Why Paul McGann Is My Favorite Doctor

I came to Doctor Who fairly late in life. I saw some Tom Baker episodes as a kid, but it wasn’t until the reboot in 2005, when I was 32, that I really fell in love with the show.

In 2013, I got a job answering phones in a car dealership. I sat at a counter and had very little to do. My bosses said as long as I answered the phones, greeted the customers, and topped up the coffee pot, I could do whatever else I wanted the rest of the time.

This seemed like a perfect opportunity to watch all of classic Who, and that’s just what I did. I watched every episode, even the shows that are nothing but still photographs with a soundtrack.

Before I finished, the 50th anniversary of the show rolled around, and thus my first exposure to Paul McGann, whose turn as the 8th Doctor in the TV movie I hadn’t reached yet. McGann starred in a short episode call Night Of The Doctor, and he was brilliant. Emotions right on the surface, McGann’s Doctor commanded every second of the episode in a way that left me desperate for more. Eventually I got to the TV movie, and while McGann was certainly good in that, the film as a whole wasn’t as strong as he was.

That’s when I discovered Big Finish.

Big Finish started making fully dramatized Doctor Who audio adventures during the years that the show was off the air. They’re fabulous at it. Smart scripts, great acting (including by many members of the cast of the TV show), and wonderful effects and music.

Big Finish have finally given McGann a canvas worthy of his skills. The Eighth Doctor Adventures, and the shows in Big Finish’s Main Range that preceded them, are completely engaging. McGann’s Doctor is in many ways the epitome of “New Who” — a moral, determined adventurer with a glint of the puckish spirit of many of his classic predecessors.

Whether you’re a fan of the current TV show, a devotee of classic Who, or just a fan of audio drama, you can’t do better than falling in love with the Eighth Doctor. And if you’re a completist, like I am, here’s a post that gives you the complete listening order. Enjoy!

Billy Crystal talks about his friend Robin Williams

Tonight I’m falling down the YouTube rabbit hole, and I’ve arrived at this lovely clip of Billy Crystal talking about Robin Williams two months after Williams died. Robin Williams was the first comedian I ever loved. He’s why I started watching stand-up.

Everything Is Stargate: (#5) Wreck-It Ralph

My favorite TV show is Stargate SG-1. I’m also a big fan of Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, and the original Stargate movie. Given how many episodes of those shows there were, I’ve noticed that nearly every English-language studio movie of the past 25 or so years, and nearly every sci-fi TV show, has somebody in it who appeared on a Stargate property. And if you include crew members, it’s even easier to make connections. It rarely takes more than two steps. In this new “Everything Is Stargate” series, I’m going to post photos from films I’m watching that contain people from Stargate.

This weekend my sons and I watched Wreck-It Ralph, a charming animated movie we’d all seen before and enjoyed. Martin Jarvis provides the voice of Saitine, pictured on the right here:

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Jarvis played Davos in an episode of Stargate Atlantis titled “The Seer.” Here he is (with Firefly‘s Jewel Staite on the left):

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Previous posts in the “Everything Is Stargate” series.

The second stand-up special I ever saw

This Norm MacDonald performance is the second stand-up special I ever remember seeing. I saw it in a hotel room on a band trip during my senior year in high school in 1991. About 8 minutes in is a bit about weiner dogs. I’ve quoted this bit many, many times over the years. Tonight I actually saw it for the first time since 1991 and was surprised that I’d come pretty close when repeating it. The whole special is very, very funny. And I enjoyed watching it this way, recorded on a grainy videotape.

By the way, this is first stand-up special I ever saw. My friends and I watched it over and over and over when we were in high school.

Everything Is Stargate: (#4) No Country For Old Men

My favorite TV show is Stargate SG-1. I’m also a big fan of Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, and the original Stargate movie. Given how many episodes of those shows there were, I’ve noticed that nearly every English-language studio movie of the past 25 or so years, and nearly every sci-fi TV show, has somebody in it who appeared on a Stargate property. And if you include crew members, it’s even easier to make connections. It rarely takes more than two steps. In this new “Everything Is Stargate” series, I’m going to post photos from films I’m watching that contain people from Stargate.

After a weekend of watching some pretty atrocious movies, I ended my night last night with No Country For Old Men, which features Thomas Kopache in a minor role (seen below with Josh Brolin). Kopache was in one episode of Stargate SG-1, among many other film and TV appearances.

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Previous posts in the “Everything Is Stargate” series.