By Baker’s era, things had started to deteriorate for the show. I had gotten caught up with the show enough to know its history and coming into this era would be an experience. But a good one or a bad one may be up to history…
RP: 2 – At least it’s trying to do some interesting things, and the Cryons work well as an all-female race, contrasting with the Cybermen on an emotional level as well. But other than that it’s just an excuse to throw in as many old ideas as possible, none of which really fit together, and the attention to detail is in all the wrong places. Pretty nasty at times, too.
ML: 4 – Indelible in almost all the wrong ways. That said, it has a lot of action, the Cybermen are still exciting, if not as scary as they once were, and the Doctor changes the outer shell of the TARDIS. So some things did work. Still below average, but not as bad as some others.
RP: 3 – Lots of aspects of this make it a very impressive story, ahead of its time, but it’s another nasty one, particularly the dialogue. Some great acting performances, but all of these things fail to add up to a viewing experience that’s actually enjoyable.
ML: 8 – I’ve got to go high here because I’m a big fan of allegory. It’s ahead of its time, but fails to capture a higher mark because it basically puts down the very thing Doctor Who is all about. While not a favorite of mine, I recognize the surreal nature of watching a violent show about people watching a violent show.
RP: 7 – The Master is there for no reason, Pip and Jane never could grasp the basics of human speech and the plastic trees should have been chopped down at the script editing stage. But the Rani is at her best here, and this is a breath of fresh air in amongst the grim stuff that surrounds it.
ML: 5 – Many good moments like the interior of the Rani’s TARDIS, meeting Robert Louis Stevenson, and seeing Peri prove she’s actually got a brain. But so many terrible ideas, I can’t get this one out of the average range. The Master and the Rani clearly attended the same class on disguises, the volcano trap is utterly idiotic, and the tree that was Luke… need I say more?
RP: 8 – Holmes was bored with Who a long time ago, and since Androzani he only seems to be interested in shock tactics and being grumpy about meat eaters. But this is Colin and Nicola at their best, with the utter perfection of Troughton and Hines thrown into the mix. The Sontarans are reduced to monster-of-the-week, but once you accept them as that there’s a lot of fun to be had with this one.
ML: 9 – It’s almost impossible not to give this one a 9. Anything with Troughton and Hines together automatically ramps things up. Jamie being all excited about Peri is fun. The Sontarans are actually powerful and have great music to accompany them into battle. It could have gotten a higher score if not for the violence (cannibalism) and Shockeye being one of the worst villains in Who history.
RP: 4 – Terrible for all the obvious reasons, and some less obvious ones, such as portraying a writer who was in reality hideously xenophobic as somebody who finds his source of inspiration from the Doctor. But beneath the surface it is an approach to Doctor Who that is years ahead of its time: a celebrity historical which also engages with the work of the celebrity. An interesting use of mirrors too.
ML: 2 – Look, we get an homage to H. G. Wells. It counts for something. Otherwise, better than a lot of Saturday afternoon television, but no where near the quality I come to expect of Doctor Who. And Wells himself is an oaf…
RP: 1 – Another grisly piece of work from Saward, with a bunch of nasty characters, and a writer who seems to dislike the lead characters so much that he does little with them other than have the Doctor body-shame Peri. Worth a point for doing something mildly interesting with Davros at last.
ML: 1 – Styrofoam traps? The Daleks finally could have killed the Doctor if they used real stone but this one time that he falls for the trap… it’s made of Styrofoam! And Jobel is a crass, waste of existence. The Glass Dalek is the best part of the story and that’s saying something!
A tough season to be sure. Memorable, but usually in all the worst ways. Colin is a terrific guy and would later become a great Doctor through Big Finish audio stories, but during this season, he was not the Doctor we had come to love in previous incarnations! ML