On rewatching episodes

My husband has been amused at the number of times I rewatched “The Day of the Doctor.” BBC iPlayer downloads last for seven days from the time you first view it, and I watched it at least once every day while I had it. Hmm, I don’t think I watched it twice in a day, but I could be wrong. So, I watched it a total of eight times, counting the theater viewing.

Two Peter Davisons in one episode!

Two Peter Davisons in one episode!

There are actually very few days in which I don’t rewatch some episode of Doctor Who. Unless there’s some new Netflix episode to watch (“Arc of Infinity” tonight, hopefully!), I’ll put on some episode, even if it’s just for background noise while I’m doing something else. If I don’t have the time to watch something, I’ll usually take seven minutes to watch “Time Crash” off of YouTube. Otherwise, the only days in which I’m not rewatching an episode is when we’re watching something else. (Yes, I do watch other things occasionally.)

(Side note: I just remembered that before getting hooked on Doctor Who, I rarely watched anything. My free time was mostly consumed by computer games, which is something I don’t do much anymore. I traded one obsession for another.)

Most of the time, I rewatch favorite episodes, but it’s really important to rewatch all the episodes. First, there are a lot of things that you miss on the first viewing: details you might have forgotten from the early part of the episode, subtle bits of characterization, that kind of thing. The writers also sometimes add in early episodes clues to later episodes, and they aren’t something you’re going to catch the first time around. I discussed one such case in an earlier post, though it may not be a clue so much as a coincidence. One of the greatest things about Doctor Who is that the show is deep and complex, and sometimes you can’t pick that up on one viewing.

I think, though, the most important thing is that on a second viewing, you already know the basic plot and can pay more attention to the rest of the episode, which can greatly alter your opinion of it. When I started this blog, I wrote that I really didn’t like the Eleventh Doctor, though over the course of viewing his episodes, I found that once I understood him, I liked him, but I really didn’t like the writing of his episodes. Well, I’ve been slowly rewatching his episodes, and I’m finding them to be a lot more enjoyable. I found the same thing with the Ninth Doctor: I’ve always said that the writing in the 2005 series wasn’t very strong, but my recent second viewing of the entire set has increased my opinion of them.

So, I encourage you to go back and revisit all the episodes when you can. I guarantee you’ll find something that’s better on the second viewing. My current plan is to rewatch “The Caves of Androzani,” an episode which is often hailed as the best Doctor Who episode ever. Despite being a fan of the Fifth Doctor, this episode in one ear and out the other, and I’m hoping I’ll grok it the next time. The episode that I can’t seem to get myself to rewatch is “Love and Monsters,” because that ending was so bad, it spoiled the rest of it – it had been so fun up to that point. I’ll try to take my own advice about it sometime soon.