Saturday, November 30, 2013

Big Things Come in Small Blue Boxes: Speaking of Things that Turned 50 this Month

So, Doctor Who premiered two days before I did, November 23, 1963. I’ve been a fan since junior high, which makes Tom Baker “my” Doctor. It aired in the late afternoon on weekdays on channel 52 in the days before cable. It was an Orange County station that didn’t have much power, so the reception was not great. Not long after that, channel 52 became the home of ON TV, which was subscription television service the broadcast movies and such on a scrambled signal. It was the late 70s; they were trying all kinds of things. Anyone remember Betamax? Of course not; people barely remember VHS these days.

Anyway, I DVRed (he says without a hint of irony after the last paragraph) all the specials and retrospectives leading up to last Saturday’s “Day of the Doctor,” which certainly lived up to expectations as far as I was concerned. What did turn out to be an unexpected treat was An Adventure in Time and Space, a dramatization (or, if you prefer, a dramatisation) of the creation of Doctor Who and William Hartnell’s tenure as the first Doctor. David Bradley’s portrayal of Hartnell was nothing short of brilliant and anyone who didn’t get at least a little choked up in the last five minutes you’ve obviously had the cyberman upgrade.

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