My 11 Favorite Doctors
I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. Not just the news series, but the classic one as well. I remember the first time I saw Doctor Who. It was as a kid and one of the local stations used to play movies in the afternoon. One of those movies was Doctor Who and the Daleks, starring Peter Cushing as the Doctor. Granted, this was not really Who canon, and a remake of one of the William Hartnell stories.
So let me start over.
I remember the first time I saw Doctor Who, the real Doctor Who. It was as an older kid than before. PBS locally announced they were picking up the series and as a science fiction geek, I had to see it. The story was Genesis of the Daleks, and the Doctor was Tom Baker. Thanks to a bit of erratic scheduling, I would pick up episodes here and there, a bit disconcerting considering the serial nature of the original series. But I would luck out every once in a while and catch an entire storyline (The Five Doctors was one of those storylines), and usually either with Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, or Peter Davison as the Doctor (I would later learn about the sad fate of many of the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton episodes).
Naturally, given the fluidic nature of the Doctor, I found I liked watching some Doctors more than others, to the point where I developed a hierarchy of which Doctors I liked the best.
1) Tom Baker – It is only natural that the first (canonical) Doctor would be my favorite. Even now, I still get a thrill when I see that a fourth Doctor story is one of the DVD releases.
2) David Tennant - Even though Christopher Eccleston brought the Doctor back, it was Tennant who made the new series shine. Some of the best Doctor Who episodes featured him (the best run I think was when he was paired with Catherine Tate as Donna Noble). The real standout episode for me was Girl in the Fireplace.
3) Christopher Eccleston - Eccleston was the Doctor for only one series/season (depending on if you refer to them by the British vernacular or the American), but he helped set the standard to which Tennant and later Smith would strive to. With him, the new series helped set the perfect mix of adventure, drama, thriller and comedy.
4) Peter Davison – The other Doctor that I remember from my PBS viewing days. I still a big fan of The Five Doctors.
5) Matt Smith – The newest, and youngest of the Doctors. Despite some shaky episodes in his first season (he had big shoes to fill after Tennant), Smith has begun to come unto his own as the Doctor.
6) Jon Pertwee – The last of the original Doctors I saw on PBS (this time mostly in college… when I could get reception on the PBS station in the dorm). While he had some strong episodes, many of his stories tend to be a bit on the goofy side. However, it was during his run as the Doctor in which we were introduced to the Time Lord’s best companion: Sarah Jane Smith.
7) Paul McGann - The George Lazenby of Doctor Who (is you don’t count the audio adventures, many of which are still filtering into the US). McGann’s only on-screen appearance was the Doctor Who television movie, which was intended to be a backdoor pilot for a potential Fox show. Sadly, this series never manifested.
8) Patrick Troughton - The second Doctor. My first exposure to Troughton’s Doctor was in The Five Doctors, where he was paired with the Brigadier. Since then, I have picked up a number of the second Doctor stories… at least the ones that survived.
9) Sylvester McCoy – The seventh Doctor, and the last from the original series. Like other Doctors, most of my exposure to McCoy as the Doctor has been through DVD. While some of the stories were good (Silver Nemesis and Remembrance of the Daleks), others were really dreadful (Delta and the Bannermen).
10) William Hartnell – The first Doctor. Hartnell sits low on this list because often times, his Doctor’s personality seemed a bit abrasive. He was probably the oldest of the actors who portrayed the Doctor, and sometimes comes across as someone’s cranky grandfather. (For The Five Doctors, filmed in 1983, the first Doctor was played by Richard Hurndall due to the passing of Hartnell in 1975).
11) Colin Baker – A lot has been discussed about Colin Baker’s Doctor. For me, he is the doctor I like the least. Many of his stories are not all that great, and often, Baker’s Doctor comes across as a pompous, egotistical, and wholly unlikable Time Lord. Whether this is the fault of the writers for bringing in bad scripts, or Baker for putting this slant on the Doctor is often discussed by Who fans.
Posted on September 18, 2011, in Opinion, Television and tagged Christopher Eccleston, Colin Baker, David Tennant, Doctor Who, DoctorWho, DVD, Jon Pertwee, Matt Smith, Patrick Troughton, Paul McGann, Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, television, Tom Baker, William Hartnell. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.