I’m a fan of Doctor Who. What nerd isn’t? If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a new fan (I started watching as the first half of series 6 started). I was able to watch from series 1 of the 2005 series and catch up in time to watch the final two episodes of series 6 on BBC America.
I’ve held no secrets on my feelings towards Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor. But I feel like that’s because I was exposed to the whole series in a matter of months versus years. Since we have to wait for the return of series 7 (JUST WHO IS CLARA OSWIN OSWALD?!?!), I’ve decided to re-watch the entire series to give it a proper review. But why not go back even further?
I’ve decided that every time I go back to rewatch Doctor Who, I will reach back to the previous Doctor than I had before. So, this time around, I’ve started with the only appearance (on film/television) of the eighth Doctor, portrayed by Paul McGann in the 1996 TV movie.
Doctor (Seventh Incarnation): Played by Sylvester McCoy
Doctor (Eighth Incarnation): Played by Paul McGann
Companion – Dr. Grace Holloway: Played by Daphne Ashbrook
The Master (in a human body): Played by Eric Roberts
As I stated above, I wanted to start with the previous Doctor than I had originally watched, which led me to the Doctor Who 1996 TV Movie starring Paul McGann as The Eighth Doctor. My overall impression of this movie (originally intended to be a pilot for a new series) is a solid C. This is Doctor Who, but isn’t Doctor Who. I saw traces of what would become the 2005 series starring Christopher Eccleston as The Ninth Doctor. I also saw what happened when you get American studios involved in a British Sci-Fi show.
It’s a standard American “B-Movie”; good guy vs. bad guy, throw in a female as the love interest for the good guy, and some other events happen. The End. There was a good story hidden in this lack-luster movie, and as a fan of a) story and b) Doctor Who, I appreciated this attempt at the revival. The opening sequence was very 90s and “B”, which I appreciated.
I’m not sure how “in canon” some of the things that happened in this adventure are, for instance The Doctor being half Time Lord/half human and a Time Lord only has 12 regenerations (13 “lives). I’m sure when you’re at Doctor number 8, that sounds great, but at Doctor number 11, you’re nearing your limit. That 50/50 species thing is just ridiculous.
I also found some the happenstances to be a bit odd for this adventure. The doctors who were looking at the X-Ray of The Doctor took the whole “hmm… it looks like he has two hearts” thing real lightly. I’m no doctor, but I feel like I would have taken some time on that one. Although I enjoyed how corky the adventure was, it felt like it was all over the place, like we were in the middle of a mad man’s mind.
The special features on the DVD make the entire experience worth it. I don’t care that we had to wait nine years to see Russel T. Davis bring back Doctor Who, as I’m this movie spawned some great things. Novels, comics, audio adventures, and more! How fantastic! And learning about all the trouble it took to bring this incarnation of The Doctor to the small screen was a fascinating watch and worth the cost of the DVD alone.
TV Movie Final Grade: C+
DVD Final Grade: B+
I’m excited to return to The Doctor who lured me into this fascinating universe! While we wait, I’ll be writing reviews for each episode that I watch and of course on any of the special features I’ll find on the DVDs/Blu Rays!