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Can you recommed a good Doctor Who "starter" DVD

Can you recommed a good Doctor Who "starter" DVD

 
Old 01-25-04, 05:30 PM
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Can you recommend a good Doctor Who "starter" DVD

(Note: Originally posted in the DVD Reviews and Recommendations forum.)

I've been thinking about picking up a Doctor Who DVD and would like to know, out of all the available discs out there, which one would make a good choice to start off. Back in the seventies and early eighties, TVO (Ontario's version of PBS) used to broadcast Doctor Who each week. I caught many Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker and Peter Davison episodes (mostly Baker) and vividly remember details from "Genesis of the Daleks," specifically the character Davros. So, what DVD would you recommend I start off with, which may potentially lead me to pick up more? Is "Robots of Death" a good choice? I figured, start off with the Doctor I'm most familiar with.

Last edited by Damage; 01-28-04 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 01-25-04, 09:19 PM
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Actually, I'd like to know the same thing.
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Old 01-26-04, 08:59 AM
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Robots of Death is a great first choice, if you're familiar with Tom. Talons of Weng-Chiang would be another good one, as this is a very popular episode, and the two-disc set includes the great Whose Doctor Who documentary. Personally, I'd avoid the Key to Time Box Set as a starter, but The Ark in Space isn't too bad, and includes a fun commentary with Tom, Lis Sladen and the director.

Personally, Tom's my favorite Doctor, so I can't really tell you what to do regarding the Third or Fifth Doctor discs, except to say that Caves of Androzani just won a Doctor Who Magazine poll as the best episode ever. Also, it's pretty safe to say that you should avoid The Five Doctors until you've at least obtained more than a passing familiarity with the show. It's pretty much a "Greatest Hits" show, with the majority of the fun coming from old Doctors, companions, and villains popping up to make guest appearances.

Also, I wouldn't ignore the first two Doctors either, as Dalek Invasion of Earth and Tomb of the Cybermen are both great, if you enjoy 60's black-and-white low budget Sci-Fi.

As far as the last two Doctors go, some would probably recommend Remembrance of the Daleks, but I'd probably avoid this as a starter disc.

Last edited by evenswr; 01-26-04 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 01-26-04, 09:48 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations, evenswr!
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Old 01-26-04, 10:41 AM
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Yep, thanks

I just placed an order for "Robots of Death"

Lets see if the series is as good as I remember it to be.
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Old 01-26-04, 06:10 PM
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I always get excitied when people show interest in getting into Doctor Who... the best sci fi TV series ever!

If you want to start with the 4th Doctor Tom Baker (not my favorite Doctor, but without a doubt the most popular one and he had some awesome stories) I'd get Robots of Death or Ark in Space. Robots of Death was one of the very first DW DVDs and is a little low on extras compaired to the newer releases but the story is fantastic.

My personal favorite era is the classic 60's black and white stories with the first and second Doctor. "Tomb of the Cybermen" is wonderful, so is "Dalek Invasion of Earth"... if you can handle the black and white and not get bored by the old school slow pased story telling, these are wonderful fun sci fi stories! I love the old "B-Movie" feel to them.

anyway, to make a long story short, I'd start with one of these five, in order of how I would suggest them...
1. Robots of Death (4th Doctor) (4 epsidoes)
2. Tomb of the Cybermen (2nd Doctor) (4 episodes)
3. Ark in Space (4th Doctor) (4 episodes)
3. Dalek Invasion of Earth (1st Doctor) (6 episodes)
5. Talons of Wang Chaing (4th Doctor) (6 episodes)

I would avoid the Key to Time stories at first, the early Tom Baker stories were all time classic scary fantastic sci fi, but the later Tom Baker stories overall weren't nearly as good and got a little silly with K-9 the robot dog and the like. In My Opinion, of course.

Talons of Wang Chaing would be a good one to get after Robots of Death, as it's the story that follows directly after that one.

Genesis of the Daleks is my all time favorite, but sadly it's not out on DVD yet. I loved Davros too.

I wish I could suggest a Jon (3rd Doctor) Pertwee story, but the only 2 out on DVD are "Spearhead from Space" (a great story, but it's his first and he spends half the story sick in bed) and "Carnival of Monsters" (not bad at all, but not classic either, nice extras however).. both are ones to get, but not at first.

I'll say the same thing about the 80's stories with the 5th, 6th and 7th doctors... all good and ones to get, but watch the 60's and 70's stuff first, as that was Doctor Who in it's prime.

** one more thing for people brand new to Doctor Who, some sci fi fans who don't know about Doctor Who have complained to me that they would like to try Doctor Who but $19.99-$24.99 is way too much for one episode. These are NOT individual episodes, unlike Trek and other sci fi series, Doctor Who was shown in stories of multiple episodes, all the Doctor Who stories are movie length or longer, most are 4 episodes long, some are 6, 7, and more episodes long.

Lets see if the series is as good as I remember it to be.
I watched Who reruns in the 80's and just got back into it a couple years ago... I have to honestly say, I think it's better then I remember it. If you can look past the really low budget and the bad FX, the acting isn't too bad and the actual stories are classic imaginative sci fi, a million times better than the crap sci fi shows pass off as good sci fi today... plus, the stories are just so much fun to watch!

sorry about being so long winded, I just get excited about The Doctor!
Rob
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Old 01-26-04, 07:08 PM
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Perfect! Thanks very much, Rob!
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Old 01-27-04, 08:34 PM
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I used to be a big fan in the 80's and actually met the Master in an Elevator at a con.

I stammered "You're the Master"

He boomed "YES, I AM.

I was in geek heaven. I also once bought a drink for Colin Baker. Ok, that's the sum total of my Dr. Who stories.
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Old 01-28-04, 12:02 PM
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Moving to DVD Talk Forum.

- David Stein
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Old 01-28-04, 03:00 PM
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I've always favored the Robert Holmes stories: Talons of Wang Chaing, Robots of Death, Ark in Space, Power of Kroll, Ribos Operation, Caves of Androzoni and Two Doctors (although admittedly, thats one of his weaker entries).

He has such a flair for writing colorful supporting characters - Jago and Lightfoot in Talons is the perfect example of what I mean. And he produces such tight stories - 6 part Doctor Who often tends to drag from time to time. Not so when with a Bob Holmes script.

I'd probably go something like this:

01) Caves of Androzoni
02) Talons
03) Ark in Space

Getting away from the Holmes collection, I'd go with:
04) Spearhead from Space
05) Dalek invasion of Earth
06) Tomb of the Cybermen

Spearhead is one of the stronger introduction stories, and the first UNIT story. And yes, I know that Invasion was the first *PROPER* UNIT story, but that's not out yet is it - nor is it likely to be anytime soon. Dalek Invasion is a must because hey - you HAVE to get a Dalek story! And I think Tomb is just a great atmospheric piece.

Storys to stay away from:
The Five Doctors
Rememberance of the Daleks
Curse of Fenric

Not that these are bad stories or anything, but mostly because they use the Doctor Who mythology that's built up over the last 20 or so years. If you havent delved a lot into the show, quite a bit will go over your head. (One of the great failings of the show towards the end of the run, IMO).

***EDIT***
Also, dont forget to check out the two Peter Cushing Dalek movies. Sure, they're not part of the TV show continuity, but they're pretty slick in their own right. And hey, Cushing rocks in just about anything he does.

The Anchor Bay boxed set is probably the way to go, since the extra 3rd disc contains a pretty keen documentary about the Dalek frenzy of the mid 1960's.

Last edited by El-Kabong; 01-28-04 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 01-28-04, 03:13 PM
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Hey, thanks very much, El Kabong!
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Old 01-29-04, 06:16 PM
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Even though Caves of Androzani is my favorite DW story, I've found it's NOT a good introductory story for people. Once you've gotten comfortable with the show, THEN you can watch Caves whereon it will become your favorite.

And let's not forget the Key to Time stories are available individually - and among them, there IS a good starter (even though all the stories form one larger storyline). It's The Stones of Blood.

Another thought: When asked this very question but NOT restricted to DVDs, the most common response is City of Death. Since the DVDs are slightly on the expensive side, perhaps consider finding a VHS copy, even used, of City of Death.
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Old 01-29-04, 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by shill66




When asked this very question but NOT restricted to DVDs, the most common response is City of Death. Since the DVDs are slightly on the expensive side, perhaps consider finding a VHS copy, even used, of City of Death.
Actually, in a Doctor Who Magazine article about this very topic a couple years ago, City of Death was specifically mentioned as being not a good starter story, and I would have to agree. Partly because it doesn't really represent a typical Doctor Who story, and partly because I tried it on a friend and almost turned them off to Doctor Who. The first episode is mostly Tom and Lalla running around the streets of Paris for twenty-two minutes. I love it, (in fact, City of Death is probably my favorite) but I question using it as a starter story.

Last edited by evenswr; 01-29-04 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 01-29-04, 09:52 PM
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Originally posted by shill66
Even though Caves of Androzani is my favorite DW story, I've found it's NOT a good introductory story for people. Once you've gotten comfortable with the show, THEN you can watch Caves whereon it will become your favorite.
Why would you say that? I mean aside from the shock ending (of which I will not reveal here for the noobs), it's a more or less straight forward Who adventure.


Another thought: When asked this very question but NOT restricted to DVDs
Oh well if THAT's the case, and any episode is fair game, I'd probably expend the list to include:

* The very first episode of Unearthly Child (but not the Tribe of Gum parts)
* The Daemons (provided that you brief them a bit on The Master)
* The Time Warrior
* Pyramids of Mars
* Black Orchid
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Old 01-30-04, 08:44 AM
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I feel that Caves is not a good starter because of the ending.

If you're restricted to DVDs, I'd suggest Ark or Robots, or if you want Daleks, then I'd favour Resurrection over the other two that are available: Remembrance is, like someone already said, too much engrossed in series mythology, and I'd also pass over Dalek Invasion simply because if someone is a newcomer to "Who", this is not the story to start with, as many of the B/W stories plod along at a slow pace and might actually turn somebody off to "Who" if they weren't a fan to start with. I think Resurrection would play better to a newbie. I'm not saying '60s "Who" is really bad or anything, just probably not the sort of stuff that would "hook" a new viewer.

If you're not adverse to buying a VHS (and many of them are now available at bargain prices), I agree with somebody else in saying that Pyramids of Mars or The Time Warrior would be a good intro story. I've used Time Warrior as an intro story for two different friends back in my university days, and I must say it got [b]both[/i] of them hooked. But hey, when you've got a great Holmes character like the "evil" Irongron, you can't go wrong!
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Old 01-30-04, 09:14 AM
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Originally posted by mythmaker18
I feel that Caves is not a good starter because of the ending.
What do you mean, exactly? If you're referring to the regeneration, I think it's a great idea for a starter. Regeneration is an important part of Doctor Who, and the sooner you get used to it, the better.

I'd also pass over Dalek Invasion simply because if someone is a newcomer to "Who", this is not the story to start with, as many of the B/W stories plod along at a slow pace and might actually turn somebody off to "Who" if they weren't a fan to start with.
Good point, but I think that this type of story is so much a part of Doctor Who that it would still work as a starter, as long as you gently warn the newbie of the items you mentioned above. If they're easily turned off to slow paced B/W stories, they might not like Doctor Who to begin with.

I've used Time Warrior as an intro story for two different friends back in my university days, and I must say it got both of them hooked. But hey, when you've got a great Holmes character like the "evil" Irongron, you can't go wrong!
Still haven't seen this one. I'm currently in the midst of watching each story in order from the start. I'm in the middle of Wheel In Space, so it'll be a while until I get to Time Warrior.
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Old 01-30-04, 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by El-Kabong
Why would you say that? I mean aside from the shock ending (of which I will not reveal here for the noobs), it's a more or less straight forward Who adventure.
Originally posted by evenswr Actually, in a Doctor Who Magazine article about this very topic a couple years ago, City of Death was specifically mentioned as being not a good starter story, and I would have to agree.
The answer to both is "popular opinion". Having seen more polls about these two questions than some people have had hot dinners, I'm only imparting the information that Caves typically comes at the top or in the top three of a "favorite stories" poll, and City of Death is most often mentioned in a "what's a good starter story" poll.

Heck, I don't even agree with City of Death myself. I'd say Robot (no DVD) (which people tend to forget, for some reason), or two that I have actually used to introduce to new viewers, Pyramids of Mars (coming soon R2) and The Masque of Mandragora (no DVD).
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Old 01-31-04, 10:28 AM
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I'm sure this was brought up in the official Doctor Who thread, which I rarely go to because it's so huge and hard to keep up with.

But about the question here, I was just over at TVShowsOnDVD for something in a different thread, and I was reading up on the Doctor Who news there. In this news they mention:

Certain to be the highlight of this report is word of Doctor Who - The Beginning box set, containing An Unearthly Child (Story # 001, aka "100,000 BC"), The Daleks (Story # 002, aka "The Mutants", "The Dead Planet") and The Edge of Destruction (Story # 003, aka "Inside The Spaceship", "Beyond The Sun"), all starring William Hartnell.
Surely once that's released, which could be late 2004/early 2005 according to the rest of the story, IT will be the best item to go with for Doctor Who rookies...don't you think?

I've never actually seen these, in fact! So maybe not.
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Old 01-31-04, 12:35 PM
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Originally posted by Nierfacon
Surely once that's released, which could be late 2004/early 2005 according to the rest of the story, IT will be the best item to go with for Doctor Who rookies...don't you think?

I've never actually seen these, in fact! So maybe not.
Unearthly Child has it's ups and downs. The first episode is a pretty solid piece. It's got a lot of talking heads and exposition, but it's strong stuff. The final three parts, on the other hand, kind of drag and plod along. Now granted I havent seen the story in about a dozen years, so my opinion may change today, but it seemed that if I wasnt a fan already and enjoying the novelty of watching the first story, I wouldnt have stuck out the rest of the way.

The Daleks, on the other hand is a consistantly good story - but it is a seven-parter. The often slower paced Hartnel stories are best served in small chunks, like they were originaly presented. After 3 and a half hours in one sitting, the noob might very well be asleep.

Edge of Destruction/Inside The Ship/Beyond the Sun (or whatever they're calling it this week) is a short, well written character piece - but the set up for the characters is nessassary, or you'll have no idea who these bickering folks are. Great story, but not a great jumping on point.

No, after some consideration, I'm going to stick to my original assessment. Androzoni, Talons and Ark are the way to go.
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Old 01-31-04, 12:50 PM
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I'm going to second "The Caves of Androzani". It's very much a typical Dr. Who story (the Doctor arrives on some planet, finds some problem, attempts to solve it), it has some excellent cliffhangers, interesting characters, good acting from Davison, plus it has a regeneration scene. Oh yeah, and some nice Peri cleavage. What more could you ask for? The commentary is good too.

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Old 01-31-04, 06:31 PM
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I don't really think Dr. Who is the kind of series where you can watch one storyline and then "get it." It's really more of a vibe you happen to tap into. (If that makes any sense.)

I would compare it to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Even though Dr. Who doesn't have the same kind of big continuing story arcs that Babylon 5 and BTVS do, it's not really something you can really get hooked on instantly.

Ideally, I'd say start watching the Tom Baker run from "Robot" on. But with the wonky release schedule, that's an impossibility.
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Old 02-03-04, 09:08 PM
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I think I'm the only Doctor Who fan who thinks "Caves of Androzani" is way overated, it's just a cheap Phantom of the Opera in space story. It's ok, but not a "starter" story to get into the series at all.

To start off with Doctor Who watch something thats typical Who... with great monsters or robots with silly vocies invading earth or taking over the universe.

I find most of the so-called fan favorite classic Who stories are dull to the average viewer. My non-fan friend thought "Revenge of the Cybermen" was fantastic. (too bad thats not on DVD)
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Old 02-03-04, 11:32 PM
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How about including some specific settings for each of the stories?

(personally, my fav is Talons of Weng-Chiang, so I'll begin there)

Talons of Weng-Chiang: set in Victorian England, has a Sherlock Holmes feel to it, great humor, a creepy puppet, a sinister magician, and something terrible lurking in the sewers.

Robots of Death: murder-mystery in the future; pretty much a who-dunnit; great story though!

I'm too lazy to do the others right now, but I'd recommend those two. If you don't mind the slighter higher price tag, I'm sure you'll like Talons. Plus, it has a great extra on it that you'll find on no other disc (except Dalek Invasion of Earth)- it's a 2.5 minute 40th anniversary music video featuring some great scenes from the show's history, and very well mixed with the Who theme. Speaking of which...... I have sudden urge to pop that in again.
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Old 02-11-04, 08:02 PM
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I'm new to the Who universe and would like to know when they started shooting in color on this series? Also could someone recommend the best book about the Who series.I want to catch up on the whole series.
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Old 02-11-04, 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by Kolchak
I'm new to the Who universe and would like to know when they started shooting in color on this series?
1970. Spearhead From Space.

Also could someone recommend the best book about the Who series.I want to catch up on the whole series.
Either the Television Companion (tons of detail about every episode of Doctor Who) or The Legend (Pretty pictures).
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