doctor and hs groovy gang of mystery solvers a muffin basket, he sends them back into the Cave of Skulls. Za says they will either learn the secrets of fire or they will be sacrificed to the monster, Orb or Org, or something. I dunno. I wish this was in color.
Za is told by his woman that The Doctor and his tribe are different, they are called "friend" and they did not kill Za when he was injured. But Za is not deterred and decides that The Doctor will either teach him the secrets of fire or they will be killed.
So Za comes to talk to the gang and the gang tells Za that in their "tribe" they can ALL make fire. Za says that that is impossible, that not everyone can be leader, but The Doctor tries to explain that everyone should know how to make fire. Wow. That sounds an AAAAAWFUL LOT LIKE SOCIALISM, YOU PINKO!!!
So the bad guy, Ka? Kal? Kal-El? I dunno, but it looks like he sneaks back into the cave and there's a big, fake looking, badly choreographed fight scene while annoying free form jazz music plays in the background. Za wins, throws the bad guy to the ground, and gets a huge rock, using it to smash his skull in a soundless action. NOPE! NO WAY he could crush a man;s skull with a giant boulder SILENTLY! C'mon, BBC. Grow some balls.
So Za goes back to the cavepeople with the body of Kal-El or whoever and some fire and cements his dominance and the winner of this season's Amazing Race. Or Whatever. The mystery gang is left in the cave of aloneness while Za goes hunting and whatever.
Za comes back and gives them food. The gang is pissed but Za decides that the gang will join their tribe. YAY! But no, they don't want to stay as cavepeople. While deciding what their next move will be, Susan throws a skull into the fire. That gives them a very Scooby-Doo type plan. They put the skulls on spikes, which sounds like an Eddie Izzard routine ...
... so they put skulls on spikes and use it to scare the primitive Tuscon, Arizona-like cavepeople. They pretend to be dead and the spike skulls are their ghosts The gavepeeps are scared long enough for them to try and escape.
I have decided that the guy playing Za is actually an elaborate Will Forte skit.
Yup. Called it. That's uncanny right there.
So the gang runs away by running away and totally NOT running in place while British dudes slap them with leaves and twigs. They escape, the Tardis disappears while making the noises that my car makes, and POOF, they're gone.
So The Doctor says that he has no idea where the hell they're going next because the re-Tardis is broken and won't tell him where they're going , ensuring many MANY wacky adventures to come, boys and girls!. Eventually they end up at a spoooooooky alien jungle ga-goo whatever place. I dunno. Might just be a water park, for all I know.
Before they exit the re-Tardis to explore and look for a cool comic book shop, the Doctor asks Susan to check the radiation levels to see if they're safe. She says yes and they leave but, in a SHAMALAN twist, once they leave the needle goes into the DANGER ZONE, like this ...
... aaaaaaaand that's the first damn Dr. Who plotline.
FOUR EPISODE BAM! THAT'S A WRAP, PEOPLE! CUT AND PRINT!
Wow. That was some dense shiznittle right there! And it only took me six days to get thru four boring 24 minute episodes. Wow. I can't WAIT for Tom Baker to show up, man, because THIS was freaking boring, man, aaaaabsolutely boring as hell. Like watching a cockroach swim thru syrup. YAWN!
Buck up, campers! Because the Dalek are the next plotline. And those alien robot trashcans are like the freaking Joker of Dr. Who, so when we tackle this show again we SHOULD (hopehopehope) be getting to the good stuff.
So STAY TUNED!!!