Rifftrax: The Five Doctors (1983)

The last new Rifftrax Live of the year turned out to be a skewering of an early-model-fan-service “Dr. Who” special called “The Five Doctors”. The original should probably be mandatory viewing for those who insist that “Dr. Who” is something other than a children’s show. (Much like the various Ewok specials should be mandatory viewing for those who take Star Wars too seriously.) And I say this as someone who likes classic “Dr. Who”.

Maybe he dropped out after.

One of these figures is, in fact, a wax dummy.

The Rifftrax version, of course, is pretty fine viewing for everyone, though it must be admitted that the show has so much low-hanging fruit—the series has never been a glitzy high-budget TV show like, say, the ’70s “Battlestar Galactica” *kaff*—it could be in serious danger of seeming cruel. Fortunately, while there are plenty of shots at the frankly comical budgetary constraints, a general sense of good-natured silliness pervades.

Wonder how they did that suit back then?

The guy in the skin suit is “The deadliest assassin ever created” or somesuch.

As an attempt to cash in on nostalgia, it suffers from the fact that they only got three out of the five doctors. (The original TV Doctor, William Hartnell, had died in ’75 and Tom Baker was through with it for a while, so they just used scenes from an unaired show he had done while he was playing the part.)

In and amongst the stunned silences, as one gets from the truly bad source material, and the hasty attempts to get out in front of things that already absurd (sometimes rendering riffs gratuitous), you have a lot of good, creative and outside-the-box jokes that make the whole thing worthwhile.

I liked it better than the Summer Shorts session, which I felt was very uneven somehow, and it was less disorienting than Samurai Cop.

These are not great drawings.

They maybe should’ve called it “Three out of Five Doctors”.

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