Saturday, October 20, 2007

Serial Television

As I may have mentioned, I'm watching the entire run of Doctor Who in sequence, having started early in 2006 when the first three adventures were released on DVD. Earlier travellers down this path have followed strict guidelines, such as "one episode a day; no more, no fewer" and "no other episodes outof sequence". I've not imposed any such constraints - sometimes I'm too busy, and sometimes I've needed to jump forward to research something. But in recent weeks, I have been usually managing an episode a day, sometimes more.

This can be quite wearing. I listen to the commentary tracks seperately after I've watched the episodes. Although a year may have passed for Barry Letts and Katy Manning in between recording their commentaries, I experienced three of them in a matter of days. Hearing Katy aver for the third time that James Acheson won an oscar for "The Littlest Emperor" (sic) is a specialist form of entertainment.

I've just entered an enchanted passage. Not only are the stories I'm watching from my own golden age, when I was eight years old, but they're very well represented on DVD. From Robot part one to Genesis of the Daleks part six, there are sixteen consecutive episodes on DVD. To enhance the serial feeling, I've tried to break up my viewing sessions, so that I don't watch a whole story in one sitting, but if I finish a story, I do watch the start of the next one. This seems particularly appropriate to Tom Baker's first run, in which the individual stories were closely linked and depended on their sequence.

Last night I watched The Ark In Space part four, and The Sontaran Experiment part one, went away, and then came back and watched part two, and then Genesis of the Daleks part one. I haven't enjoyed nostlagia so much in ages. The remastered and restored episodes looked wonderful, my appreciation of the small but perfectly formed Sontaran Experiment was reinforced, and I was reminded of how my love for Doctor Who deepened at the time of original transmission.

It really doesn't get much better than this.