New to Who


As Doctor Who approaches it’s 50th anniversary next year, BBC America has put out the call for people to write their “New to Who” stories – basically what got you into the show originally.   Given BBC America is running just the modern show, I suspect the majority of the people’s responses will be about the revived series.  Hope to see some classic series stuff in there.  Decided to write mine, but there’s zero chance it will fit on Twitter, so it’s here.

Back when I was in High School in Philadelphia (1979-1983), I used to hang out at a friend’s house on the next street over a lot.  Given the time, we used to play a LOT of Atari 2600 games.  I bring that up, because his mother used to be into Doctor Who.  I never ever stopped and watched, because I wasn’t interested in hanging out with my buddy’s mom at all, so I have no idea what stories those were (but for some reason Seeds of Doom comes to mind).  However, on occasion, I’d stop and watch the title sequence to Doctor Who on the way back to the videogame area.  From what I remember, it was mostly Jon Pertwee & Tom Baker, because in the early 80’s, that’s all we’d get in the US.  Hartnell & Troughton didn’t start over here till 1986 (on NJN), and while I think Davison was over here, most PBS stations at the time ran them in order.  Started at Spearhead, ran through what was out there, and then recycled back to Spearhead.  If there was something new, it’d get tacked onto the end for when they’d get through the cycle again.   But given the time I usually got there after school, Doctor Who would be starting, and I always got a kick out of the theme song, so I’d watch that, and then head upstairs.  Never watched the show.

After I graduated High School (in Jun 1983), I stopped hanging out with this friend, and later on in the year, I recalled the Doctor Who thing.   I have a vague memory of an announcement by my local PBS station about an anniversary special coming up, as this was the 20th anniversary.  So I decided to watch the anniversary show as my “first episode”. Watched it by myself, cold – no “mentor”.  That’s right – my FIRST Doctor Who story was the Five Doctors.  Quite confusing as heck for a first timer, but that’s where I got onboard.  It was a strange story as your first, since it had a ton of characters, and your enjoyment of the story was based mostly around what you might have recalled about these characters from their past appearances.  Not so much the story in front of you, as it was just there to serve all the cameos, for the most part.   But I did enjoy the confusion of all that, so I decided to look into the show’s past.

Given there was no World Wide Web in late 1983 that I could use, you had to go to the physical library to look things up.  In late 1983 in Philadelphia, there wasn’t a ton of books out there on Doctor Who – so it was slim pickings.  That’s why the Peter Haining books were such a godsend back in those days – especially to this new fan.   I LOVED those books, because they were my main source of researching and reading the past.  When the show came back in 2005, there was a book that came out (and then got one update), and I have to say, it really reminded me of the old 80’s Haining books.  It was called “Doctor Who: The Legend” by Justin Richards.  That had a great feel for me back to a time when I was “New to Who”.

I pretty voraciously consumed what I could find back then in terms of available stories.  That’s why I loved the old Creation Conventions so much.  Back in those days, it would take upwards of TWO YEARS for any new Doctor Who stories to make it onto one of the three PBS stations I could get in Philadelphia.   They’d usually bring a new story or two with them to a convention, so you’d watch it there.   There wasn’t pirate video on the Internet like there is today, but I was one of the guys who used to import PAL videotapes from England, and have them converted to NTSC format, so you could watch them in the US earlier than PBS would show them.  Took those tapes to several Doctor Who fan club meetings, where everyone would watch them.  It was far more enjoyable when a “new story viewing” was a communal experience like those were.   If you were a person who was into Doctor Who like this back in the 80’s, then you MUST MUST MUST seek out the extra on the Revenge of the Cybermen DVD called “Cheques Lies & Videotape”.  It’s all about being a fan back then, and  it talks about importing videotapes from other countries – it’s simply a MUST SEE if you were a US Doctor Who fan back in the early mid 80’s.

I dated a couple of girls in the 80’s around/after high school who were into Doctor Who.  My eventual wife also got tortured by my 1980’s Doctor Who obsession back in the day, but she put up with it, she didn’t actively enjoy it.  Although, she does thoroughly enjoy the revived show.  She will run screaming from the living room if I put on the 60’s stuff, however.   Doctor Who remains to this day my all time favorite TV show (The second was Dallas, which also relaunched itself in 2012).   I don’t recall ever being frightened by it truly, but that’s because I started watching it when I was about 18.  I’m 47 now, so I’ve been with the show for awhile.  I was pained when it ended in 1989.  Teased in 1996 when it almost came back, and was quite ecstatic when it returned for good in 2005.

Current TV show head writer and producer Stephen Moffatt relayed his introduction to Doctor Who, and I rather enjoyed his story.  Check it out:


Marco Polo Review

My Review (01×04)

For Doctor Who story #4, we come to a story that both surprises me, and pisses me off.

Marco Polo is the first of the “lost” stories of the 60’s era of Doctor Who. Lost as in the BBC erased the tapes of it in the early 70’s, due to their thought at the time that they’d never need it again.   Much has been made of the junking of Doctor Who episodes, so I won’t go into a ton of detail on it.  However, if you want an excellent read on that subject, look up the book “Wiped!” – it’s entire tome is dedicated to every angle you can think of regarding lost Doctor Who stories.  OK, perhaps it’s not long enough for the proper usage of tome, but it’s a great read.  Of all the stories that were lost, this one is particularly annoying, because records show it was sold overseas more than any other, and yet no episodes survive.  It’s also one of three stories where not a frame of episode footage exists.  For most of the other lost stories there’s small clips, and fragments of video you can see.  Not this one (also Mission to the Unknown & The Massacre) – nothing exists.   Still, I digress…

Marco Polo was a surprise to me, because for this series of reviews, I finally sat down and “watched” the whole story, all seven episodes.  I say “watched”, because this brings up another thing, “Doctor Who Reconstructions“.  When I say I have every Doctor Who episode, it’s subjective.  For the lost stories, what fans have done is taken the existing audio (which is retained for every episode), and married it with photos taken from the episode(s).  Watching those are only for the hardcore fans.  It’s OK, but definitely not for everyone.  Still, it is the only way to see lost stories like “Marco Polo”.  OK, I’m done digressing…

So I watched the reconstruction of Marco Polo, and I have to say, I was surprised at how well this story was.  I always knew of it’s legendary status, but to “watch it” (the best you can in 2012), brought a surprising amount of joy.  A lot of long stories from the 60’s suffered from pacing problems.  This one most certainly did not.   This story had proper pacing much in the way that “The Daleks” did not.  While this was seven episodes, it never felt stretched, padded, or sagged too much.  Every story sags somewhere, even the best of them, but you hardly noticed it with this one.   That brings me to the “pissed me off” part.  That the story was THAT good annoyed the heck out of me, because you can’t see it properly.   What makes this interesting to me as one of the Doctor Who historicals is that it doesn’t merge very much science fiction into the historical stuff.  It’s pretty much devoid of time travel, and the usual trappings of Sci-Fi.  For the most part, the Doctor Who historical stories never did much for me.  I’m not the only one, as they stopped for a very long time after Hartnell left.  They did I believe one in Troughton’s era, and then no more until one short one in Davison’s era.  But this one worked, despite the huge handicap of being missing, and having to watch basically seven episodes of still pictures as a replacement.

The story starts out with the Tardis crew landing near where Marco Polo is, and finding their caravan, which was going to see Kublai Khan across the Gobi desert.  Marco extends hospitality to the crew, and they even tag along the Tardis with them on the back of a wagon.  All seems well, until Polo decides to use the Doctor’s caravan (the Tardis) as a gift to Khan, and refuses to return it.  That pretty much sets up the rest of the story, where the Doctor and crew were trying to get back to the Tardis and leave.   Because of them being unable to, they’re trapped into the drama that is Marco Polo and his chief, Tegana (Jovanka? Har Har Har).   Their conflict lasts the entire story, and doesn’t seem paced.  Tegana hides his desires well, and isn’t suspected for quite some time.

About halfway through the story, the Tardis crew could have escaped, but Susan blew it, by wanting to say goodbye to her friend in the story, Ping-Cho.   The crew are caught, where if Susan had just went when she should have, they would have extricated themselves from the story.  But no, this being television drama, that wasn’t about to happen, and we got a few more episodes until they finally left in the end.   Actually, Susan had something to do in this story.  She had her own “Companion” (Ping-Cho), and she actually was fairly integral to parts of the story, and wasn’t just standing around or screaming, which was nice.

One of the more interesting bits I liked are the Doctor creating water from condensation inside the Tardis.  Real science in play there.   Not “The Doctor looking like a magician”, real science.

There’s plenty of characters in the couple of locations the story stops in, and they all look well dressed – I have to say, this was a very good looking story.   Again with the “Arrrgh” in not being able to see it.   That is pretty consistent, I really liked the look and feel of the story.  From the drama about water storage, to finding where Tegana’s accomplices are hiding out, to finding where Polo hid the Tardis keys, to the kidnapping of Barbara, meeting Khan, palace battles, there’s a ton of different subplots that all weave together quite nicely.

I know I’m not going into a ton of detail on the individual episodes here.  Part of that is because I’m writing this about 6 weeks after watching it, but even if I wrote it the next day, I’d kind of mesh it together, because this is one of those stories that works for me when I think about it as a whole piece, not individual parts as such.  I know that sounds weird, but I’m having a hard time relaying my thoughts about this concept from my head to the keyboard.  But I will say this.  It was very enjoyable, as the first time I had ever “watched” it all the way through was on reconstruction, I probably couldn’t fully appreciate it, but I definitely did not consider it an “Oh God, I have to force myself to watch this”.  I really enjoyed the story.   You might too, provided you can put up with watching a reconstruction.

Story Facts

  • The Doctor: William Hartnell
  • Susan Foreman: Carole Anne Ford
  • Ian Chesterton: William Russell
  • Barbara Wright: Jacqueline Hill
  • Episode 1: “The Roof of the World” – Feb 22, 1964
  • Episode 2: “The Singing Sands” – Feb 29, 1964
  • Episode 3: “Five Hundred Eyes” – Mar 7, 1964
  • Episode 4: The Wall of Lies” – Mar 14, 1964
  • Episode 5: “Rider From Shang-Tu” – Mar 21, 1964
  • Episode 6: “Mighty Kublai Khan” – Mar 28, 1964
  • Episode 7: “Assassin at Peking” – Apr 4, 1964
  • Director:  Waris Hussein
  • Director: John Crockett (Episode 4 only)
  • Script Editor: David Whitaker
  • Producer: Verity Lambert
  • Writer: John Lucarotti
  • Production Code: D

Story Notes

  • This story was unique (I believe) in that all of the individual episode titles were mentioned somewhere in dialogue in their respective episode.
  • This was the first Doctor Who “historical” story.
  • This was the second of two Doctor Who stories directed by Waris Hussein.  His first was “An Unearthly Child”.  He never returned to the series.
  • Several actors from this story appeared in later Doctor Who episodes.  But the most recent one is Zienia Merton, who played Ping-Cho (shown to the right).  She later on appeared in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode, “The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith” as a character named “The Registrar”, and she had several scenes with Doctor #10, David Tennant.
  • The DVD box set called ‘The Beginning” that also contains the first three Stories, contains a condensed reconstruction of Marco Polo.   That reconstruction is just 30 minutes total.  It’s an interesting way of condensing the story, as the original version was 7 episodes of 25 minutes each.  30 minutes is very condensed.
  • This story was originally considered as the source material for the Peter Cushing Doctor Who theatrical movies, but the Daleks were eventually chosen.
  • The story has an on screen narrator, who talks overtop of a map showing the journey of the characters.  This is otherwise unheard of in Doctor Who.
  • This story was supposed to appear third, but delays forced “The Edge of Destruction” into production in that slot.

Future References

  • The Doctor gets a walking stick from Kublai Khan, which gets used in a few future stories after Marco Polo.   If I’m not mistaken, it’s the same walking stick we see in this famous screenshot from “The Aztecs” a few episodes down the line.
  • This story is loosely referenced in the 11th Doctor story, “The Big Bang”.   Marco Polo is said in the Big Bang to have brought the Pandorica to the Vatican.  Given the Pandorica flew, and therefore was a “flying box”, it’s a loose reference in that Polo was fascinated with flying boxes in both stories (although it’s not known if he knew the Pandorica could fly).
  • In the Fourth Doctor story, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, the Doctor says he had not been to China in about four hundred years.
  • In the Second Doctor story, “The Power of the Daleks”, the newly regenerated Second Doctor tells Ben & Polly that Marco Polo was a friend of his, and that he had visited China in the past.

In Summary

I very much enjoyed this one.  It’s a crime that it is missing, and if the modern show ever wants to go after it’s own past, I’d love to see them remake this with Matt Smith.  They won’t, I’m sure, but it’s a great story, and I’d love to see it updated.   It is hard to take somewhat because of it’s status as a reconstruction, but if you can bring yourself to get through it, I think you’ll find a lost gem from the earliest years of Doctor Who.

 

I give it an 8 out of 10.  I would have given it a higher grade, but the fact that you can only see it as a recon is a strike against it, and had it been six episodes, it probably would have been a perfect length.  I did enjoy it at 7, but what one less episode might have removed what little “story sag” there is, for perfection.

External Links

Purchase Links

You can’t actually buy this one as such, because of it’s lost status.  You can, however, pick it up as an extra on the “Beginnings” Box set, of which you can get some links below.

It was also released on CD some years ago, both on it’s own, and then later on in a box set with several of these missing stories in it.

You can also get it as a reconstruction, see the Recons page in the links section above.

  

The Edge of Destruction Review

NOTE: This review originally appeared on Kasterborous here on May 27, 2010.

My Review (01×03)

A Doctor Who adventure that takes place in the TARDIS? The travellers unsure what is going on? No, it’s not Amy’s Choice – it’s The Edge of Destruction, from 1964…

When I was a little kid, I loved the original Star Trek (I was 1 when it started). My favorite stories were ones that showed other parts of the ship, and particularly ones treat took place completely inside the ship. Modern TV calls something like that a “bottle show”; a story that saves money. But for me as a kid, I just wanted to see other bits of the Enterprise. I loved shows like that. So when I got into Doctor Who, I scanned the back catalogue of episodes, and found a distinct lack of that kind of story. One episode in Tom Baker’s era was like this (Episode 6 of Invasion of Time), and just one full story, an old William Hartnell story. That was it. So that was a bit disappointing. But when Hartnell’s stories started airing in the US around 1986 or so, I looked forward to The Edge of Destruction for this reason – it was an “all on the ship” show, which lends to one of this story’s names, Inside the Spaceship (although I prefer the more common The Edge of Destruction).

This story was the third story overall, following directly from the wildly successful original Dalek story. It was designed to explore the characters interactions with each other. The Doctor at this point was a rather cantankerous fellow, even for the First Doctor. It starts off innocently enough with the travelers around the TARDIS console, and for some reason unknown, at the time, they’re knocked unconscious and lay on the floor of the TARDIS, which was kind of an odd start to the episode. As they start to come around, they obviously wonder what happened to them to be knocked unconscious. On top of that, they don’t seem to recognize their current situation, or all of each other. The Doctor is the worst off, with his head being cut in the fall and spending a decent percentage of time of the episode unconscious. Something that seems to happen a lot to Hartnell as his time in the role went on.

The early part of this episode seems to feature Barbara a lot in a mothering role to the other characters. I point this out, as it seemed well, I don’t know. I start to say weird, and then it isn’t, and I start to say “in character”, and it isn’t either. Not entirely sure how I feel about that.

As they come around, strange things start to happen. Susan goes to get a glass of water from some sort of food/drink machine, and is told the machine is empty when it was not. The doors of the TARDIS open and close on their own when people walk towards them. Another was the fault locator saying every single thing was wrong with the TARDIS simultaneously. All of these things are later on shown to be clues towards the final resolution of the story. One of the more notorious bits was Susan trying to attack Ian with a pair of scissors, which she freaks out over and stabs the bed a ton of times. If you watch the extras on the DVD for this story, Verity Lambert admits the scissor stab bits were something that were probably better left out. This goes on until the characters all suspect each other of sabotaging the ship, or being under alien control or just outright mutiny. Even up until the point where the Doctor threatens to put Ian & Barbara off the ship. At which point Barbara loses it, and yells at the Doctor, calling him a “stupid old man”. Other strangeness was Ian trying to strangle the Doctor. This all carries on for awhile – pretty much through most of Episode 2 as well. The crew mistrusts, threatens, and says a bunch of rude things to each other.

One of the better moments in this story is a dialogue by Hartnell towards the end of part two. Hartnell is known for his frequent muffing of his lines. Due to the production values of the time, a lot of these are left in. However, there’s a couple minute speech by the Doctor where he pulls it off well, and is one of the better moments of the Hartnell era in terms of his own acting. Shortly after said speech, the overall plot is resolved, and everything is made well again. I won’t divulge exactly what it was, but look out for some handwritten words on the TARDIS console, which were allegedly there to help Hartnell locate specific spots on the console during filming.

There’s also some strange contradictions to other established bits of Who lore in this story, however, since it’s just the third overall, and the 12th & 13th overall episodes, that can be forgiven, I suppose. Ian mentions “his heart”, implying that he has just one. I forget where exactly it was established for sure that the Doctor had two hearts – I think it was Pertwee’s first story. Susan also says “the ship can’t crash, it’s impossible”. This has been shown to be false, as it has crashed a few times over the years, most recently in Matt Smith’s debut The Eleventh Hour.

As I said earlier, this story served to galvanize the TARDIS crew as friends. They were more companions by situation up until this point. After the problems were resolved, there’s a rather nice scene or two at the end where the Doctor makes up with Barbara, and there’s some fun with throwing snowballs and whatnot, which is a direct lead-in to the next story, Marco Polo.

Story Facts

  • The Doctor: William Hartnell
  • Susan Foreman: Carole Anne Ford
  • Ian Chesterton: William Russell
  • Barbara Wright: Jacqueline Hill
  • Episode 1: “The Edge of Destruction” – Feb 8, 1964
  • Episode 2: “The Brink of Disaster” – Feb 15, 1964
  • Director: Richard Martin (Episode 1) & Frank Cox (Episode 2)
  • Script Editor: David Whitaker
  • Producer: Verity Lambert
  • Writer: David Whitaker
  • Production Code: C

Story Notes

  • The Doctor namedrops Gilbert & Sullivan as someone who gave him the coat that Ian wears at the end of the story.
  • The Tardis is supposed to have a “memory” of all previous adventures, something loosely referred to in the 11th Doctor story, “The Doctor’s Wife” when the Tardis (in human form, aka “Sexy”) says that she can archive console rooms both past and future.

Future References

  • Parts of this story have been used in other stories further down the line – way down the line in the series. The biggest one of which is that the TARDIS itself is seemingly alive – or at least can think for itself. It is eventually revealed that the ship itself was the cause of all the strange happenings to try and hint the crew as to the real reason behind all the strange happenings. This was used later on many times in the show’s future. A specific TARDIS “feature” from this story was that the power of the TARDIS is under the console, something that was used later on in Eccleston’s run a few times. One of these times was in Boom Town where the TARDIS itself manipulates time to turn Margaret into a Slitheen egg. You could also extrapolate this into perhaps the TARDIS turning back time and reviving Grace & Chang Lee from death in the Eighth Doctor movie. There’s also the time in Eccleston’s final episode where Rose looks into the TARDIS console and get the power of time and space inside her, too. The Confidential episode for that story references “The Edge of Destruction” and this concept too as inspirations for these specific plot points.
  • This story is also one of only two times that I’m aware of we see a bed in the TARDIS console room. The other time was when Pertwee was knocked unconscious at the end of Frontier in Space going into Planet of the Daleks. Oddly enough, both beds come out of walls – “oooh, so modern looking!”
 

In Summary

In all, this story is a somewhat overlooked story from what I can gather, but it was important in establishing character relationships, and somewhat unintentionally (I gather) responsible for putting forth a few show concepts that are still in use now in 2010. When I reach for an early series DVD or whatnot, this isn’t the first one chosen, but there are some great points here to see. Give The Edge of Destruction (or Inside the Spaceship, or whatever you want to call it) a shot. You might enjoy this long ago small scale bottle story as much as I did.

I give it 9 out of 10, as I’m a sucker for “all on the ship” stories like this.  It’s not perfect, so it doesn’t get 10.

External Links

Purchase Links

  • Amazon.com DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)
  • Amazon.co.uk DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)

  

 

The Daleks Review

NOTE: An abridged version of this review appears on Kasterborous here.

My Review (01×02)

The Daleks. Something almost as old as Doctor Who itself. As Doctor Who is approaching it’s 50th anniversary, so are the Daleks themselves. They’ve appeared with every incarnation of the Doctor in all these years (although the McGann one is a bit spurious). They’ve been loved, mocked, made fun of, remounted, turned into color coded kids merchandise options, they have also been known to get you tea from time to time.

Legend has it that one of the original series “bullet points” from creator Sydney Newman was that he didn’t want any bug eyed monsters, and when he saw what Verity Lambert was doing with the Daleks, he objected, until he found out how popular they were. Despite still being a valid character into 2012, and they’ll be the lead enemy in Series 33 when it starts later this year, most of their original design spec continues to this day. Which is odd, as the character has evolved somewhat. You wouldn’t think the Daleks would evolve (Dalek Sek aside), but they have – especially after a recent viewing of this story.

Now I know comparing a 50 year old programme against it’s modern counterparts isn’t exactly FAIR, but it’s impossible to go back and watch the beginning of the Daleks without comparing them to what comes today. However, it’s with all this in mind that I cast an eye back on the original Dalek serial from 1963, simply called “The Daleks”.

The first thing you notice when watching the show is the PACE of the program. The complete story comprises 7 25 minute episodes, the equivalent of roughly 3.5 modern day stories. There’s entire sequences in this whole story that span an episode and a half that on the modern show would take up 10 minutes. Pacing and story telling is wildly different, and this also extends to the Daleks themselves. I would think if they made this serial today, they’d probably do it as a two parter.

The story starts off slowly with the Tardis crew still inside the Tardis, where we get some more explanation of the Tardis itself. We see a food synthesizer, which dispenses food in the “futuristic idea” from the 60’s of food being in capsules and tasting like what we want it to. The Doctor explains food as being like component parts and colors, yyou mix them together to achieve the desired result – in this case J62L6 (Bacon & Eggs). Susan also says that the computer on the ship can direct them wherever they want if they’re fed the right kind of information, but does not elaborate on what it is. Some of this setup is forgiveable, as Unearthly Child spends about 80% of it’s time outside the Tardis, so some of what it is and can do needed to be dealt with. So once they’ve done some of this exposition, they wander out and view the suurounding area, which is the petrified forest (hence the name of the first episode, “The Dead Planet”).

An early example of the Doctor’s attitude pops up quickly, where he lies to the crew to get a view of the Dalek city below that they spotted earlier. Hartnell’s Doctor early on was portrayed as a bit of a frump, and this was a good example. “Fine – you don’t want to go? Well, we’ll go anyway, I’ll just make you think it’s the only way to go”. He eventually confesses to the “crime” in a latter episode, and there wasn’t much repercussion to that, oddly enough. But the acharacter of the Doctor is in full display here, from the cranky old guy, to the caring soul that permeates all the incarnations, to the alien who wonders why people don’t want to do things his way. It’s actually well handled by Hartnell.

The first episode closes on what was at the time an epic cliffhanger. Not so much now, because we all know what the Daleks look like, but back then, Episode 1 ended with Barbara being menaced by a Dalek, but all we could see on screen was the plunger. That probably works well if you’ve never seen a Dalek before, but in 2012, I find it unlikely someone has never seen a Dalek before, much less watched THIS episode first over any other. The resolution of the cliffhanger actually prolonged the drama a bit further, since you didn’t find out what was behind the plunger until about five minutes into the episode.

I’m guessing part of what makes the original impact of Episode 2 was that we had never seen a Dalek before (at that time). As I started watching Doctor Who in 1983, I’m well versed in Daleks now, and the impact of that is lost on me. It doesn’t seem like such a dramatic entrance to me, but I’m looking at an almost 50 year old show with an enemy I had seen multiple times before I saw this episode. Still, it does show the Daleks as being calculating, as they stun Ian’s legs where he can’t walk – as opposed to just zapping him into non existance. I guess in retrospect, that probably made it quite dramatically entertaining, as you don’t know what these things were, and what they were capable of. Their look certainly fit the monochrome aspect of the show at the time. Given the show was in black & white, I always felt their look was set well for that enviornment. The set design was quite good, so it all fit together nicely to the combined themes of nuclear devasation and the “metallic” feel of the Daleks. Always enjoyed that part of the story. Some of that set design has made it forward into the modern series, as well. Some of the curved hallways have appeared in other Dalek serials – I really enjoyed seing the Dalek spaceships of Eccleston’s era have the same hallway shape taken from this 1963 serial.

In another pacing issue, the majority of Episode 2 was taken up with deciding who was going to go back to the Tardis to try and get the anti-radiation drugs that the Thals left behind for them (although we didn’t know that at the time). Susan eventually goes and gets back to the Tardis, finds the box of drugs, and the cliffhanger isn’t as good as the first, it ends with Susan looking into the jungle as a storm rages. In fact, the bulk of Episode 2 (and a decent amount of 3 as well) take place in just a couple of places. The cell where the Tardis crew are, the Dalek control room, and the jungle area. We meet the Thals pretty quickly in Episode 3, and we find out they’re not the “mutants” that the Daleks made them sounds like they were. They were normal looking humanoids. The Tardis crew eventually recover and escape from the Daleks by hijacking a Dalek and “emptying it”. In this era of the show, the Daleks were powered by electricity on the floor, much like bumper cars (or dodge em cars). They stopped a Dalek cold by pushing it onto a cloak lying on the floor. Ian got into the Dalek, and lead them to safety, although not before a short adventure in an elevator shaft. It’s around this time we get a shot of the Dalek creature inside the shell. It wasn’t until the modern series that we got a good and CLEAR view of that. We did get the odd peek here and there in the classic series, but this shot also influenced future design.

Episode 4 is the remainder of the Tardis crew escape, and they try and save the Thals from an ambush that the Daleks tricked Susan into. The Tardis crew extricate themselves from the Dalek city, and the crew meets up with the Thals again, and we get some exposition on the history of the Daleks and the Thals. In fact, the story could have quite easily ended here. The last parts of Episode 4 show the Tardis crew actually agreeing to leave (The Doctor even says that “we cannot jeopardize our lives and get involved in an affair that is none of our business”), but then we find out that the Daleks took the fluid link from Ian and it’s down in the city, so we have a second adventure to take to regain it, and that comprises Episodes 5-7. It’s almost, but not quite, like two stories meshed together, and the end of Episode 4 is the link between the two of them.

However, Episodes 5-7 felt a lot like padding to me. First we got most of an episode with Ian trying to convince the Thals to help them. Then the actual trek to the Dalek City through an ungarded (by Daleks) area of a swamp took the majority of Episode 6 to reach there, and for some of the expedition not even until Episode 7. It was REALLY a slow paced part of the story, and not my favorite. The Daleks at this point were mostly focused on how to spread more radiation in order for them to survive. The two bits were totally separate, the Daleks didn’t interact with anyone else until most of the way through Episode 6.

Funny moment in Episode 5, one that NEVER filled me with anything but laughter, but I expect it was never intended that way. It’s when the Daleks tried using the Thals medicine to heal themselves from radiation (it didn’t work). The resultant Dalek going “Help! Out of Control – AAAaaaaaaaa” (shown through the eyestalk) sounds like a bad drug trip and was seriously funny. This was the 60’s after all, so that perception might not be too far off, but it does speak to how different Daleks are portrayed at this point in the show’s history.

The final episode starts with the Doctor & Susan captured. The other party eventually makes it in, and the Dalek plan to spread radiation is averted at the last second. The odd thing about the big finale, is the Daleks were overpowered and destroyed rather easily – Some of them immobilized by what appears to be nothing more than just a fist punch to the dome.

The story ends with some nice dialogue between the characters, who seem to like each other. A nice short speech by Hartnell as well about the Doctor’s place and truth being in the stars was a highlight of the last scenes.

 

Story Facts

  • The Doctor: William Hartnell
  • Susan Foreman: Carole Anne Ford
  • Ian Chesterton: William Russell
  • Barbara Wright: Jacqueline Hill
  • Episode 1: “The Dead Planet” – Dec 21, 1963
  • Episode 2: “The Survivors” – Dec 28, 1963
  • Episode 3: “The Escape” – Jan 4, 1964
  • Episode 4: “The Ambush” – Jan 11, 1964
  • Episode 5: “The Expedition” – Jan 18, 1964
  • Episode 6: “The Ordeal” – Jan 25, 1964
  • Episode 7: “The Rescue” – Feb 1, 1964
  • Director: Christopher Barry (Episodes 1,2,4,5)
  • Director: Richard Martin (Episodes 3,6,7)
  • Script Editor: David Whitaker
  • Producer: Verity Lambert
  • Writer: Terry Nation
  • Production Code: B

Random Story Remarks

  • Episode 7 at the end has some Daleks being pushed around, or just generally being abused which I always found hilarious.  This practice continued into the modern era.  Some notables along these lines are Pertwee mocking the Dalek being attacked by an eyestalk in “Death to the Daleks”, and one being beat with sticks and exploding in the same story.  Davison’s doctor pushed one out of a second or third story window, and it plummeted.  McCoy’s doctor talked a Dalek to death once, but my favorite scene like this was in Tennant’s “Journey’s End” story where Daleks were being pushed around by numerous companions while spinning in circles.  One of my favorite Dalek abuses was pushing one off the Mary Celeste in the Hartnell story “The Chase” ,even if it showed the Dalek shell was empty inside.  heh.  :)
  • This story has some better incidental music/sounds than a lot of shows of this era. 60’s British SCi-Fi has an odd quality to it, but this one feels more realistic than some of the others from the era.  In particular the sounds from Episode 4 when the Thals get ambushed I enjoyed a lot.
  • There’s also some decent split screen effects showing a Dalek trying to shoot Ian and missing.  The extermination effect of this era was just inverting the video, but they split the inverted video on just half the screen, I thought it worked well for 1963 sfx.
  • The overall “feel” of this story is smaller in scale.  The Dalek plots are usually a large drawn out plan or something, but all they wanted to do here was escape their city.
  • Got a kick out of the Daleks saying “What is this word – Su-SAN”?  Susan laughed at that, and the Dalek instantly said “STOP THAT NOISE!”  Made me chuckle.  Probably my favorite “funny” moment.

Story Notes

  • The first appearance of the Daleks ever.
  • The only story where they needed power coming from the floor.  They still needed external power, but how said power was delivered was changed in future stories.
  • The story was known collectively at the time as “The Mutants”.  However, when a story with that title was actually produced during Jon Pertwee’s era, this story needed a different name.  For awhile it was called “The Dead Planet”, due to the pattern of naming a story after its’ first episode, but the more accurate “The Daleks” came into use around 1980 or so.
  • This was the basis of the first of the two Dalek movies of the 60’s with Peter Cushing as “Doctor Who”.  That film came out in 1965, and was called “Dr. Who & The Daleks”.  It largely followed the plot of this story, although it was much better paced, given it was a 90 minute movie.
  • Episode 2 was recorded on November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was killed, and the day before the show actually premiered originally.
  • Episode 1 was filmed twice, much like Episode 1 of Unearthly Child.  The original Episode 1 of The Daleks unlike it’s predecessor was pretty much the same story.  Allegedly the recording picked up a bunch of external noise, and had to be reshot.  The only existing footage from the original Episode 1 is in the recap at the beginning of Episode 2.
  • This was the first story to ever be adapted for a novel.
  • This story is a little hard to tie into the overall sequence of stories of the Daleks over time.  At this time, the Daleks weren’t a legendary character, it was supposed to be a oneoff, so they “killed them off” at the end of the story. I always found it interesting that the Doctor’s first meeting with the Daleks was supposed to be the Daleks’ last appearance in their own overall timeline.  An attempt was made some years later by Terry Nation to tie all the Dalek plotlines together into one cohesive story that made sense.
  • This story originated that “buh-bum” background noise you always got in a Dalek ship – it has survived into the most recent Dalek stories, as well.  It always felt “right” to hear that.  Reminded me a lot of the general background noise on the bridge of the Enterprise in the old Star Trek series.
  • The original designer of this story was Ridley Scott, who went on to much fame as a movie director.  His original work for the Dalek design can be seen as an extra on the DVD for this story.   His replacement was Ray Cusick.

Future References

  • The fluid link which is a main story point in this story is also referenced again in the Hartnell story, “The Web Planet”, the Troughton stories, “The Wheel in Space” & “The Mind Robber”, as well as some non canonical novels.
  • The events of this story are directly referenced in the Jon Pertwee story “Planet of the Daleks”.  The Doctor meets the Thals on the planet Spiridon, and they initially refused to believe he was the same person.  In the explanation to the Thals then, the Doctor also namechecks Ian, Susan, & Barbara.

  • The hallway design from this story was lifted and used as part of the Dalek ship design in the Christopher Eccleston story, “Bad Wolf”.


In Summary

This story shows the Daleks to be a much more primitive character than the Daleks we know now.  Daleks of this era are far more simplistic – even being apparently befuddled at one point by a small piece of metal that was keeping a door from closing.  Even extermination is barely mentioned in this story.  It’s not until Episode 4 that we get an extermination “order”, and one person actually killed by the Daleks.  This is all due to pacing, and the storytelling of the era. It was 50 years ago.  It’s hard to compare current Daleks to Daleks of this era, but it’s important to recognize where they came from.  This story, while much different in it’s pacing sets the groundwork for many Dalek stories to come – including the Daleks of the modern era.  So while the pace might be an issue for some people (the story could have moved much faster than 7 episodes), there is a lot worth seeing here, so give it a view if you’ve never done so.

Overall, I give the story an 8 out of 10.  It only loses the two points on pacing.  I was so put off by the slow pacing of the story, that huge sections (including all of Episode 6) are skippable, so it came down for that reason alone.

External Links

Purchase Links

  • Amazon.com DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)
  • Amazon.co.uk DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)

  

An Unearthly Child Review

My Review (01×01)

And here we go.  The first in about 200+ Doctor Who reviews.  I’ve loved the show for a long time, and the 50th anniversary is coming up in about 19 months from the writing of this text, so I thought I’d have a go at writing something about all the stories.  I don’t expect to write like 1,000 words+ for each story, that’d take bloody forever.  But I will say something about them all.   Some remembrances of the past, and one of my favorites, the references to the old series from the modern Doctor Who (and backwards once I get there).   I do also intend on actually WATCHING the story before I write about it, so it’s not a collection of “Am I remembering this right?” thoughts.  I do not plan on recopying the story’s plot here.  There are numerous websites that you can go to read the story’s plot – in fact, I’m linking to them in each review.  When I’m done with the series, I might turn it into some sort of eBook or something.  Will have to see if I make it that far.  Heh.   I have no set schedule for these, I’ll post a new one when I have the time and the inkling to do one, but I plan on finishing by Nov 23, 2013.  Anyway…

General Thoughts

The first story of Doctor Who went out on November 23, 1963 on the BBC, and was the first in a seriously long lived Sci-Fi show.  The basic concept was gold, and has allowed it to remain strong 48 years later.  A mysterious man and his granddaughter are in London, and attract the attention of two school teachers, and they set off on a series of adventures, that in the beginning had a quite caustic relationship between the Time Lord and the humans.

This story has always been considered essential viewing for me.  Or at least Episode 1.  Every November 23rd for the last 10 years or so, I’ll rewatch the story again.  Kind of my own anniversary “thing”.  Kind of geeky, I admit, but hey.  There’s worse things to be stuck on in life.

Story Facts

  • The Doctor: William Hartnell
  • Susan Foreman: Carole Ann Ford
  • Ian Chesterton: William Russell
  • Barbara Wright: Jacqueline Hill
  • Episode 1: “An Unearthly Child” – Nov 23, 1963
  • Episode 2: “The Cave of Skulls” – Nov 30, 1963
  • Episode 3: “The Forest of Fear” – Dec 7, 1963
  • Episode 4: “The Firemaker” – Dec 14, 1963
  • Director: Waris Hussein, Douglas Camfield (uncredited)
  • Script Editor: David Whitaker
  • Producer: Verity Lambert
  • Writer(s): Anthony Coburn, CE Webber (Ep 1, uncredited)
  • Production Code: A

Story Notes

  • This was the first thing ever aired on the BBC after coverage of President Kennedy’s assassination, which had happened the day before.
  • Likewise, due to the massive Kennedy coverage, this episode was repeated so people could have another shot at seeing it.
  • This story was repeated as part of the “Five Faces of Doctor Who” series of repeats in 1982, right before Peter Davison’s stories started airing.
  • There were a few versions of this story.  The known aired one, and the original “pilot” version.  The pilot was the actual attempt to film it, but due to several mistakes, and a desire to change the tone of Hartnell’s performance, it was reshot, and the reshoot is the public version.  This pilot has been released a few times over the years.  First on VHS in 1991, then again on VHS in 2000.  Was finally on DVD in 2006 as part of the DVD release of Unearthly Child.
  • Derek Newark (Za) later played Greg Sutton in the serial Inferno.  Alethea Charlton (Hur) later played Edith in the serial The Time Meddler. Eileen Way (Old Mother) later played Karela in the serial The Creature from the Pit, and appeared in the film Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 AD.  Jeremy Young (Kal) later played Gordon Lowery in Mission to the Unknown.  Finally Jacqueline Hill returned in 1980 and played Lexa in Meglos.
  • There is a reference to the Tardis not changing it’s shape here – the implication is that thsi was the first time it didn’t change.  Granted, that’s from watching the show later on, and having 40+ years of history behind it.  The fact that the Tardis didn’t change shape here is referenced during many stories in the show’s future, and Attack of the Cyberman actually saw the Doctor fix this for a time, although the things the Tardis turned into were quite “not properly chosen”. :)

Future References

Given this was the first overall story, it was referenced several times, most strongly in 1988 for the 25th anniversary.

The series overall is referenced in Episode 2 of the story “Remembrance of the Daleks” from 1988.  In that story, Ace has a television on, and runs out of the building she was in.  As she is leaving, the TV narrator is heard to say “This is BBC Television.  The time is a quarter past five, and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new Science Fiction series, Doc…”    It’s probably the ultimate meta reference the show has ever had.

The school that Ian & Barbara from this story (Coal Hill School) also appeared again in “Remembrance of the Daleks”.   Also, in the first episode, Ian lends Susan a book on the French Revolution.  That book (albeit looking differently) is still in the lab when Ace and the Seventh Doctor show up there some years later.

 

This particular series was referenced a few times in the future.  In specific the Foreman scrapyard was shown again in the 1985 serial, “Attack of the Cybermen”, and again in 1988 in the aforementioned “Remembrance of the Daleks”.    As an extra bonus, when the sixth Doctor sees the “IM Foreman” sign, he calls Peri “Susan”.  When the Foreman scrapyard was shown in 1988, the name was misspelled as “IM Forman”.

 

 

My thoughts on Story

As I said above, Episode 1 is truly essential viewing.  It contains many of the basic show elements that would still continue on into 2012.  It has an atmosphere that was immediately lost in Episode 2, and the odd “feel” of Episode 1 was never really recaptured again.   Episode 10 of “The War Games” sort of has that feel, but not nearly as well executed.    Once they get into Episode 2, and we spend all of our times in the 100,000 BC part of the story, it’s not nearly as good to me.  It’s not like Episodes 2-4 are awful, they’re OK.  But given how outstanding Episode 1 was, the other three are a letdown.  For the longest time, I would watch the first episode, and then stop.  It was such a change, such a difference that it turned me off.  Later on, I realized that was part of the point – that we were supposed to be shocked at how different the “Tribe of Gum” stuff was.   Over time I softened on that stance, but still feel Episodes 2-4 aren’t nearly as good.

The Doctor’s general attitude towards his companions was one I liked.   This attitude of the Doctor towards his human companions changes a lot during this story, and the next two (The Daleks & The Edge of Destruction), and to some extent story 4 as well (Marco Polo).  By the time we get to the fifth story (Keys of Marinus), he seems to actively like his companions.  I felt the show tried to recapture this a bit with the caustic relationship between Doctor #6 & Peri, but that kind of attitude didn’t fly in 1985 as much.

Much of Episodes 2-4 is the Tardis crew trying to figure out how to get back to the Tardis.   A lot of the dialogue is stuff like “Za is leader!”.  It’s really banal dialogue, which fits the setting, but I could never get into it.  The Tardis crew spend a few episodes trying to trick the primitives, as well as show them how to make fire.  Not heady Sci-Fi adventure stuff, there.   I read somewhere that the entire budget for a single episode was about $4200 or so (depending on what currency conversion was in 1963).  Some of that shows on screen.  In specific, at the end of Episode 4, when the crew is being chased back to the Tardis by the primitives, the chase through the jungle was just the actors standing there with others brushing leaves and whatnot by their faces to make it seem like they were in the middle of the jungle.  The effect is odd, knowing that fact.  I wonder if I would have felt different about it, not knowing that.  Still, the overall effect comes off well, I just don’t like the plot/story for Episodes 2-4 terribly much.

Overall, I give the story a 7 out of 10.   Episode 1 is a 10 out of 10 (might be a “But this goes to 11”).  However, 2-4 are about a 5 or so, so I averaged it out to 7.

External Links

Purchase Links

  • Amazon.com DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)
  • Amazon.co.uk DVD (as part of the “The Beginnings Box Set”)

  


Choosing an Antenna

I had to cut cable TV earlier this year due to money issues, and from about May till September I was operating with good old rabbit ears in the house. When they worked, it worked great. But I was getting fed up of the constant moving of the rabbit ears, or the twiddling of the dial to get this channel or the other. There was some sort of interference inside my house preventing them from working well enough. Once in a blue moon, I’d get lucky, find a sweet spot and get everything, but it didn’t last long. I was unwilling to go on the roof for an antenna, so I was thinking about the attic.

I’ve been around TV for a long time, and my “head” tells me that to get better reception, you need to get a bigger antenna. I figured with a large tree in my neighbor’s house, as well as it being an attic, I was looking at something large up there. Specifically this (Antennas Direct DB8 Multidirectional HDTV Antenna). I was looking at getting the DB8, when a friend of mine who was going to help me by mounting it in the attic suggested I might get by with something smaller. He recommended the antenna I’m writing about now. I was initially skeptical (again, the bigger is better) attitude. But I read through a ton of reviews, and there were a lot of happy people. At the time I bought it, there were 220 reviews on Amazon with an average star rating of 4.5 out of 5. That’s actually a higher review than the DB8 I was looking at. So I started reading, and was thinking perhaps I’d go with this.

Then while we were thinking about how to run cable, I remembered when my wife and I got the house 9.5 years ago (as of Sep 2011, when I’m writing) it was wired for Cable TV. I dropped the Cable TV, but the wires were all still there. Which meant that there was a cable run there already. So I decided to run a test. I took the same stupid $6 rabbit ears I was at the time using (RCA ANT111R Basic Indoor Antenna), and took ’em into the attic. I found the cable that went to the jack by my TV, and plugged the rabbit ears into it. Rescanned, and wow. Not only was my interference gone, it was picking up a lot more channels than I knew about. The most I got with the rabbit ears inside the house was about 35-40. It was more here. So I figured with the rabbit ears doing that much better, perhaps I didn’t need the overkill DB8, and opted for this antenna, the RCA ANT751R.

Did my research beforehand. Hit up antennaweb as well as tvfool for compass directions. Personally I think tvfool has way better antenna resources than antennaweb, but that’s a side story (look at this report from tvfool showing the location and range of everything from my area). I got it installed in the attic (you can see a picture of my installation at the bottom of this article). The mounting was fairly painless, although I will say what others have said. It’s quite a value that the antenna comes with the mounting brackets and the pole in the box. Not all antennas do. The one thing that was missing was the wood screws needed to actually bolt the bracket to whatever you’re attaching it to. The instruction manual even says to use a couple of wood screws (not included). Given they gave you the more expensive pole in the box gratis, you’d think they’d throw in a few wood screws, but that’s a minor quibble.

Once I got it up there and hooked up, I reran a scan on the TiVo. I was bloody well amazed at what it found! The total number of channels it found was 79. Granted, several of those are inactive, or are otherwise things I don’t care about. There were also a couple of channels it found which were on neither antennaweb’s or tvfool’s reports. Since I live right outside of Dallas, the majority of these kinds of channels are spanish speaking something or other. Given that’s not my language, they’re of little interest to me. What WAS of interest to me are the major networks (PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, & one local “old UHF” channel that broadcasts Texas Rangers games).

All of these channels are quite strong. Even with the large tree outside and being in an attic, the average signal strength of these channels (according to the signal strength meter on the TiVo) is around 80-85 or so. PBS is a bit low (mid 60’s), but the same friend who lives about 3 miles away from me says that PBS is his weakest signal too, but it’s not an issue unless there’s some epic storms out, but we’re probably not watching much TV at that time anyway. At least one or two of the channels that are of lesser concern to me are quite strong – I had a couple of them as high as 98 on the meter :) Oh, before I forget, in the Dallas area, the majority of the antennas (especially the major networks) are in the same general area, as it’s the highest point in the general D/FW metroplex. According to tvfool, I’m anywhere from 28.2 to 30.7 miles from the transmitters (except for a few rogue close ones that are about 8 or 14 miles), and they all are 80-85 or so in an attic mounted, non powered antenna.

There is no signal booster on here. It’s just the antenna that was in the box hooked up through a cable run that used to be used for Cable TV into my TiVo box, and then on into my HDTV, which is this, BTW. The quality is astounding. The signals are rock solid, and I have to say, I’m quite happy with my purchase of this antenna.

While the old rabbit ears worked “OK” enough (especially for $6), it wasn’t quite a universal solution. I’d have to fiddle with the antenna depending on what I wanted to record. Given I TiVo everything, having to worry about where the antenna was pointed meant I was back to the pre-TiVo days of caring what the broadcaster’s schedules were. Didn’t like that, so I looked into what became this choice of antenna. I’m quite happy with it. I suppose the only negative I could say is that the antenna is sold as an outdoor antenna. When I was putting it together, I felt like it wouldn’t hold up to extreme winds, and things of that nature outside. It works great, but if left outside to the elements, I’m not sure how well it would hold up. But as an attic antenna, it won’t have to deal with any of that, so it should last a good long time up there.

I was initially concerned that this being a “cheaper” antenna wouldn’t function well enough as one that was into the $100 range or so. I was wrong. This works really quite well for me.

The antenna mounted in my attic

Streaming Doctor Who Online

Those who know me know I’m a big Doctor Who dork.   Earlier this year, I did this video, which is a complete comprehensive tribute to the series (with clips of every single story from 1963 to 2010).   Earlier today I had a friend ask me on Facebook about where he should start with watching the classic series.   He’d finally finished watching all the modern series stuff, and was curious about the past.  Got to talking, and he was thinking of checking out some of the stuff streaming online.  I pointed out that while the modern Doctor Who is 100% covered online in terms of story streaming (save for the odd special bit like Time Crash), but the classic series is not.   So I decided to look into the status of every classic Doctor Who story, and whether you can get it from Netflix, it’s streaming, etc…

Also, I’m in the United States, and DVD and Streaming situations are highly restricted by regions of the world, so this article should be considered to be for US viewers only.   It probably likely doesn’t apply to folks outside of the US.  Streaming also usually is just the episodes, rarely any of the DVD extras.   Also, Youtube has many episodes available, but they’re not er, “legal/authorized”, so  I won’t address that unless it’s a legal viewing release (there’s a few available that way).

Also, there’s other places you can buy Doctor Who episodes online.  Places such as iTunes, Xbox LIVE, Playstation Network, etc..  You can also rent in some places.  But I’m talking about ala carte streaming such as Netflix.  I’m not covering all the places you can digitally purchase Doctor Who.  Just stream it.

Also, there’s also other lesser thought of ideas like your local library.  Where I live, the library system has every Doctor Who DVD available to borrow.  Granted, it’s a library, so the discs won’t be in pristine condition, but it is available.  Something else to think about.   But basically, if it’s available on DVD, you can get it from Netflix’s DVD delivery or from Blockbuster’s DVD delivery services:

So with all that out of the way, here’s the list:

Doctor 1: William Hartnell

Series 1 (1963-1964)

An Unearthly Child (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes (as part of the “The Beginning” Box) [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available

The Daleks (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes (as part of the “The Beginning” Box) [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available

The Edge of Destruction (2 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes (as part of the “The Beginning” Box) [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available

Marco Polo (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Sort of.  All 7 episodes are missing; however there’s a condensed reconstruction on the “The Beginning” Box set.  [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available

The Keys of Marinus (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes.  [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available

The Aztecs (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes.  [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from Netflix & Amazon Prime Videos

The Sensorites (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Sort of.  This is one of the stories available at the BBC’s Doctor Who Youtube channel.  It used to be available for streaming in the US, but as of the writing of this document, it’s blocked in the US.

The Reign of Terror (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.  However, production is currently underway to release this on DVD in 2012 with animation for the two missing episodes.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 2 (1964-1965)

Planet of Giants (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Dalek Invasion of Earth (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Rescue (2 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Romans (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Web Planet (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Crusade (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  This is an incomplete story.  Episodes 1 & 3 exist, 2 & 4 do not.  The existing episodes plus audio of the missing ones are available on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Space Museum (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Chase (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Time Meddler (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 3 (1965-1966)

Galaxy 4 (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  All four episodes are missing, however, there’s a 5 minute segment plus some clips that are available on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Mission to the Unknown (1 Episode)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  This episode is lost.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Myth Makers (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  All four episodes are lost.  However, a few short clips appear on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Daleks’ Master Plan (12 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of. Only Episodes 2, 5, & 10 exist, the rest are lost.  The three existing episodes, and a handful of clips from other episodes appear on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Massacre of St Bartholomew’s Eve (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  All four episodes are lost.  This is also the only story where not a scrap of footage exists to this day.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Ark (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Celestial Toymaker (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episodes 1-3 are lost. However, Episode 4 is included in the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Gunfighters (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Savages (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No. All four episodes are lost. However, a couple of clips are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The War Machines (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 4 (1966-1967)

The Savages (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No. All four episodes are lost. However, a couple of clips are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Tenth Planet (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  Episodes 1-3 do exist, but have not been released on DVD.  However, a couple of clips from Episode 4 are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ].  Additionally, the three existing episodes with a reconstruction were released on VHS some time ago.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Doctor 2: Patrick Troughton

The Power of the Daleks (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No. All six episodes are lost. However, a couple of clips are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Highlanders (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No. All four episodes are lost. However, a couple of clips are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Underwater Menace (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of. Episodes 1, 2, & 4 are lost. However, Episode 3 is included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Moonbase (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of. Episodes 1 & 3 are missing. However, Episodes 2 & 4 (plus audio for 1 & 3) are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Macra Terror (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No. All four episodes are lost. However, a couple of clips are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Faceless Ones (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of. Episodes 1 & 3 exist, the rest are missing. However, Episodes 1 & 3 are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Evil of the Daleks (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episode 2 exists, the rest are missing. However, Episode 2 (and some other footage from Ep 7) is included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 5 (1967-1968)

The Tomb of the Cybermen (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Amazon Prime Instant Video Streaming.  It is not available on Netflix.

The Abominable Snowmen (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of. Episodes 1 & 3-6 are missing. However, Episode 2 (plus some other clips) are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Ice Warriors (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  Episodes 2 & 3 are missing.  The remaining episodes were released on VHS some years ago with some talking head dialogue for the missing episodes.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Enemy of the World (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episode 3 exists, none of the others do. However, Episode 3 is included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Web of Fear (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episode 1 exists, none of the others do. However, Episode 1 is included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Fury From the Deep (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.  All episodes are lost, however, some clips and behind the scenes footage are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Wheel in Space (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episodes 3 & 6 exist, the rest are lost.  Episodes 3 & 6 are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 6 (1968-1969)

The Dominators (5 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ].  However, this one is not available as a disc from Netflix; it is from Blockbuster, though. Not sure why.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Mind Robber (5 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Video Streaming.

The Invasion (8 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ] – It should be noted though that episodes 1 & 4 are missing.  They are on here via cel drawn animation; it was the first attempt to completely replace a missing episode with animation on DVD.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Krotons (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Sort of.  For some odd reason, Episode 2 only is available on the legal BBC Youtube Dr Who channel.  All four used to be there, not sure why there’s only Episode 2 there now.

The Seeds of Death (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Space Pirates (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Sort of.  Episode 2 exists, the rest are lost.  Episodes 2 (and some other clips) are included on the “Lost in Time” box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The War Games (10 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Doctor 3: Jon Pertwee

Series 7 (1970)

Spearhead from Space (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Instant Videos

Doctor Who & The Silurians (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Ambassadors of Death (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No, although work is underway for a release (unknown date as of yet).
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Inferno (7 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 8 (1971)

Terror of the Autons (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Mind of Evil (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Claws of Axos (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Colony in Space (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No, but it’s due out in November 2011. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Daemons (5 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 9 (1972)

Day of the Daleks (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No, but it’s due out in September 2011. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Curse of Peladon (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Sea Devils (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Mutants (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Time Monster (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 10 (1972-1973)

The Three Doctors (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Carnival of Monsters (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]  It appears to be out of print, though.
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Frontier in Space (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Planet of the Daleks (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Green Death (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Series 11 (1973-1974)

The Time Warrior (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Death to the Daleks (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Monster of Peladadon (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Planet of the Spiders (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Sort of.  Not available from Netflix or Amazon, but all six episodes are available from the BBC Youtube Doctor Who channel.  Except they’re not available in the US.

Doctor 4: Tom Baker

Series 12 (1974-1975)

Robot (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Ark in Space (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Sontaran Experiment (2 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Genesis of the Daleks (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Revenge of the Cybermen (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 13 (1975-1976)

Terror of the Zygons (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Planet of Evil (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Pyramids of Mars (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Android Invasion (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD:  No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Brain of Morbius (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Seeds of Doom (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 14 (1976-1977)

The Masque of Mandragora (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Sort of.  It’s not on Netflix or Amazon, but it is listed on the BBC Doctor Who Youtube Channel.  Can’t view it in the US, however.

The Hand of Fear (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: No.

The Deadly Assassin (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: No.

The Face of Evil (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: No.

The Robots of Death (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – Appears to be out of print, though.
  • Streaming Status: Available from Amazon Prime Streaming videos.  Not Netflix, though.

The Talons of Weng-Chiang (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – The original DVD release is out of print, a new one is coming out in October 2011.
  • Streaming Status: Available from Amazon Prime Streaming videos.  Not Netflix, though.

Series 15 (1977-1978)

Horror of Fang Rock (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Invisible Enemy (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Image of the Fendahl (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Sun Makers (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – Not available from Netflix, but is from Blockbuster
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Underworld (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Invasion of Time (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 16 (1978-1979)

This season was collectively known as “The Key to Time”, but each story had it’s own individual title and plot.  This was the first season to be released all at once in a Season box set.  It was originally released on DVD in the US in 2002.  It was later re-released as a “Special Edition” box set in 2009.  Both boxes can still be purchased if you want, although the 2002 version is out of print.   Each story is available for individual purchase as well.

The Ribos Operation (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Pirate Planet (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Stones of Blood (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Androids of Tara (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on Netflix only.

The Power of Kroll (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

The Armageddon Factor (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available Amazon Prime Streaming Videos only.

Series 17 (1979-1980)

Destiny of the Daleks (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

City of Death (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Creature from the Pit (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Nightmare of Eden (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Horns of Nimon (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Shada (6 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No, although it was released on VHS some years ago with narration from Tom Baker.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 18 (1980-1981)

The Leisure Hive (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Meglos (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – It is not available from Netflix, but is from Blockbuster.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Full Circle (4 Episodes)

State of Decay (4 Episodes)

Warrior’s Gate (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “E-Space Trilogy” box. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Keeper of Traken (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “New Beginnings” box, or individually. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Logopolis (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “New Beginnings” box, or individually. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Doctor 5: Peter Davison

Series 19 (1982)

Castrovalva (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “New Beginnings” box, or individually. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Four to Doomsday (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Kinda (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Visitation (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Black Orchid (2 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Earthshock (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available on Amazon Prime Streaming Videos only.

Time-Flight (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 20 (1983)

Arc of Infinity (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Snakedance (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Mawdryn Undead (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “Black Guardian” Box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Terminus (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “Black Guardian” Box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Enlightenment (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, as part of the “Black Guardian” Box set. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The King’s Demons (2 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Five Doctors (1×90 Episode)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 21 (1984)

Warriors of the Deep (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Awakening (2 Episodes)

Frontios (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – Not available from Netflix on DVD, though.  It is from Blockbuster.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Resurrection of the Daleks (2×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – It is out of print, though.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Planet of Fire (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Caves of Androzani (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from both Netflix & Amazon Prime Streaming Videos.

Doctor 6: Colin Baker

The Twin Dilemma (4 Episodes)

Series 22 (1985)

Attack of the Cybermen (2×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Vengeance on Varos (2×45 Episodes)

The Mark of the Rani (2×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Two Doctors (3×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Timelash (2×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Revelation of the Daleks (2×45 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 23 (1986)

This series is collectively known as “The Trial of a Time Lord”, and officially is one big story with 14 episodes.   However, for practical production purposes, it was produced with four separate titles.   The titles are not sold individually on DVD; they are only available in the season box set, which can be purchased below.

The Trial of a Time-Lord (14 Episodes)

The Mysterious Planet
Mindwarp
Terror of the Vervoids
The Ultimate Foe

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Doctor 7: Sylvester McCoy

Series 24 (1987)

Time and the Rani (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – Not available from Netflix on DVD, though.  It is from Blockbuster.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Paradise Towers (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ] – Not available from Netflix on DVD, though.  It is from Blockbuster.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Delta and the Bannermen (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Dragonfire (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 25 (1988)

Remembrance of the Daleks (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes, “Special Edition”. [ Purchase ] – This was originally released on DVD in 2002, you can still buy that one here if you want.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Happiness Patrol (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Silver Nemesis (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: No.
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Series 26 (1989)

Battlefield (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Ghost Light (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from Amazon Prime Streaming Videos only.

The Curse of Fenric (4 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Available from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Videos

Survival (3 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available.

Doctor 8: Paul McGann

Paul McGann only recorded one televised story, although he’s done a tone of audios as The Doctor.  The lone story was a TV movie made in 1996 called (officially, anyway) just “Doctor Who”.  The DVD of it calls the thing “Doctor Who: The Movie”. It aired on FOX in the US as well as the BBC, and was an attempt to revive the show in the United States.  Didn’t work, but McGann was excellent.  Shame we never got to see more of him on TV.  Maybe someday as a cameo.

TV Movie (1×90 Episodes)

  • Available on DVD: Yes. [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not Available.

Doctor 9: Christopher Eccleston

The show came back in 2005 with a new Doctor, and a new everything.  The show had a real budget, was done properly, was a glorious return to form.

Virtually everything of the modern series is available on streaming, but pretty much just the episodes.  Any of the “extras” from the DVD’s are mostly not streamed.  Some of the most recent series have special extras just for streaming – that will be noted below.

Also, officially when the show came back, it was labeled as “Series 1”, not “Series 27”, since according to the BBC, it was “officially” a new program.

On DVD, the episodes were released in the United States as season box sets.  They were not released individually like they have been with the classic series.   Chris Eccleston’s season was also released in smaller “vanilla” packages of like 2-3 episodes on DVD and some other oddball formats, but subsequent seasons were not.   Subsequent seasons (save for the 2011 season) were released in the UK in “vanilla 3 packs”, where the series would be broken up into smaller DVD releases with just three episodes on them, so people could buy it faster, as opposed to waiting out the year to buy the full box set.  Those vanilla releases did not come out in the US.

All episodes from this point forwards are at least 45 minutes long.   The Christmas Special episodes are a full hour, and the odd episode here and there ran long due to story (anywhere from 50 to 75 minutes) The classic series episode lengths were about 25 minutes each, except for Series 22 when it was 45 each, and a couple of oddball scheduling stories where it was forced to be 45 minutes (that happened twice).

Series 27/1 (2005)

10 Stories comprising 13 episodes

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Video

Doctor 10: David Tennant

Series 28/2 (2005-2006)

11 Stories comprising 14 episodes

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Video
  • NOTE: Includes the 2005 Children in Need Special, as well as the 2005 Christmas Episode.

Series 29/3 (2006-2007)

11 Stories comprising 14 episodes

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Video
  • NOTE: Includes the 2006 Christmas Episode.

Series 30/4 (2007-2008)

11 Stories comprising 14 episodes

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Video
  • NOTE: Includes the 2007 Christmas Episode, and the 2007 Children in Need Special, “Time Crash”.

There was no full series in 2009.  They had decided the show was going to “rest”.  It wasn’t taken off the air, but there was a series of “specials” scattered through 2009, with the first one airing on Dec 25, 2008, and the last one actually airing on Jan 1, 2010.   The first of these specials (The Next Doctor) was the final Doctor Who story made in standard definition.  Everything since then has been in HD.  When the Specials box was released, it was the first Doctor Who release on Blu-Ray.   For the Blu-Ray box, “The Next Doctor” was upconverted to HD from it’s SD original format.

Series 30/4 Specials (2008-2010)

4 Stories comprising 4 episodes

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Available on Blu-Ray: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming Video

Doctor 11: Matt Smith

Series 31/5 (2010)

13 episodes comprising 10 stories

  • Available on DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Available on Blu-Ray: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Yes, from Netflix only
  • NOTE: The disc releases include two short “mini episodes” produced just for the DVD set, and are not available on streaming.

Series 32/6 (2010-2011)

From this point onward, it is a bit different.  For the first time, the 2011 Series was split into two pieces, with seven episodes airing in the spring, and six airing in the fall.  Due to that, the DVD release has been skewed, and the Christmas Special from Dec 2010 was released on it’s own early.

14 episodes comprising 11 stories
Not all have aired as of the writing of this page.

  • 2010 Christmas Special DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • 2010 Christmas Special Blu-Ray: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Series 6 Part 1 DVD: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Series 6 Part 1 Blu-Ray: Yes [ Purchase ]
  • Streaming Status: Not available (not yet, anyway)
  • NOTE: There are special extras just for these episodes available on Amazon Video & iTunes that are free.  The episodes are not, but the extras are.

Presumably when “Series 6 Part 2” is all transmitted, there will be a “Series 6 Part 2” DVD/Blu-Ray Release, as well as a full Series 6 box with proper extras, as well as the 2010 Christmas Special, and the two “Comic Relief” mini episodes from March 2011 called “Time” & “Space”.

 

Hulu vs Hulu Plus

As an Xbox owner, I’ve paid close attention to the offerings on Xbox LIVE Gold, as I’ve been a member of that since it’s inception.  My profile bears the “8” mark, which means I’ve been a member for eight years.  I was one of the people chosen from the public to test the service before it launched on Xbox 1.  Anyway, my point here is that I’m aware that they’re finally going to get Hulu Plus as a video option on XBL two days from now.  My post here is about Hulu, and not so much Xbox, it’s just the launch on Xbox made me want to ask this.

Why does Hulu Plus not allow you to watch the “regular, free” Hulu videos and episodes?   Hulu has been around for a long time, and I’ve used it several times myself, when I missed recording something, or wanted to look at some recent clip, or something along those lines.  You can view these on your computer, and in most cases stream them to other websites, too.

An updated pay version of the service has been available since last Summer, called “Hulu Plus”.  That’s a version where you pay monthly, and get access to a much larger list of shows and episodes.  In most cases, entire series are available.  However, I found the paywall content lacking in shows I’d REALLY want to watch, so I only subscribed for one month as a test.  It is currently $7.99 a month for pay access.  It was initially more expensive than that, but the price came down, amongst stories that not enough people were interested in paying.

However, what I’m writing about today is the Hulu Plus app and the free version of Hulu online.  In the Hulu Plus app, you can only access Plus material.  There is a sample of some free videos in the Plus apps, but you CANNOT access the regular hulu.com free content through the Hulu app.  I’ve always felt this was a stupid move.  The last time I looked, the free/sample material in the Hulu plus app is the same as when it first launched back in the Summer of 2010.  It hasn’t changed.  The free content on the Hulu website, however, is constantly updating.

The Playstation Network has had Hulu plus for awhile now (since late last year), and Xbox is getting it in a couple of days, if reports are true.  My Blu-Ray player in the bedroom also has a Hulu plus app.  But I don’t bother with these, because there’s no compelling reason to pay for Plus, and the free content is not their “real” free content.  I’m sure it’s some stupid licensing issue, but they REALLY need to make the free desktop content available on the “free side” of the Hulu Plus apps (Xbox, PS3, iOS devices, etc)..

Won’t happen, though.  :(

MacGruber

This was on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. MacGruber is a recent vintage SNL recurring bit, and for some reason I laughed really hard at this (especially the third one). My wife witnessed it, and it’s really short, dumb, and it always blows up at the end. For some reason, I really enjoy the MacGruber bits. :)

There’s more of them available here.

A question about the Digital Switchover

First off, I hope it goes over in February, and not June. Folks have been saying it’s coming for years, the February date has been known for quite a long time now. What are you waiting for, people? If you didn’t notice by now, go dark. Meh.

Anyway, the question I have is this. In all the talk we see about the big digital switchover, the talk is that the air wave space that is currently allocated for over the air analog television signals is going to be reassigned for other use. What is going to happen at some point down the road if I plug in rabbit ears to one of my old television sets without a digital converter box? Will my TV set pick up whatever is using that old spectrum space?

I’m sure if it’s data, it’ll be encrypted, but what if it’s used for voice or something? Will my old TV set become the new police scanner radio of the next decade? :)