Wednesday, November 20, 2013

101 more reasons why Doctor Who is the greatest TV show ever

In my last post, I came up with three reasons why Doctor Who is the greatest fiction in the history of everything.

But that was too easy, and didn’t cover all the little things that I love about the show – the weird jokes and tiny inflections – and also didn’t deal with the big, epic moments of life, and death, and cups of tea.

So here are 101 more reasons why Doctor Who is the greatest fiction in the history of everything:

1. That thudding, pumping and otherworldly theme music. It’s not just a fantastic tune, it’s a beautiful metaphor for the whole damn thing.

2. The no-space in The Mind Robber and Warriors’ Gate.

3. All of the Doctor’s mates flying the TARDIS together and towing the Earth back to its proper place in the universe at the climax of Journey’s End.

4. The show’s charmingly desperate need for cliff-hangers, which often saw individual episodes end on nonsensical notes. There might be fewer multi-part stories now, but it’s a tradition that has been proudly carried on to the new series.

5. The Special Weapons Dalek, and the way the other Daleks look at it as an abomination.

6. The Ninth Doctor takes Blon Fel Fotch Passameer-Day Slitheen out for dinner in Cardiff.

7. The unnecessarily long pan across the dead beach at the start of The Leisure Hive.

8. Zoe Herriot’s arse in that spangly catsuit.

9. Zoe’s brains, especially on the occasions when she was actually smarter than the Doctor, and that was even sexier than the catsuit.

10. Ace’s bombs.

11. The moment when you discover what the object is that is getting everybody so hot and bothered in Lawrence Miles Alien Bodies, and the fact that it’s just one of dozens of times when everything about Doctor Who changes forever.

12. The thrill of the montage of all the Doctors at the climax of The Eleventh Hour, and the way the new ‘un walks right through them, straight into the role.

13. The mystery faces of the Doctor that appear during the mind duel of The Brain Of Morbius, and the fact that every serious Who fan has their own serious ideas about what it all means.

14. Nicholas Courtney sneaking into the background of Silver Nemesis.

15. The nudge-nudge, wink-wink cut to black right in the middle of Vengeance on Varos.

16. The just-revealed fact that it wasn’t the Eighth Doctor that fought in the Time War.
17. “You've touched so many lives, saved so many people. Did you think when your time came you'd really have to do more than just ask?”

18. The whole last ten minutes of The Doctor Dances, but most especially the part where the Doctor gets one good day, and everybody lives. I always hoped Doctor Who would be good when it came back on telly, but I never really expected it to be genuinely great.

19. Bill Nighy’s speech about the ecstatic beauty of Vincent Van Gogh’s art.

20. The way the Third Doctor’s frilly sleeves would flail about when he was laying some kung fu from outer space on some pitiable fool.

21. The bit with the wires in Genesis of the Daleks.

22. The idea that the entire Time War, and all the devastation and death that came from it, all started with that bit with the wires in Genesis of the Daleks.

23.  Romana and the Doctor, punting away in an episode that will never be finished.

24. Ian Chesterton’s tie.

25. Jo Grant’s hair.

26. Peri’s bald cap.

27. Those gross, gross, gross giant maggots in The Green Death.

28. The beautiful structure of the plot of the Dalek Invasion Of Earth. Everything I ever need to know about plotting, I learned from that novelization.

29. The use of ELO in Love & Monsters. And I frigging hate ELO.

30. The Masque of Mandragora. Just that story title. I really like it a lot. I think it’s terrific.

31. The suckers on the Zygons.

32. The brains with eyestalks in The Keys of Marinus.

33. The hiss of an Ice Warrior (or Ice Lord).

34. That one time Ice Warriors weren’t total dickheads.

35. Abslom Daak, DALEK KILLER!

36. The use of a cricket ball to propel the Doctor through space in Four To Doomsday.

37. The slightly unexpected death of The Third Doctor in Interference.

38. The moment in The Parting Of The Ways when the Ninth Doctor’s hologram is talking around Rose, and then he looks right at her.

39. The massive data dump that occurred when I learned the answer to every single question in the Second Doctor Who Quiz Book from Target, in some mad attempt in 1984 to win a competition for every single Target book published, and I never heard anything about that competition, although I did get a Target badge in the mail, which was just confusing.

40. The First Doctor’s absolute and invincible stubbornness.

41. The Valeyard, and all he promises/threatens.

42. “Oh my God, I’m the tin dog.”

43. The endless running around in Paris in City of Death.

44. The moments where the voices in Midnight go from past to present to future.

45. The fake Sarah Jane’s face falling off in The Android Invasion.

46. The cracking “chap with Wings” in-joke in Paul Cornell’s No Future.

47. Those funky high collars the Time Lords use for their formal duties.

48. Gemma Moffat’s cheeky-as-hell “Hello Dad!”

49. The bit at the start of the Chase where the Doctor and Barbara sunbathe. While fully clothed.

50. Everything about the Time Crash mini-episode, but especially when 10 stops everything to gush about 5.

51. The cup of tea in the Doctor’s hand in the cover scene of The Also People, as he has a natter with some sentiment battle spaceships which have enough firepower to put a hole in the galaxy and are all very, very pissed off.

52. The Doctor’s explanation for how the TARDIS manages to be bigger on the inside at the start of Robots of Death, and Leela’s quite-right statement that it all sounds a bit silly.

53. The tiny, epic conversation between Unstoffe and Binro about the state of the universe in The Ribos Operation, and the look on Binro’s face when he is told he is right about other worlds.

54. The face of the Doctor in the opening credits

55. Vicki’s formal gown in The Crusades.

56. Sarah Jane’s Andy-Pandy outfit in The Hand Of Fear.

57. Tegan’s accent.

58. The ridiculous miming when Donna sees the Doctor again at the Adipose Industries headquarters, and that terrific punchline.

59. "One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”

60. The characters’ accents in Spare Parts.

61. The fact that I’m still not that sure what actually is going on in Ghost Light.
62. The cup of tea that sparks the Tenth Doctor into full action in his first adventure.

63. The Fourth Doctor knocking over the wine goblet in contempt in Warrior’s Gate.

64. The sad fate of Dodo in nineties novels. Soon after reading Man In The Velvet Mask and Who Killed Kennedy, in which she catches a terrible disease and is ruthlessly murdered, I had a vivid dream about the character, which was the saddest goddamn dream I’ve ever had in my life.
65. “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.”

66. The slow journey through the long decades in Father Time.

67. The weird anti-twist involving the spaceship in Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

68. Any time the Daleks or Cybermen would appear in front of some grand London landmark.

69. The John Simm Master, tapping out the sound of drums on the table in Downing Street, after he’s just murdered everybody else in the room.

70. Derek Jacobi’s switch between the lovely and compassionate Professor Yana and the malevolent and immortal Master.

71. The low chuckle that always announced the totally surprising appearance of Anthony Ainley’s Master.

72. The Roger Delgado Master watching Clangers on a prison television set.

73. The daily singalong between all the souls trapped on New New York’s motorways in Gridlock.

74. The ninth Doctor’s genuine fear at seeing a lone Dalek had survived.

75. The DVD conversation in Blink.

76. The fact that the Doctors rarely get along with each other when they do their big anniversary team-ups.

77. The Eighth Doctor’s perfect shoes.
78. The Ballad Of The Last Chance Saloon. Hardcore Who people often hate any attempt to bring the taste of the musical into their beloved science fiction, but I always dig it.

79. For that matter, I liked  the singing in The Rings of Akhaten, too.

80. The fact that it only took them one episode to realise that Kamelion was a really, really bad idea.

81. The Controller standing up to his tyrannical masters in Day Of The Daleks.

82. “Always take a banana to a party, Rose! Bananas are good!”

83. The bit in one of the New Adventures where Benny orders a pint of vodka.

84. The cactus Doctor in Meglos. Rubbish story – fantastic visual.

85. Romana’s desperate, clawing attempts to stop the Movellan bomb going off on Skaro.

86. “Your leader will be angry if you kill me – I’m a genius!”

87. MC Escher’s mad perspectives invade Doctor Who in Castrovalva.

88. Brian’s diligent study of an inert black box in The Power of Three.

89. Any time the Doctor takes an older person along as a companion – sometimes Wilf and Evelyn are my favourite companions ever.

90. The bit in Transit where the Doctor comes barrelling out of an interpalnetary travel tube system, and maintains his footing.

91. The trippy matter transportation in The Daleks’ Master Plan.

92. Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart standing up against ultimate evil at the end of Battlefield, without ruffling a hair.

93. The convention-favourite story about the eye patches.

94. The trip to the wrong 1980 in Pyramids of Mars.

95. The skull door appearing in Nyssa’s room in Terminus.

96. The part in ..Ish where the Doctor and Peri forget the name of the TARDIS.

97. The fight between Salamander and the Doctor aboard the TARDIS, and the sheer joy of actually seeing it for the first time a few weeks ago.

98. The bit with the cat in The Dying Days.

99. Adric’s death. Most Doctor Who fans are rightfully glad to see the back of the annoying little twerp, but he died when I was eight-years-old, and I was bloody shattered.

100. “Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere the tea’s getting cold.”

101. The TARDIS.

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