Like all Whovians (fans of the Doctor Who tv show), I have my own list of favorite "Doctor" incarnations. Here it is from top favorite to least favorite. I personally enjoy each incarnation but some just had better story lines.
1st: #9 and #10 – Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant respectively — The first place spot is tied between #9 and #10. Eccleston’s 9th Doctor was the one that brought me back to watching the series, and though he was only around for one season he had made a big impact while Tennant’s 10th Doctor keeps me watching. The writing for both incarnations have been a superior example of what good science fiction should be. And sure, both are dead sexy (especially the current one), but both actors who portray their respective characters are so immensely talented and both doctors are equally enjoyable. I find it difficult to choose between them. Frankly if the characters were real and came to me I would follow either of them no questions asked lol. #9 had an air of mystery about him, he could be dark and moody one minute and the next minute be bright and cheery and full of energy with a love for good adventure, but there were things he would not openly speak of (namely the Time War) and many times you just want to give him a comforting hug. #10 is not so moody and is more childlike, but don’t piss him off because you just don’t want to see his angry face nor feel his wrath. Both were sensitive and caring, and never backed away from a challenge. And because of their performances as The Doctor, I have found two actors who I probably would have not otherwise discovered and come to enjoy many of their other works which are not prominently displayed here in the United States.
2nd: #4 – Tom Baker — Second place is the one I remember best from my childhood days, the one most popular here Stateside back in the 1970s and 1980s. The first one I was exposed to and longest serving so far. #4 made such an impact on so many, that you can even see a spark of influence in the way David Tennant portrays the current Doctor right on down to the wide, toothy smile. He was, as his predecessors, bold and daring and had a slight maniacal edge to him. His last couple seasons began to get a bit silly due to a change in writing staff (which is the most often touted reason for the actor leaving), but look to earlier episodes and you will find some of the most daring episodes allowed at that time. This era showed more mature writing that made it appeal to adults, many who obviously grew up watching the show. Before Doctor #4, the series was originally geared towards children, usually the 7-14 age group. Now, the companions were a bit more scantily clad, the adventures were a bit more violent (which prompted the change in writing staff), and had an appeal beyond the kiddie set. It was no longer just a pop culture icon for the kids, but also a guilty pleasure for the grown ups too. And on a side note, Tom Baker still has that wonderfully powerful voice that, for me anyways, is as recognizeable as James Earl Jones or Patrick Stewart.
3rd: #2 – Patrick Toughton — Recently, I’ve discovered the incarnations from before the Tom Baker era through the magic of videos. Many would think that all of my top five would be the ones from my lifetime, but no. Though most of the Troughton era Doctor Who episodes have been destroyed, some remain so that future generations may too discover these old gems. I am not one hung up on "Star Wars" style special effects as long as you have a solid story, and many of the 1960s era episodes had just that. Look past the cheesy rubber suits and let your imagination take hold as viewers would have back then. Most featured great adventures enjoyable to everyone, though the final season of the Troughton years seemed a bit bland as if the well of writing creativity was drying up. The 1966-67 and 1967-68 seasons were the best. Two favorite episodes of mine are the two featuring the Daleks both from the 1966 season. Doctor #2 was a sneaky bugger, often pretending to be an eccentric oaf to throw people, especially his adversaries, off track while he himself formulated the plan that would save the day. Many times he would even throw off his companions. Many believe that if it were any other actor taking over the role from #1, the series would have died. Not knowing much of Troughton’s work, I cannot say if that would have been true or not but he did play the role very well until the end.
4th: #1 – William Hartnell — The one that started it all, Doctor #1 comes in 4th on my list. Starting in 1963 and originally intended as a children’s show, Doctor Who delivered adventure unlike anthing else airing in Great Britain at the time. Despite having a production budget of next to nil (we’re talking equivalent to the original Star Trek here), the show managed to entrance many young viewers with great stories of a time and space travelling alien who took others along with him on journeys beyond belief in a wooden English police box. Many of the stories are still enjoyable to this day, and it is a disgrace that many have been destroyed depriving we future generations. Some of the earlier ones of the era reminded me of the old Twilight Zone series which is another good show to watch still.
5th: #3 – Jon Pertwee — #3 had class, often said to have had almost a James Bond quality to him. Didn’t visit nearly as many planets as his predecessors, but was still fun to watch and wasn’t afraid to use his martial arts skills when needed. Back then, as the song goes, everybody was kung fu fighting… lol. The writing began to pick up again but the still limited budget still made for cheesy special effects and goofy looking monsters. Haven’t seen much of this era yet but so far so good, looking to see more.
6th: #5 – Peter Davison — Series began to somewhat go downhill here after awhile but much of #5’s early seasons were still decent stories. They seemed to have tried to go back to the idea of Doctor Who being a kiddie show, but face it innocence was lost during Tom Baker’s era and you cannot regain it without alienating some of the fan base. PBS, which carried the show here in the U.S., began to get erratic with the scheduling during the Davison years which helped me to lose my interest. A child’s interest can be more easily lost than gained at the age I was at the time. Some episodes I remember, and others I don’t.
7th: #7 – Sylvester McCoy — Putting some mystery back into the character despite the still ridiculous costumes. Unfortunately, by the 7th Doctor’s era nobody much cared about the show to put forth any effort in as most figured that the BBC would inevitably cancel the show anyways. Also this was about the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was in production and airing all across the world making Doctor Who look dull in comparison with its superior production value and fresh stories. There were a few gems of the era though like "Rememberance of the Daleks" and "Survival". Was a shame the Doctor and Ace (his last companion) did not get a proper sendoff as there was no definite yes or no to the cancellation question. According to one documentary, the actors didn’t know the show was finally axed until a couple days before the next season’s shooting was supposed to have begun. Doctor #7 did eventually get a "regeneration to 8th Doctor" scene in a poorly done made for tv movie. He deserved a much better way to go though as all the others went doing some heroic gesture.
8th: #6 – Colin Baker — Poor #6 never gets much lovin’ from fans. Wasn’t the actor’s fault though. Colin Baker did great at bringing a madness to his character. Face it, #6 was off his rocker, which may have put a lot of viewers off (but I liked). If Davison’s Doctor was the "uncle figure" then Colin Baker’s was the crazy cousin that escaped from the loony bin. The costumes the staff made the actors wear didn’t help the image much, it was a horrid sight if ever there was even for the 1980s lol. And gimmicky stuff abounded as well, crushing the Doctor’s style (gimmicks in a show should never outshine the star). He scores low on everyone’s lists though, because at the time the series was growing old and interest was dying so nobody put forth much effort into writing as it always seemed the show was teetering on the verge of cancellation. Must be hard to keep things fresh in a show that is over 25 years old. Things got so bad that at the end of his tenure, Baker refused to do a regeneration scene where he would morph into #7.
9th: #8 – Paul McGann — He coulda been a contender. The often forgotten Doctor. He appeared only once in a made for tv movie back in 1996. This movie was a collaborative effort between the BBC and a major Hollywood studio in an attempt to revive the franchise as well as make it appeal to an American audience. I think Americanizing it was the wrong way to go personally. Myself, I find it insulting that the BBC felt the need to call upon Hollywood instead of keeping their creative control making it the way it should have been made. It would be like if the producers of Star Trek turned the established American franchise over to the BBC despite the fact that there are already Star Trek fans in Britain that like the show as is. If a show is already somewhat known, as Doctor Who was even if not on the grand scale of Star Trek, it is loved for what it already was and there is no need to try to appeal when the appeal was already there. Science fiction is a strange thing, you either like it or you don’t. I would be appalled if someone tried tampering with Star Trek and I would be appalled if they ever tried mucking about with Doctor Who again (especially now). As far as the Doctor #8 goes, McGann didn’t really get the chance to put his own stamp on the character. Would have been interesting to see how he would have done, as some have said the man is a good actor. They should possibly at some point make another movie for #8 and make it about the Time War before he regenerated into #9. Not like you would be breaking any rules doing that as the man never had a series so you wouldn’t be interrupting any continuity.
For those who have no clue as to what this particular post was about, as I have stated before I am a scifi fan. I felt like sharing with you, the reader, a little bit of my enjoyment of a show called "Doctor Who" which is a tv series from England that spans over 40 years. Think of it as the U.K.’s "Star Trek". If you are a scifi lover like me, you may wish to sample the show and perhaps add it to your own list of favorite tv shows. If not, that is fine too and you can think me geeky all you want
Maybe tomorrow, if you’re nice, I’ll share a bit of Star Trek with you. lol