Skip to main content

Into the Doctor


Earlier this year, Doctor Who Magazine had a ranking of all twelve Doctor Whos. Unsurprisingly, 6th Doctor Colin Baker came in last. I've met Colin Baker, some thirty years ago when he and then-producer John Nathan-Turner came to Champaign for a Doctor Who convention, and I can say that he's a very warm, pleasant man. His Doctor, however, sucks. Hammy, shouty, dressed like a clown, the character just doesn't work.

Alas, Colin Baker is only human, and felt wounded at his Doctor being ranked last, taking it somewhat personally. I feel for the man on a certain level, but can't say that I disagree with the rankings. In fact, seeing as how Doctor Who is my favorite television show of all-time (mostly due to the 1963-1989 run), I thought it only proper that I provide my own, definitive rankings. Fair warning: What you are about to read is truth.

Here we go:


1. The Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee


Growing up watching Doctor Who as a kid in the 1980s, there was always a certain level of safety that I sought from the character. Mostly, he was there to take me on adventures to far away planets, future worlds and Earth of the past, but I also wanted to feel safe with the character. Perhaps no other Doctor embodied that sense of safety more than Jon Pertwee. He could be a touch rude at times, but also soft and caring. He (or at least his stunt man) also knew some darn good Venusian aikido.

Favorite story: The Curse of Peladon



2. The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker


The longest-serving, and arguably most popular Doctor (rivaled only by David Tennant), Tom Baker was basically playing Tom Baker-as-the-Doctor, but that's okay. Tom comes across as a pretty awesome, exuberant fellow. He makes any story (even the not-so-good ones) enjoyable.

Favorite story: Horror of Fang Rock



3. The First Doctor, William Hartnell



Shamefully over-looked and underrated in today's flashy world of color TV, the original, black-and-white adventures of Doctor Who still remain as good (or better) than they were some fifty years ago. Strong companions, good storytelling, and the glue holding it all together - William Hartnell.

Favorite story: The Keys of Marinus



4. The Twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi


This was a tough one, as most of the 12th Doctor's stories have been dreck. Still, rising above it all is Peter Capaldi, inhabiting the role like a hand in glove, making me continue to watch the program through his sheer, mesmerizing presence and charm.

Favorite story: Mummy On the Orient Express



5. The Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison



I really underappreciated the 5th Doctor for quite some time. We're talking decades. A case can be made that he's a fairly bland incarnation of the world's favorite Time Lord but, what I used to see as blandness, I now see as a nuanced take on the role. Coming on the heels of Tom Baker's bravado performance, Davison really had to play it down a bit. Sure, some of his stories were (to put it nicely) weak, but as a young actor, he really inhabited the role with aplomb.


Favorite story: Earthshock



6. The Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton


So many of Troughton's stories are lost, it's difficult to make a solid judgment about his era (though many fans still do). Based upon what I've seen, he ranks as a good (not great) Doctor Who. Certainly one of the classic originals. I enjoyed it when he turned-up in The Five Doctors and The Two Doctors stories!

Favorite story: The Mind Robber



7. The Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith



Ah, Matt Smith. His Doctor had so much potential, but that was mostly wasted in series 6 and 7 by the scripts and production efforts. Still, the man himself is as good as he can be in the role. He's also the first actor to play the Doctor who I felt an attraction toward. Handsome, with a lovely voice, Smith is the second-best of the revived show's leads.


Favorite story: The Lodger



8. The Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy



Say what you will about his era (and a lot -- good and bad -- can be said), but McCoy definitely gave an alien quality to his Doctor, and it felt like you were watching an eccentric, quirky character when he was on-screen. His stories were very much hit and miss, and his companions weren't great, but the actor did his best.


Favorite story: Dragonfire



9. The Tenth Doctor, David Tennant


I know he's super popular with modern Doctor Who fans, but he mostly annoyed me. The sneakers, the gelled hair, the cocky demeanor, his wuvvy-duvvy with Rose... it was just too much. Still, he had a good run, with lots of memorable episodes.

Favorite story: Blink




10. The Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston




I dunno. On the one hand, I prefer him to Tennant's cocky, spastic Doctor. On the other hand, I felt like Eccleston never truly convinced me that he was an alien from another world. A bad-ass northerner who'd just as soon nut you as say hello? Yes. But a Time Lord?  Eh.

Favorite story: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances



11. The Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann


Just so-so in his one-off 1996 TV movie, once we saw him again in the 2013 web-minisode, it became obvious what we'd missed in the long run. McGann is a solid actor, and I wish we'd seen more of him in the role.

Favorite story: The Night of the Doctor



12. The War Doctor, John Hurt




Seen only during the fiftieth anniversary year, Hurt's incarnation was likely a stand-in for the non-returning Christopher Eccleston. Still, the glimpse of this secret Doctor was enough to make him intriguing. Hurt owned any scene he was in, and I wish we'd have gotten more of this Doctor.

Favorite story: The Day of the Doctor



13. The Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker



Sorry, Colin.

Favorite story: The Two Doctors



And, that's that. Another list of truth!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.