Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Doctor Who Re-Watch - Top 5 Episodes of Season 1

What better way to start off a new year than with a re-watch of Doctor Who? It's summer holidays here in Australia, so I haven't spent quite as much time curled up on the couch watching TV (which surely isn't a bad thing) so the re-watch is going to take a while because I'm lucky to watch one ep a day at the moment. Lucky the seasons are only around 12 to 14 episodes long or this will end up taking me all year... although, a year of Doctor Who. Actually, that sounds kind of awesome!

Anyhoo, I have just finished re-watching season 1, from way back in 2005. Look, this first season is good, but if you compare it to what comes later, then you can see how it was a little rough around the edges. However, I think season 1 with the Ninth Doctor stayed true to what Doctor Who originally was--no big-budget special effects. The campiness of it (which, I think it still partly has to this day) the ridiculousness, the fun, the outlandish, it was all meant to be like that. Later, it was able to become a little more sophisticated, sometimes a little darker, the special effects on par with most of it's other contemporary sci fi shows.

So, yes, there was a lot to love about this first season. Getting Billy Piper to play Rose was just perfect, her on-screen energy was always brilliant no matter who she was acting with. But if we're being honest, my favourite thing about season 1 was and always will be the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness. He's probably one of my favourite TV characters of all time, and the fact he went on to star in his own TV show through Torchwood was just epic. Don't get me started on Captain Jack or we'll be here forever.

Without anymore blabbing, here's my top five favourite episodes of season 1:

5) Rose (episode 1)

Can't go past the first episode, when Rose finds her life going from ordinary to straight out bonkers. But as good as that was, I think what really made this episode was the creepy mannequins coming to life. Honestly, the reason it took me 35 years to finally watch Doctor Who, even though people kept telling me how amazing it was, is because when I was a kid, Doctor Who was on in the afternoon, right after all the kids shows I watched. Not sure how young I was (probably 5 or 6), but I watched an episode that scared the bejesus out of me so that was pretty much the start and the end of Doctor Who for me until I was a 35-year-old-grown-ass-woman and wondered since I started watching the X-Files when I was 12 and had been thriving on that and things like Supernatural ever since, what the hell was I so worried about?
Anyhoo, the mannequins in this first episode were creepy as hell, and I was like "no wonder this show scared me when I was a kid!" This time, however, I was old enough to love the hell out of it.

4) Aliens of London (episode 4)

There was A LOT of ridiculousness in this episode. Like the farting. I mean, was that script written by a ten year old? But the one thing I really loved about this episode was the introduction of Harriett Jones who would become a reoccurring character. I don't know what it is about Doctor Who and the show's ability to have these kind of silly, but important and so every-day-type-people characters. They really just make the show. I mean, what happened with Harriett Jones in the end when she and Ten came up against one another was a little sad, but in the meantime, she provided lots of entertainment.

3) The Doctor Dances (episode 10)

This episode will always be iconic for Nine's very quotable "everyone lives, Rose! Just this once, everyone lives!" The sheer joy of it was infectious. And it was great that for once, the resolution of the episode's storyline was that everyone survived instead of tens or hundreds (or sometimes thousands and millions) of people dying. This episode also had some very funny one-liners in it, and of course the fact that in the end, Jack Harkness takes a bomb, willing to sacrifice himself to save everyone, then in turn, Rose and The Doctor save him. The following episodes with Jack as Nine's second companion were just fantastic (the dream team, I like to call them) and part of me wishes he could have spent more time with them. But since he went on to have his own TV series, I'm definitely not complaining!

2) Bad Wolf/The Parting of Ways (episodes 12 & 13)

Okay, yes I'm cheating because this was actually two episodes, but they're kind of hard to separate. The game show station. I mean, talk about mid-2000s culture snap shot. The Weakest Link, Big Brother, some Make Over show. The world was in love with reality TV shows because at that time, they were still a novelty and we hadn't been completely inundated by them. But of course Doctor Who takes it to extremes with the idea that the contestants don't leave or get voted off. No, instead they get brutally murdered. Meanwhile, we've got Jack in his element, not an iota of humility even when he's completely naked in front of millions of viewers, enjoying every second of it. And if all that wasn't enough, the revelation that the Daleks survived the Time War and are about to attack Earth was staggering for Nine. Then of course we've got all the drama of Nine sending Rose home and her attempts to get back to him, Jack going to face the Daleks even though he knows he's going to die doing it, ending with a twist I'm sure no one could see coming. To top it off, Nine regenerated into Ten, introducing David Tennant and the rest is history.

1) Empty Child (episode 9)

My number one episode out of this season for two simple reasons; one, the creep factor and iconic "are you my mummy?" and two, the introduction of Captain Jack Harkness. And yes, I know I keep going on about Jack, but culturally, I think he's historically going to go down as one of the most important characters on TV in this time. A big call, I know. But the reasons why are simple. Jack is bisexual or pansexual (depending on who you talk to) and this was presented as a simple no-big-deal fact. There was never an episode about his sexuality, the whys or hows. The writers never felt the need to justify it in any way, even once he went over to Torchwood. For the LGBTQ community, for out society, this was a huge fucking deal (excuse my language) because for the first time there was a man kissing another man on prime-time TV,
on a show that is an accepted FAMILY show and arguably is somewhat aimed at kids/tweens/teenagers. But not only was there a man kissing another man, there was also the same man kissing and flirting with women. Without saying the words, Jack's sexuality was there for everyone to see without a single bit of shame or homophobic slurs in sight. I'll stop now, because I could go on about this all day. But I'm one fan who will never underestimate or diminish the importance of both Captain Jack Harkness and John Barrowman both on and off the screen.

So, there you have it! The re-watch will continue, now heading into season 2 with David Tennant at the helm and the otp to end all Doctor Who otps. But that is a post for another day. In the words of Nine, this has been "Fantastic!"

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