I’ve always been a fan of science fiction – maybe not a rabid fan, but a fan nonetheless. I grew up watching original series Star Trek (in re-runs, thank you very much) and Buck Rogers, and reading comic books. These things formed the foundation for my ongoing interest in recent shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica, and in new ones like the absolutely wonderful Misfits – and it’s why I still scour Io9.com on a daily basis for possible leads on good SciFi.
So why is it that, until recently, I never saw an episode of Doctor Who? It wasn’t really on my radar growing up – despite running regularly on PBS. Here it is, the longest running Sci-Fi show in existence, and I had never watched it. This needed to be rectified.
But, I’m not one to do things half-arsed. Oh no. I can’t very well just pick up watching a show in the middle. I have to go back to the beginning. And I mean the very beginning – not the beginning of the series re-launch in 2005. It will be a while before I get to that series. No, I need to go back to the first episodes from 1963 – so I can really immerse myself in this cultural phenomenon.
Not sure if this is the best decision, but there it is. I obtained the first series and transferred it to my iPhone. I’ve been watching episodes on my lunch break and I’m nearly through the first season (with William Hartnell as the Doctor, if you’re keeping track). So far so good. The acting can be pretty hammy at time. And the racial stereotyping, when it happens, is just grating. And the visual effects are understandably lousy, given this was the early ‘60s. But the stories are pretty good. I’m keen to continue.
Regrettably, I’ve since found out that many episodes of the first few series have been lost – destroyed by a fire at the BBC years ago. At least some have been reconstructed using the audio track under photos and descriptive captions, but I’m not sure if that’s true of all episodes. Guess I’ll find out as I go through the entire 32-season run.
This could take a while.