The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

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The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

Post by Johnstone McGuckian on Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:02 pm

I'll admit that over the last two or three years, the amount of Who that I've watched has dropped quite a lot. However, in the last six months or so (caused by a breakup really, but there's no need to go into details) I've been watching Who, particularly classic Who again and I've been watching it from a very different perspective that I did a few years ago.

Obviously, I've grown up a lot since I first stepped into online Who fandom at the age of thirteen (I first saw Who when I was six). When I was sixteen, I'd seen/heard every single episode and there was an overwhelming sense of "oh, what now then?" I felt like I'd finished Who and there was nowhere else to go, apart from into casual viewing of the new series. I started to post far less frequently on forums and became much more of a lurker.

Way back when I was thirteen/fourteen, I wasn't a huge fan of the new series. To this day I still find series two to be very disappointing and hard to watch, I've put it down to my not liking Rose's character but at the time I wasn't sure why I wasn't enjoying Who as much as I should be doing. I don't know what it is about Rose that I don't like, but the more I see her, even now, the less watchable I find her episodes. Contrast this to Amy, who I find to be a fantastic character and as a result, I've enjoyed her episodes more than most people have.

But going back to the classic series, I've always continued to watch it from time to time, buying the DVD's etc. But I started to become slightly bored of it, fandom not helping this at all. But as I say, six months or so ago, I split up with my fairly long-term girlfriend and found that I had a lot of free time on my hands, I wasn't in the best of moods and wanted something fairly downbeat, yet something that I'd enjoy, to watch. I decided to do a season 18 marathon. When watching it however, it all seemed wrong. For a very long time, I'd always cited season 18 as my favourite. State of Decay and Logopolis were in my top 10 and I always had a soft spot for Traken. I'd always found Meglos and Full Circle enjoyable, leaving only The Leisure Hive and Warriors Gate as stories that I didn't particularly enjoy, more in a way of finding them average than disliking the, though.

So I got going with The Leisure Hive, with a 'let's get it out of the way' attitude. I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, there's padding and it doesn't look fantastic. But there's a good story in there and some interesting ideas. I perhaps understood it more than I had in the past. Secondly was Meglos, a story I've always enjoyed in the past. I found it to be silly. The idea is, again, a good one. But it looks like it was made in a hurry, some of the acting is dire and Lexa's death is completely ridiculous. I found Full Circle to be interesting but lacking the charm that I remembered it having. When I was younger I loved the scenes with K9 going through the marsh with the upbeat 80's music. The fun of it that I felt when I was younger just wasn't there. I love State of Decay, it's a fantastic story but this time I just didn't enjoy it as much as I had in the past. It was, again, let down by some bad direction and acting. And the tower looks beyond stupid. Warriors Gate, while making more sense this time, was still a dull mess. The final scenes however, remain to be some of the best in all Who. Romana is one of my favourite companions and I've always had a soft spot for K9 and I feel that they got a fitting exit, despite the story being a little too bizarre. I found The Keeper of Traken to be much duller than I remembered, with some awful acting. It's saved by fantastic performances from Baker and Beevers, but it wasn't the light-hearted story that I remembered it being. Finally, there was Logopolis, by this stage, I was expecting to not enjoying as much as I used to but actually, I enjoyed it more. It's so grim! But it's so well done. The Tegan stuff in the TARDIS was a bit annoying but Tom is bloody fantastic! And the regeneration is amazing. I'm glad that I enjoyed Logopolis so much because it has always been a favourite.

Despite not enjoying season 18 as much as I anticipated. It made me realise that I had indeed matured a great deal since watching classic Who the last time and as a result, decided to pick out some other stories that I hadn't seen for years. To name a few, I've watched The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, The Ambassadors of Death, The Curse of Fenric, Horror of Fang Rock, The Deadly Assassin (which remains my all-time favourite) and The Invasion. For the majority, my opinions remained unmoved. I enjoyed Ambassadors much more than in the past and perhaps enjoyed Fang Rock a bit less.

The other night, I finally got around to watching the Legacy box set. I'd seen the VHS of Shada before, a long time ago, but I really enjoyed it, probably more than last time.i then went on to watch More Than Thirty Years for the first time ever. It features a fair number of clips from Survival, a story that I've always ranked as average, and it looked fantastic.

So tonight, I watched Survival for the first time, as far as I remember, since its DVD release. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I was hooked instantly. It seemed so much darker and more mature than I remembered, really pushing some boundaries. I understood the story much more than I had in the past for a start. I was also shocked by the "you don't give a toss" line, something I'd never picked up on before. It isn't forced, it isn't saying 'Doctor Who says grown up words now' in the same way that Smith and Jones seemed to. It's just a natural bit of dialogue that works. All in all, I'd say that Survival is a masterpiece and the fact that it ended up being the final story is criminal. It's not just a fantastic bit of Who, it's a fantastic bit of television and it was produced at a time that Who was apparently camp, badly acted and generally crap.

So inspired by the last six months viewing of Who and especially tonight's viewing of Survival, I'm going to carry on. Next time I have a free night, I'm going to watch Ghost Light, another story I've always been indifferent about and perhaps haven't fully understood, to see if I appreciate it more now that I'm not such a youngster. I shall report back.
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Re: The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

Post by konstantin on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:06 pm

It sort of bothers me more when folks rewatch (or reread/relisten) to something after a several year interim and it's just as they remembered it - and nothing's changed. Seems to show that they are stuck in one place and haven't grown.

So, a very worthwhile project, and maybe one that should be repeated every decade or half.

Congrats on growing!
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Re: The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

Post by Patrick on Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:38 am

Johnstone,
I applaud your decision to revisit Classic Who. But remember, as you explore your own personal evaluations of these stories, context is important. (A point I tried to underscore in my Bond film reviews).

Take Season 18, for example. You have to remember that this was the very start of the 1980s, and JNT was dead set to draw a clear line of distinction to his style of presentation to his predecessor. The sets were brighter, the costumes more colorful, the music louder, and the opening credit sequence faster. Add to this that he'd brought Christopher Bidmead in as script editor, and you get the sense for how different he was deliberately trying to be: the stories were being aimed at a slightly older audience, and infused actual real science concepts into them. This was definately not everyone's cup of tea.

For me, Warrior's Gate remains visual poetry. A story I dearly love, but one which I long ago came to realize I was likely to be in the minority holding that opinion.

I can't wait to hear your next report!

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Re: The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

Post by Aspadistra on Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:54 am

Yup. Interesting to hear your perspective, Johnstone.
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Re: The (now not so) Youngsters thoughts on Who

Post by The Neon Seal on Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:35 am

Your post makes me think back about how my own outlook on who has changed. I don't buy classic who very often (HMV is a rip-off) but when I watched Horror of Fang Rock i instantly loved it and it's my all-time favorite classic who. But when Moffat took over and Amy joined, I also took a liking to the dark fairy-tale aspect to who which has been ever more increased by the current arc concerning Clara. Series 3 of new who has always been my favorite, but the current series from 'Asylum' to 'Hide', is quickly stealing the title and this leads me to believe that who isn't actually at its best when its doing 'shiny robots' and 'planets from the year gazzillion' as I once thought. Doctor Who is at it's best when it is Gothic (see 'brain of mobius' or 'Fenrik') or when it adopts the persona of a fairy tail that is both dark and enchanting, puzzling and moving.


Last edited by The Neon Seal on Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : missed bits out... and an upper case too.)
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