io9 Fails Classic Doctor Who
When I heard that they wrote an article "How To Discover Classic Doctor Who In 3 Easy Steps", I was eager to check it out to see if I could pass it along.
Calling Ace a "proto-Rose" is an insult to both companions. Their personalities aren't similar. Their origin stories aren't similar. Their character developments through the series aren't similar. I agree that the Doctor/Ace relationship was rich and sophisticated, but then to say that she's "inspiration for some of the more fully realized companions of today" is really insulting to the Ace character. I guess I can see how post-"Turn Left" Rose can be seen as similar to Ace, but Ace was always rebellious and like that when the Doctor met her. I like to think that what the Doctor did was to help focus that intelligence and her abilities during their time together. He is her Professor, a strong mentor/student relationship. When it comes to Rose, the Doctor showed her the universe, a better way of being and living. It's her time away from the Doctor that transforms her into the Bad Ass Chick With a Gun. I just... fail to see how these are the same.
I have additional issues with the article:
And then in "Curse Of Fenric," the Doctor takes Ace to World War II England, where she meets her own mother as a baby and discovers that someone has been manipulating her all along. But "Curse Of Fenric" is mostly the episode steps up and starts being the clever one — there's a fantastic moment halfway through where the Doctor is counting on nobody figuring out the secret of the Viking runes. And he doesn't realize Ace has figured it out ages ago, because he's understimated her intelligence.
How about underestimating the Doctor's intelligence. I love the Seventh Doctor because I think he's a manipulative bastard. I watch "The Curse of Fenric" and see the Doctor not above using Ace and her trust in the Doctor to get to the baddie and destroy him. io9's interpretation of "The Curse of Fenric" is so counter to the one that I have that it feels like we haven't watched the same thing. Perhaps that is why the article's author thinks that Ace is simply a proto-Rose? Hrm.
I would never advocate anybody putting themselves through the torment of watching any of Colin Baker's mid-1980s tenure as the Doctor.
WHAT? Watch "The Two Doctors". It's brilliant and beautiful. Great baddie. Great interactions between the two Doctors and the two assistants. To be so dismissive of the entirety of the Sixth Doctor's work is ignoring the genuine gems that are there.
Stay away from the black and white 1960s stories until you're well and truly indoctrinated. There are some definite gems remaining from the 60s, including the aforementioned Dalek invasion story and "Tomb Of The Cybermen," but the first two Doctors' adventures haven't aged as well, by and large, as the rest of the show.
"The Aztecs"? "An Unearthly Child"? They hold up beautifully and I think the latter is wonderful, to see the Doctor at the start of his travels with humans. How it all began, in a sense.
So, yeah, I can't recommend this article to people, especially those who want to dip their toe into Classic Who. I've read much better introductions to Classic Who for New Who people and it's such a shame that those articles will not be as widely read as this io9 article.
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