Almost fifty years ago on 23 November 1963 a British television series named Doctor Who premiered with the episode, "An Unearthly Child," which is what I am reviewing today in honor of the series' 50th Anniversary.
"An Unearthly Child," the original pilot episode of Doctor Who that premiered almost 50 years ago. To get my Doctor Who fix while waiting on the 50th Anniversary, I decided to try and watch a few of the old Doctor Who episodes. Since the old Doctor Who seasons are never shown in America, this is one of the few episodes that I have seen of the old Doctor Who series, however I was able to find full episodes on Daily Motion, albeit in poor quality. Does the Doctor's first adventure hold up today? Additionally, since few readers have actually seen this episode, this will not give away any big spoilers, although there is not a lot to spoiler about it.
"An Unearthly Child" is a four part story arc consisting of four 30 minute episodes. The first starts with two school teachers, who are suspicious of a teenage girl who is incredibly smart but occasionally talks as if she is from the future. Long story short, the girl is the Doctor's granddaughter and the teachers follow her to the TARDIS. Also she gave the TARDIS, its name.
The first episode of the arc was quite interesting and entertaining to see the show's origin and I would probably give it a 8/10, mostly for being the first episode and overall well made. However, the second, third, and fourth episodes felt severely lacking. In those episodes the Doctor and companions inadvertently get stuck sometime in the past with cavemen trying to make fire and unfortunately, this is where the story arc goes downhill. It is terribly corny and poorly acted by the cavemen. Normally classic sci-fi is my thing, but it was just too low quality in story for me to consider it all that great, although that was what I had expected from the show's first episode.
Now to focus on the cast. It was fascinating to see William Hartnell as the Doctor and how much the character has changed over the last 50 years and he has certainly changed a great deal. In this, he believes humans to be inferior and he cares little for them. I assume he later becomes fond of the human race as the series continues. The Doctor's granddaughter, Susan, is a likeable character and well acted by Carole Ann Ford. Jacqueline Hill and William Russell were decent as the unsuspecting companions of the Doctor. All of the cavemen characters were terribly acted. Even though they are suppose to be dumb cavemen, they were laughably bad.
Overall: 7.0/10- Not a terrible start by the standards of the era, but a terribly good one either. For Doctor Who fans, who have seen all of the episodes of the recent series and are wanting for more Who, I recommend checking this four part story arc out, mostly for its historical significance.
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