AN UNEARTHLY CHILD
The 35 minute compliation unaired pilot
Just watched this and I must say it's lost none of its charm, atmosphere, or imagination. I love that Susan is so weird and she says, later on, that she was born the 49th century. It's amazing seeing this as two older school teachers are the hero and heroine, not some prattling 19 year old blond or some love sick black girl or some big blustery redhead (not that I don't like them) but ALL of these four characters are, for THIS time and age, so unlikely main characters. Back in 1963 maybe not as old whacky scientists, teachers, and strange genius alien kids were the norm and DOCTOR WHO, even in this inception has its roots in tons of other stuff and other media and tends to "borrow" from dozens of other things but nothing like this has ever been accomplished all under one banner and all with the same mysterious lead characters that continue.
The TARDIS is huge here and there are HUGE roundels that are the size of a human being, huge alcoves, a box like device, a strange giant pump like thing in the background, one wall being a curtain of roundels and curtains, strange devices and scientific markings of all kinds AND that huge lamp thing above them all. The CONSOLE doesn't have the platform on it.
That take off: maybe something is wrong with the TARDIS but it's probably the longest take off ever and the strangest with all those weird designs and everyone standing still and/or blacking out, passing out or just being weird.
Even menacing and nasty, William Hartnell has the charm and he was supposedly toned down in the finished version that did air but I love him in all three (or is that four?) versions.
This is probably, arguably, the best episode of DW ever and certainly the most imaginative as one can predict all sorts of far out adventures in time and space and other universes as the TARDIS can go ANYWHERE. The funny thing is it only goes someplace else in the last few minutes, spectacularly. Remember this is before or rather just before VOYAGE TO THE BTTOM OF THE SEA show, a few years before LOST IN SPACE, and more before STAR TREK and LAND OF THE GIANTS and THE TIME TUNNEL. True, again, there are roots in other things. DW here has little effects, little gloss and little by way of hardware...but none of it matters as the ideas here are imaginative and set the stage for far out adventures in time and space. It is all just so fresh even if it isn't. It feels like it has that special something that can spark imagination, ideas, and positive growth while also making us care about the teachers and Susan and leaving us wanting more and to find out about Susan and the Doctor. In short, it loses nothing today and isn't really even dated, even with the talk of the decimal system, Beatles sounding music (although I think for the aired version, a Beatles song was used but I might be wrong), London fog, classic cars, and other things.
Just WHAT is Susan drawing on that piece of paper...a Rorchach ink blot? A TARDIS? WTH? It's a strange bit there and she looks scared of what she drew and I think she crumbles it up. The actors are all pretty good, Carole Ann Ford as Susan being the weakest but even she does okay. The other three are very strong in this and Hartnell I found almost always great. He imbibes the Doctor with realism right from the start and even though he is in his 50s he seems so much older and at times, much scary as a villain almost.
Though this didn't air, there are some flubs, problems with the door, a camera showing up, camera shakings, etc but I don't care about that. It's just ...
A fantastic 35 minutes!