brni (brni) wrote,

Lessons Learned from Old Doctor Who Episodes

I've been watching old Doctor Who episodes, courtesy of Netflix.

I started watching Doctor Who on channel 12 (Philadelphia PBS) back in high school, when Tom Baker was the Doctor. Channel 39 (Wilmington's PBS) was intermittently viewable (depending on the weather), and they carried Monty Python and some of the older Pertwee episodes. Pertwee was, of course, all wrong. Eventually, Tom Baker left, Peter Davison took over, and after a bit, I stopped having a TV. I've never seen any of the post-Davison episodes, until the new series, and had never seen either of the first two Doctors.

So. Netflix. You can stream a subset of their offerings. So I've been watching Doctor Who episodes - the new series - while doing my daily physical therapy exercises. I finished up season 4 of the new series last week, and then decided to start from the beginning.

One William Hartnell episode was available for streaming, and four Patrick Troughton episodes, plus The Three Doctors.

So far I've watched the first two. And I've learned some valuable things.

"The Aztecs" - William Hartnell, 1964:

Cultures that aren't like ours are barbaric, and efforts to civilize them are doomed.

"The Tomb of the Cybermen" - Patrick Troughton, 1967

Multiculturalism is not a new concept. While the Doctor Who universe tends to postulate the eventual expansion of the British throughout the universe for all time, including the cultural colonization of alien races, machines, and cats, this episode breaks the mold. There are Americans (you can tell they are Americans by the heroic stance, the "I'm handsomer than thou" attitude, the casual but ineffectual bullying from a position of weakness for everyone's well being, and the tendency to say, "Now you listen to me" while pointing). There are black people. (you can tell they are black by their tendency to say "Yes, Mistress," and do what they are told. Also, their skin is dark.) There are women (identifiable by their tendency to be either stupid and helpless and/or evil, and the wearing of inappropriate adventuring clothes) and Indians/Pakistani (identifiable by having acquired great wealth by mysterious means, assuming a Britisher-than-thou attitude, and incorrectly believing that they are smarter than everyone else.) And there are Scotsmen (identifiable by their kilts and their tendency to rush blindly into danger). Truly, this is progress.

I can't wait to see what insights future episodes hold.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.