Super Snappy Speed Reviews: Doctor Who Edition

Well, he’s she’s back! Doctor Who returns to our screens this very evening, and so, to celebrate, I decided it was time for Super Snappy Speed Reviews: Doctor Who Edition.

Of course, with over fifty years of material to work with in an approximate 1000 word limit, reviewing all of Doctor Who history is no mean feat. And so, today I’ll be reviewing all twelve incarnations of the Doctor character thus far, from Hartnell to Capaldi, rather than individual episodes or series (I thought about doing that but it was too hard!). As ever, these reviews only reflect my own personal opinions and impressions, exterminated, soniced and bigger-on-the-insided into just two or three sentences. So without further ado…

William Hartnell: The First Doctor

The First Doctor was something of an enigmatic character. He was probably an alien but this was barely mentioned apart from once or twice. In some ways he was lovably bumbling but with a grouchy and at times even immoral streak that made it difficult to know just how far he could be trusted. In general this gives him the makings of a great character, however he was let down by story-writing which often focused more heavily on the companions than on the Doctor himself.

My rating: 🌟🌟

Patrick Troughton: The Second Doctor

This era of Doctor Who introduces us to a Doctor who is somewhat more lively and spirited than his previous incarnation. Despite the removal of some of the darker aspects of the Doctor’s character, the Second Doctor remains a firm favourite of mine and also boasts one of the most important and enjoyable regeneration episodes in Doctor Who history.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Jon Pertwee: The Third Doctor

A large chunk of this era involves a surprising, if temporary, shift in the show’s premise. Suddenly the Doctor is restricted to earth and to one period of history. This Doctor is far more hands-on than the first two, often seen bombing around in his car and getting into fights. Furthermore, now that the Doctor has officially become an exile (an exile with a brand new archenemy in the form of The Master), the story finally focuses more heavily on the Doctor himself, rather than on the companions.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Tom Baker: The Fourth Doctor

This younger incarnation of the Doctor balanced gravitas and silliness in a way which has become almost synonymous with the character ever since. He is certainly the first of the truly gimmicky Doctors, with his floppy hat, ridiculously long scarf and his fondness for jelly-babies. Even so, I can’t help but love this Doctor. Probably my all time favourite next to Troughton.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Peter Davison: The Fifth Doctor

Ho-hum. Number Five was my least favourite of all the Doctors by far. He came across as a little too pathetic for my liking, with that squeaky little indignant voice of his. He also lacked depths. The guy had no demons, no issues, nothing. Also any dim-witted fool could see that Turlough wasn’t to be trusted; any dim-witted fool that is, except the Doctor!

My rating: 🌟

Colin Baker: The Sixth Doctor

Ah, the sixth Doctor: arrogant, ridiculous, bombastic and yet strangely compelling. I actually kind of liked this darker incarnation of the Doctor. He had issues. His personality bordered on the deranged and downright cruel at times. Few other incarnations of the Doctor have been so well-written. Shame about his companions.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Sylvester McCoy: The Seventh Doctor

This era got off to a shaky start. Watching Sylvester McCoy running around repeatedly mixing metaphors for four episodes in Time and the Rani drove me right up the wrong garden path. I warmed to him as the series wore on, however. Alas, he was a little too unremarkable to follow Colin Baker’s Doctor, but he was likeable enough. When it comes to characters, it was really Ace who made this era worth watching, not the Doctor.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟

Paul McGann: The Eighth Doctor

Poor Paul McGann. With only one appallingly written movie and an all-too-brief mini-episode (‘Night of the Doctor’), he didn’t get much of a chance to show us all just what a blooming wonderful Doctor he was. In fact, he’s pretty much the only thing that makes the movie worth watching, but he was especially good in ‘Night of the Doctor’. Do yourself a favour and watch it, it’s not even ten minutes long.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Christopher Eccleston: The Ninth Doctor

This broody and sarcastic incarnation of the Doctor didn’t last long, which is a real pity because he was fantastic (sorry). But really, he was. I mentioned earlier that I like my Doctors to have a few demons and well… how about just having returned from annihilating your own people and being barely able to acknowledge it to yourself? How’s THAT for demons? Actually, this whole series was packing good characters all round. Just a shame about the rather anticlimactic final episode.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

David Tennant: The Tenth Doctor

Whenever I think about the Tenth Doctor, the one word that springs to mind is: ‘intense’. That Doctor did an awful lot of struggling to contain his rage by hissing angrily through clenched teeth, whining about how tough his life is and intensely staring into the distance while the other characters pleaded with him to tell them he would save them. And yet there was something lovable about him. He was funny, moral and with a twinkle in his eye that made him instantly likeable. Slightly overrated in my opinion, but only slightly.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Matt Smith: The Eleventh Doctor

I loved Matt Smith as the Doctor; arguably the first of the rebooted series to capture the classic eccentricity of the Doctor. Finally he stops getting all kissy with his companions and develops a real group of friends. In fact, friendship is a real theme for this whole era of Doctor Who. Unfortunately, he was let down by writing which was often inventive enough but made no sense, even by Doctor Who standards.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Peter Capaldi: The Twelfth Doctor

An excellent portrayal of the Doctor who unfortunately suffered from writing which ranged from average to appalling. Finally, the Doctor has come face to face with the atrocity he committed in the Time War and travels through time and space desperately seeking vindication– and not getting it. In spite of this, humour and sentiment abounds. Also, although I’m slightly moving out of my realm of expertise here, can I just say: Peter Capaldi’s acting was simply the best of the lot.

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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I’m hoping to do author interviews here on Penstricken over the coming year, especially with new fiction authors. If you’re interested in having your work featured on Penstricken, be to sure to drop us an e-mail or message us on Facebook/Twitter.

You can check out our previous interviews here:
Sharleen Nelson, Author of The Time Tourists [2]

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