The Doctors
Music Video Distributors // Unrated // $14.99 // September 10, 2002
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted November 20, 2002
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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 on PBS.

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 dressed females.

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 series.

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