In Too Deep Into Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Doctor Who, where I over-analyse each of the Doctors to find out which is best.
The way this is going to run is very simple: I take ten categories and give each Doctor points 1 to 10 along the way. Now some of this may seem familiar since I will be repeating myself, but I plan to have this be a be all and end all look at my favourite fictional character. So join me each week as work out which of the Doctors in my absolute favourite.
I love the wide-eyed idealist of this character. He’s just so happy with the world going on around him and wants to experience everything as quickly as he can. But maybe more then any other Doctor he gets some wonderful character development. And by wonderful I mean he gets forced into becoming the War Doctor. But despite this I still do love how happy the Eighth Doctor starts off being, and do feel sorry for what ultimately happens to him. 9/10.
Okay this Doctor had two widely different costumes (three if you count the audio stories). The first was a cowboy fancy dress costume that works for a Doctor like this. Sure it’s fancy and over-the-top, but this unreality is similar to how the Doctor was. It was theatrical, just like him. Meanwhile the second costume has lovely little hints of the original while also reflecting how the Doctor has become much darker and more troubled life. Again it’s a costume that reflects the character perfectly and sums up both eras of him. 7/10.
The Story: Now I mentioned it briefly a week or so ago, but for those that haven’t seen it, it’s a classic tale between the Doctor and the Master. Very standard ho-hum sort of stuff. A very odd choice since they were trying to market it to an American audience but hey, what can you do? It’s an average story that is nothing to write home about. 5/10.
The Doctor’s Introduction: â€œA meteor storm. The sky above us was dancing with lights! Purple, green, brilliant yellow… Yes! [What?!] These shoes! They fit perfectly!â€ It’s a great moment that really sums up this Doctor. He spends most of the story amnesic (seriously, what is with writer’s and their love of making the Doctor forget stuff), but when it comes time to shine he does so brilliantly. It takes time for him to appear, but it’s well worth the wait. 5/10.
Overall: This a story that sits right in the middle there. It’s both great and rubbish. It has a lot of good and a lot of bad. It takes time to explain things to the audience that ultimately bog down the plot, while trying to strip it back to its bare basics. What more is there to say about it other than how middle of the road it is? 5/10.
Final Verdict: 15/30 aka 5/10
Grace Holloway: She’s a doctor who bonds well with the Eighth Doctor. They work off each other well. She’s more level-headed while he’s more flighty. But any good points she can make is lost because she refuses to travel with the Doctor, despite having nothing on Earth to keep her there. It’s a shame really, but they couldn’t afford her to leave. 4/10.
Charley Pollard: He said her name, totally counts as official. Being the only audio companion I know, I can safely say that she is a great companion. The two get on swimmingly and, when they say they love each other, it doesn’t feel forced or clichÃ©d. It makes sense that these two would love each other in a semi-platonic way. Great companion, who also joins up with the Sixth eventually. 9/10.
Final Score: 13/20, aka 6.5/10
Honourable Mentions: Well there’s the TV Movie and… well just that really.
Story: Night of the Doctor gave us what we always wanted: Paul McGann’s regeneration. And it’s a brilliant story. I won’t say more because I’m talking about it later, but suffice it to say that it’s just fantastic. 8/10.
Monster: Well there really isn’t a monster in this story… at all. I mean there’s barely a story at all to begin with, but since the rules are sadly strict, no monster is no points. 0/10.
Nostalgia Factor: Jim Bevan sent this to me and I decided to click on the link, not expecting much… and uttered the biggest squee I’d ever uttered in my life. It was just so unexpected and amazing. This was like the good old days where I had no idea what was about to happen next in Doctor Who. I didn’t have spoilers or a schedule. I didn’t know what was in store for me. So seeing this complete fresh without any prior warning was an experience I hadn’t had for the longest time. 10/10.
Best Moment: â€œI’m a Doctor. But probably not the one you’re expectingâ€. No moment has made me jump up and down more than that moment there. Such a simple, brilliant moment that made my jaw drop and fall in love with the Eighth Doctor all again. Why oh why have we not seen more than him? 10/10.
Ranking: If I had only twelve episodes of Doctor Who to watch, and I had to rank those twelve from best to worse, this would be number five, giving a score of 6/10.
Final Verdict: 34/50 aka 6.8/10
Dishonourable Mentions: None, since he’s only been on TV twice. Turns out this is going to help him a lot.
Story: The Doctor crashes on Earth, regenerates, and has to stop the Master from taking over the world. It’s pretty much the most simplistic story you could get. I can’t really complain except for the ending, which is a pretty bad ass-pull of just going back in time and thus stopping it from happening. 8/10.
Monster: Again, the Master. But this time by Eric Roberts, so he loses a few points for not doing a very good job of it. I mean yes the Master is hammy, but there’s a skill to it that he just does not have. 5/10.
Guilty Pleasure Factor: Since for the longest time it was the only Eighth Doctor story we had, I had to recommend it for no other reason than because it existed. Still I don’t think it’s all that bad and Paul McGann does quite a lot right about it. 7/10.
Worst Moment: â€œI’m half-human,â€ said the Doctor, before kissing his companion. Nope. Just… Nope. None of that. Shame on you Doctor Who. 0/10.
Ranking: Ranking these twelve episodes from favourite to less favourite, this one comes in at number one, giving it a 10/10.
Final Verdict: 30/50 aka 6/10.
Best Speech/Moment (Television only)
His best moment is, fittingly enough, his last. He has so many great lines. For example, after being told he has four minutes of life, he cries â€œFour minutes? That’s ages. What if I get bored, or need a television, couple of books? Anyone for chess? Bring me knitting.â€ A brilliant snarky moment. But as it goes on we learn about the toll that has been put on him, before he finally decides that he needs to step up and fight. When it’s confirmed that the regeneration will hurt he replies: â€œGood. Charley, C’rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly, friends, companions I’ve known, I salute you. And Cass, I apologise. Physician, heal thyself.â€ For those that don’t know, the names are a reference to the Big Finish audio series featuring Paul McGann, officially making them all canon. But more than that, it’s a great moment where we see the 8th Doctor in a nutshell. A wide-eyed idealist even to the end. 9/10.
Could writers be handed a single greater gift then the Eighth Doctor? He appears on our screens for just once in 1996 and leaves a giant void that everyone rushes to fill. And you end up with three totally separate continuities. The books give him the personality of a forgetful professor that doesn’t have all his own marbles, who at one point rips out one of his hearts and walks the Earth (yeah the books are weird like that). The audio dramas have him more as being a brilliant man that totally lacks common sense, who at one point goes into a separate mini-universe that has no time and travels with Mary Shelly (and although those two events are unrelated, the audio dramas are weird like that). In the comics, you get a third type of Doctor whose a mix of those two and more. So here you have a character who is essentially three different characters. While the books and comics keep him (mostly) happy, the audio dramas love breaking him down and making him a much sadder man as the Time War draws near. He is the most varied of all the Doctors, at both times interesting and confusing. Still he was a blank slate the writers happily played with. 10/10.
The Story: No one, and I mean no one, saw Night of the Doctor coming. I cannot describe the ecstasy I got from watching this little short. Sure it was made in service of the Fiftieth and as a way of justifying the changes in canon, but damn if it still ain’t just a great little short. 8/10.
The Final Moment: â€œYou’ll be dead in a little under four minutesâ€. To which the Doctor complains that he might get bored. Honestly I could gush about this short, but I’ll do it another time. Lets just say it’s a rather sad end to a rather brilliant Doctor who got overlooked. And who probably had some of the best final lines of a Doctor. 10/10.
Overall: This is a fantastic short that in just a short amount of time deals with everything it needs to. Paul McGann is fantastic and needs to come back some more (Sixtieth anniversary anyone?). The only downside is that we don’t get to see much of the new Doctor, and it’d be nice if there was more of it. But still a fantastic short. 9/10.
Final Verdict: 27/30 aka 9/10
I suppose, given that there are only two stories, we can only give a score somewhere between halfway. The TV Movie is decent if not great, while the Night of the Doctor is fantastic if not legendary. The Expanded Universe gives a lot of background as well, but at the end of the day this overall package is still too spread out to be effectively enjoyed. 7.5/10.
Final Verdict: 75.8/100
So there you have it. My look at this Doctor. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Tune in next week for my take on the next Doctor on the list. Till next time.