The Doctors is a capable, but not quite compelling documentary, that details the
creation and evolution of the British sci-fi television show Dr. Who. Comprised
of interviews and home video footage, it's an exhaustive and complete look
and the classic television show that many will remember from American broadcasts
Conceived by Sydney Newman and Donald Wilson in 1963, it aired in various formats
until 1993. Several television movies were produced and the legacy spans books
and other media as well.
The Doctor's true name is never give, but the series did reveal that
he was a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. Unlike the rest of his race, whom
he was often at odds with, the Doctor traveled the universe in his Police Box
(a British telephone booth for policemen). He faced various enemies, like the
Daleks, Cyber-Men and the Master and was often companioned with various scantily
Over time, the first actor to portray the Doctor, William Hartnell, grew tired
of the role and decided to leave in 1966. With this, the producers conceived
of one of the most brilliant ideas in the Doctor's history. His police
box would allow him to regenerate his body. This allowed the completely different
looking Patrick Troughton to take over the role with one sentence of explanation.
With an inevitable way out when actors grew tired of the role, the Doctor looked
to be in for the long haul. With every "regeneration" the writers
looked at it as an opportunity to reinvent the show and give the Doctor a new
personality. When the hobo-like Troughton decided it was time to move on, Jon
Pertwee was brought in as the Doctor was exiled to the 20th Century. Pertwee
is often called the "dandy" Doctor because of his fancy dress and
young appearance. He was also the most action oriented of the Doctors and stayed
with the role for five years. After a reunion of sorts with his past incarnations
the Doctor's exile from Earth was lifted and the fourth Doctor was created.
Tom Baker was without a doubt the most popular of the Doctors and his character
was unique. He was one of the most intelligent incarnations, as well as one
of the most humorous and aloof. Baker stayed with the show for a record seven
years and his run on the show was reinvented in itself several times. When he
finally decided to leave the show, the Doctor's latest regeneration would
be his youngest.
Peter Davison's Doctor displayed the innocence of his youth and often
jumped into situations headfirst. Another large reunion was planned and shortly
after that the sixth Doctor was revealed to be Colin Baker. Baker's Doctor
was a multicolored clothed Doctor that seemed like he didn't make it through
the regeneration process quite well. His was a Doctor that the public didn't
completely like and he was replaced later with the seventh Doctor, Sylvester
McCoy, who stayed with the series until its eventual end in 1993.
Never to be outdone, the Doctor was revived in 1996 by Fox television for a
movie called The Enemy Within. In an ode to his history, previous Doctor Sylvester
McCoy was killed in the beginning and regenerated into the Doctor's eight
incarnation, played by Paul McGann. The Doctor must save 1999 San Francisco
for a plot by the Master and enlists the aid of another helper. The movie didn't
do well enough for a follow up or new series, as hoped, and is currently the
last incarnation of the Doctor.
As fascinating as the Doctor's history is, the same cannot be said for
this documentary, which I assume was unauthorized, since no footage or music
from the show is present. What you're left with is an informing and lengthy
set of interviews that are inherently boring and uninteresting to the casual
viewer. For a legion of Dr. Who fans, it might be the next best thing to a new
incarnation, but for average fans, it's hard to stay awake.
Video: Seemingly culled from the lowest quality footage available,
the video is a horrendous mess of washed, faded and overexposed color. It's
grainy and off-colored and thoroughly annoying to watch. The picture is clear
enough to tell who and what is happening, but the quality is below VHS.
Audio: Similar to the video, it's all low quality. While
never annoying, the mono mix is muted and the levels vary from scene to scene.
Extras: With the exception of a few moments of low-quality
home video footage, there is nothing else included on the disc.
Overall: This is a disc strictly for die-hard fans. The quality
is low, but plenty of information is revealed. For a mainstream audience, it's
not a great product or introduction to one of Sci-Fi's longest running