I’m doing something I’ve always wanted to.
No, not renting out a room in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion (you would not believe what they’re asking for a studio, which doesn’t even include holograms of ghosts eating cake!)
I’ve begun watching “Doctor Who”, starting with the original series, which ran from 1963 to1966 and stared William Hartnell as a particularly unsexy lead.
Some of you know I am a sucker for British television, though the love is not unconditional. I would no sooner sit through an episode of “Are You Being Served?” than a lecture on safe-sex from a 19th century French poet.
Still, many of my favorites (“League of Gentlemen”, “Absolutely Fabulous”, “Black Adder” to name a few) hail from the Isles, and I do expect a certain sophistication from its programming. It’s not that I need obscure historical references in order to evoke a giggle, I just appreciate that, as opposed to many US shows, not every actor looks like they live at Hefner’s mansion, and not every joke is accentuated by obvious pauses, eye-rolling, and orchestrated laughter from a studio audience.
So far the show is good fun. Because of its spookiness and languid pace, I can only convince myself to watch it at bedtime, which is a minus.
It’s not uniformly entertaining. The scenes which focus on the core characters (the Doctor, his granddaughter Susan, and her school teachers, Barbara and Ian) are enjoyable and emotionally complex enough to be intriguing, though the actress playing the granddaughter seems to sometimes forget she’s on a TV show and not a West End production of Electra.
Inevitably there must be scenes which focus on the antagonists. In the first storyline, these happen to be a bunch of primitive cavemen, who may not know how to make fire, but manage to speak modern English better than most US high school students. These scenes tend to run long, so far.