Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)

The Invisible Enemy

Tonight’s soundtrack: Mission of Burma, “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate”

Now we’re in it.

The cable company refused to string a line down our street, there being only three houses on it at the time and that time being the early nineteen-eighties. And thereby was my life changed, for lo unto us was then delivered a VCR. 

Video. Cassette. Recorder. Without even getting into the fact that one was vastly less reliant on the whims of corporate faceless others for entertainment scheduling1, there was suddenly the ability to record video. I was already the sort of kid that laid his portable tape recorder up against the TV speaker and captured audio2 of, well, anything, really. It was the preservation that fascinated me. The capture of moments. Re-experiencing history. Now with full frontal viddity.3

Where I lived, the Boston PBS station played Doctor Who episodes every week night. The New Hampshire station played Doctor Who marathons every Saturday. Tapes were expensive. You couldn’t record just anything. Luckily, I had Boy Scout meetings. I was allowed to set the VCR for Doctor Who on nights I’d miss it otherwise.

So forgive me, but I absolutely adore The Invisible Enemy, Part 3. It was Doctor Who I could watch over and over and over.

It’s in my blood.

1 Sure, yes, they had to have the movie in at Marshall’s Fried Cigarette Hut (And Video Supermart!) but once you had it you could, oh rapture, choose when to watch it. The importance of independent media consumption cannot be overstated. Program, or get programmed.

2 That I would listen to nightly while “falling asleep.”

3If you had a front-loading VCR, you would feed the tape into the slot until there was a spongey, dull rubbery resistance, then it would kind of click and the servos whirred up, but you still pushed a little and it stayed right there a moment… and then the tape would be drawn away from you, sucked excitedly into the machine, he told the future.