I have vague memories of watching Happy Days as a kid — I suppose around the later 1970s to early 1980s, which means it would have been during its original run. I recall it as a frivolous show, a series of undemanding, jocular set-pieces playing on the humour of the Fonz’s being so much cooler than everyone else, almost to the point of it being a superpower.
I’ve recently been watching it from the start. It’s not what I expected at all.
It’s really not Doctor Who‘s fault at all this time.
But, oh boy, I am annoyed.
For tedious practical reasons, we weren’t able to watch Dark Water, the first part of the two-part series finale, on Saturday night when it came out. So instead we carefully avoided all information about it, and sat down as a family to watch it on Sunday afternoon.
And we thoroughly enjoyed it — the sense of mystery, the truly dark horror, the building tension, the series of carefully calibrated clues, and finally the reveal of exactly what the skeletons in the fishtanks were. A moment of shocking recognition, one of the high-points of the series.
Except that some genius at the BBC decided to use this image as the episode header on the iPlayer, so we all knew what was going to happen.
Briefly (because I do intend to go back and review all this series’ episodes in a few months, when everyone else isn’t already doing it) …
I love Peter Capaldi’s take on the Doctor, I think that Listen is one of the very best episodes ever, and I thought that Series 8 was shaping up to the very best of the new series (which for me makes it the best ever).
Then this happened.
I’m writing on Sunday night, and full of anticipation for next Saturday, when we’ll see the Twelfth Doctor for the first time. (My family will be camping near Swansea; we and the friends we’re with will all go into a cinema in Swansea to see the new episode as it’s broadcast.)
To help get us all warmed up, here is the chapter Looking Forward from my recent book The Eleventh Doctor — my preview of what I hope the Peter Capaldi era will bring. Enjoy! (And don’t forget to buy the book if you haven’t already!)
I wonder to what extent William Hartnell’s look as the first Doctor Who was based on eminent Victorian naturalist Richard Owen?
Left: William Hartnell; right: Richard Owen.
Perhaps the irascible character of the first Doctor was also informed by Owen?
It came through the door this morning!
My book The Eleventh Doctor: a critical ramble through Matt Smith’s tenure in Doctor Who has been available in electronic form for more than a week now [amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, others]
Now it’s also available in paperback! (At present, it’s only available direct from Lulu, where it’s printed. In six to eight weeks it should also appear on the various Amazon stores.)