New Who vs. Classic Who: Earth & Gallifrey

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Does new Who spend too much time on earth? Was it a mistake to lose Gallifrey? John Hussey investigates.

Due to the vast nature of Doctor Who, I have decided to write a second addition to my New Who vs. Classic Who article, this time looking at the contrasts and similarities within new and different subjects. I intend to give more opinions and delve deep into the continuous battle and see what has changed and what has remained the same and to see why some prefer one era to the other.

Earthbound

Now this is a thing that has bugged me for a long time and I thought I would express my opinions on the matter. Ever since Doctor Who returned to our screens in 2005 we have had a very Earthbound structure which has somehow managed to clamp the TARDIS from moving away from Earth for more than a few episodes at a time.

The first series had the Ninth Doctor either landing in Earth’s present, past or future. The furthest he got away from Earth was either Satellite Five in ‘The Long Game’ and ‘Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways’ or Platform One in ‘The End of the World’. I didn’t complain at the time, nor did I complain about the Doctor returning to present-day to allow his companion to see her family, but after a few series’ of this structure happening, it started to get very annoying.

Most of the Doctor’s adventures within the new series are set on Earth within its different timelines with his adventures in space and on other planets going down to minimum. This is why I prefer the classic series in many ways as the focus wasn’t completely on the companions, nor were the majority of the episodes set on Earth. Many of their episodes were set on different planets and many different species and Humanoid races were created, making the Doctor’s adventures seem a lot wider. I wouldn’t say the imagination of the writers in modern-day has gone as such, but in some ways the word “laziness” comes to mind. I’m not trying to give the new writers a hard time or anything because they are all brilliant but sometimes they need to remember the TARDIS is a space/time machine and can go anywhere; meaning beyond Earth.

Gallifrey and the Time Lords

I was going to do a part concerning the change in the Doctor’s character but I believe that can wait, as I believe such a huge and wide subject should have its own article which I may do in the future. So instead I decided to choose another interesting subject; the Time Lords. As we know the Time Lords are the mighty race of time travelling geniuses from Gallifrey whose mythology in Doctor Who is massive. Meant to be the Doctor’s own race and allies, they have shown their fair share of corruption and ill-thoughts against the Doctor’s heroic actions throughout the show.

As much as I liked the whole story of the Time War back at the beginning of the new series, I started to dislike it slightly after I began watching more of the classic series and the fantastic stories that either involved the Time Lords or was set on Gallifrey. It saddens me that they are no longer in the show. Writing out the Time Lords was, in many ways, a bad move because a huge chunk of story-telling in Doctor Who has been removed.

I love such stories like ‘The Deadly Assassin’, ‘The Invasion of Time’, ‘Arc of Infinity’ and ‘The Five Doctors’ where the Doctor returned to his home-world and faced against his race and their strange laws as well as perhaps dealing with a certain threat that they couldn’t deal with because of their lack of thinking outside of the box. Lots of story developments where made throughout those stories with the prime example being that of the character of Borusa and his slow development from a high-powered Cardinal to a corrupted Lord President.

With Gallifrey now gone, such iconic stories can never be made again and it’s a shame because I liked it when the Doctor interacted with his own people. It is nice to see a destroyed Doctor who fears to look back into the past due to its dark nature of genocide but I would much prefer to see him return to Gallifrey and have an adventure. Another thing I dislike about their story within the new series is the fact in ‘The End of Time’ Russell T Davies made them totally corrupt.

Now I know from experience in watching their stories in the classic series that they can produce corrupt specimens and as a race can be corrupt as a whole as seen in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ but I never assumed they would ever go as far as becoming evil. ‘The End of Time’ in many ways wasn’t an honest depiction of their character and sort of destroyed their honour in making their mighty race break their own laws in such a bad manner. I know the Time War must have been terrible but it was still bad writing making them evil in my opinion because the Time Lords I knew wouldn’t have committed such actions. I would have much preferred it if Russell had brought them back to aid the Doctor, rather than trying to destroy time.

It seems like in this article I’m more leaning towards the classic series, so I’ll now move more back into the centre for my conclusion.

It is true that in many ways I like the classic series better because of its more inventive nature within storytelling and its settings along with its originality but that doesn’t mean I think it is the best. At the end of the day it is all one show and it will always remain one show.

The new series has brought a lot of cool things to Doctor Who like the extensive story-arcs, the Christmas Specials and above all the continuing development of the Doctor. It has shown many different personalities of his character, from a war-torn hero, to an emotional survivor to finally a mad professor who has finally begun to move on while still maintaining his mysterious figure and act of anger and judgement. The new series is just as good as the classic series but these little nit-picks are just a few things I would like to return and merged into the new format of the show to get a mixture of both eras.

Anyway I leave the judgement up to you but I hope these articles do help with expressing your opinions and feelings on our favourite television programme that is Doctor Who.

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