The streaming service Twitch is delivering ancient episodes of Doctor Who for free. So far I have caught a Three Doctors episode featuring Jo Grant in a blue outfit that looks like she butchered a Smurf community, Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in full velvet pre-New Romantic costume wandering a Welsh quarry, and the Brigadier getting peevish. Ah memories!
It’s dark, rainy and chilly in Melbourne right now, and old Who is like comfort food. Doctor Who is the warm blanket after a difficult day. Even its flaws are somewhat reassuring because they are obvious and familiar: the frustrating pacing, the condescending way women are presented, and the danger, while immanent that is also colourfully plastic bubble wrap ludicrous. Just as I remember.
It all makes me want the new series to arrive sooner and be better. I’m slightly concerned about the casting for the upcoming series. Does Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor need a mature bloke companion, and will he begin as some kind of explainer of stuff who she will have to put in his place before things get going? I sincerely hope not, but I won’t be surprised if it happens. It might be another flaw I will adjust to when this series is finally delivered. The wait has been too long.
What I love about science fiction is how attempts to be cutting edge and ultra cool mostly somehow manage to seem lame in hindsight. Yet, chuck in a canary yellow Roadster called Bessie, and the juxtaposition between past and current makes the episode fresh. I am hopeful for a new kind of freshness with the 13th Doctor, amid everything familiar we love about Who.