In the Doctor Who serial “The Three Doctors,” an impossible force attacks Gallifrey, forcing the Time Lords to disobey one of the most important Laws of Time by having the Doctor’s timeline visit itself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch a classic episode of Doctor Who.
I’m curious about the environment I’ve lived in and how that affects my consumption of media. A strange thought passed through my head while watching “The Three Doctors”: Why is it that everyone in older television shows and moves speaks so slowly?
I’m fascinated by the idea and the more I visit cinema and television that I never watched growing up, the more I realize how much faster our forms of media are. From rapid-fire, witty dialogue to explosive plots (literally, I mean), I suppose we’re all used to things that are louder and abrasive.
Last week, on the recommendation from a friend, I started watch AMC’s Rubicon. I was warned that even starting the show was a commitment; there were few things like it that ever aired on television. Saying it was “slow” was an understatement; in fact, the first act of violence/action doesn’t happen until hour seven or eight in the show’s run. Additionally, it’s one of the quietest shows I’ve ever watched, as there are countless scenes without a drop of background music or anything but muted conversation.
(PS: It is REALLY FUCKING GOOD and is worth every second of your attention.)
It brought me back to Doctor Who. While watching “The Three Doctors,” it was more obvious than ever how even this show has changed. When you compare Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant with the first three Doctors present in this serial, the Doctor himself has gotten louder, wittier, and…well, faster.
I’d actually really love if people could give some insight into this, especially you film/history nerds. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Do you prefer one over the other? (For the record, I prefer slower/quieter, for the most part.)
So, “The Three Doctors.” This is a really fun serial with awful special effects, some ridiculous dialogue, and the most monologue-y villain ever committed to film. It’s full of problems and, like most Doctor Who, I really didn’t care. It actually became fun to yell shit at my Netflix, MST3K-style, which included me narrating my own actions to my roommate as if I was Omega.
I am happy that so many of you recommended this episode because, above all else, it gave me a healthy chunk of backstory on the Time Lords, answering a whole handful of questions that were swimming around in my brain. Since I came into this show in the new series, the existence of other Time Lords is simply an impossibility for me. I just don’t even consider it. I think it provides more opportunities for the Doctor to solve conflicts he is faced with, so in a way, it makes me appreciate what the current writing staff has to deal with. They don’t have a planet of time-traveling people to help the main character out. Well, plus it accents the feeling of loneliness throughout the episodes, but that’s an entirely separate point.
Like “The Impossible Planet,” this serial spends a great deal of time talking about black holes and the ramifications of their physical properties. In a similar way, something exists that shouldn’t. In this case, it’s a universe made up entirely of antimatter. Oh. And it was created out of sheer willpower. Oh, and it was created by the engineer who gave the Time Lords the supernova that birthed their time-traveling power.
I liked the story a lot, which gave us the origin of the Time Lords and dealt with the difficult idea that the Time Lords exploited someone else’s work for their own benefit, even if it wasn’t intentional. Having the three Doctors interact with each other was both fascinating and hilarious. The constant bickering between Two and Three seemed appropriate, as it helped accent the subtle differences between the two regenerated bodies of the same person.
The Doctor’s companion, Jo, didn’t seem as active as I’m used to. In fact, he became a running joke of mine to point out how many times the Third Doctor told Jo to do exactly what he said. Kind of bossy, right? The UNIT soldiers were great because even though I was just introduced to them, it wasn’t hard to pick up their characteristics and behavior.
In the end, though, a lot of the side characters were pretty forgettable, but that’s now because of Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who wrote the episode, didn’t write them well. This episode put the Doctors front and center, and they drove the action and the dialogue.
- The “aliens” in “The Three Doctors” looked like compost heaps. Aside from their claws, they were the least threatening villains imaginable. They were so slow! Just run around a corner and you’re safe.
- Oh my god, Omega. Seriously, his voice was SO FUNNY. I know I shouldn’t find it so hilarious, but he ACCENTED. EVERY. WORD. AS. IF. IT. WAS. IN. ALL. CAPS. YOU WILL. LISTEN. TO. ME. AND DO. AS. I. SAY. I’m going to talk like him all day.
- “So you’re my replacements–a dandy and a clown!”
- There’s a moment in the third part where you can see behind Omega’s mask and there’s a human mouth moving. So when they removed the mask and nothing was there, I yelled, “YOU FUCKED UP.” And then I felt immature and I should punch myself in the face.
- I giggled when the Brigadier referred to the Cyberment and the Autons. I KNOW WHAT THOSE ARE NOW.
- Never has a recorder been so funny and so pivotal to the plot.
- This episode is particularly heavy on physics. In 1972/1973. And over eleven million people watched the fourth part. SERIOUSLY. All of you on the other side of that big pond impress me.