Top of the Docs: Season 24

I remember Sylvester McCoy’s premiere like it was yesterday.  I sat in my room so excited to see the first brand new episode.  And it began with a new opening, modernized… ah, those were glorious days.  Nothing would derail my enjoyment of this Doctor!  Well, nothing until I started to take a critical look at it… then the truth would come out!

season 24

Time and the Rani

RP: 6 – Everything about this is an immediate step up in quality from the Colin Baker era, apart from the storyline which is another workmanlike job from Pip and Jane.  The post-regen stuff is dreadful.  The bubble special effect was astonishing at the time.  Much better than its reputation would suggest though, just like this entire season.

ML: 8 – Say what you will, I thoroughly enjoy this story.  It’s weird and silly and manic, but it’s fun despite the Rani, who I find deplorable in this story.  New music, new special effects, comedy, and a cool alien race (two, in fact)… I just find this story very watchable!

Paradise Towers

RP: 8 – A dystopian story that is actually tailored to the Doctor Who demographic, unlike Varos, tapping in to the concerns about high rise living, which allows for storytelling within a vertical space.  All sorts of interesting things going on: politics, gang culture, a cannibalistic older generation and oppressed youth, and a Hitler parody that is off the scale.  Suddenly Doctor Who is aiming high again.

ML: 3 – This one never did a thing for me.  A red TARDIS is my real highlight.  I mean, in fairness, I’ll give a few points for trying some new ideas and giving us a very clear message about sacrifice and courage, but for me it still ranks below average!  *Taking a pop culture class has drawn my attention to things in this episode that warrant another viewing, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about the story!

Delta and the Bannermen

RP: 8 – A brilliant subversion of gender stereotypes, an alien race inspired by the social structure of bees, and it brings the familiarity of a holiday camp to British viewers, tapping into an aspect of British life every bit as much as the tower block previously.  Brings in Ken Dodd for a cameo and then shoots him in the back.  Only some issues with the acting are stopping this, and the two stories that surround it, from deserving 10/10.

ML: 5 – Roger has made some really great points about this story and I needed to give it some points for that, but as a viewing experience, I find it a hard slog.  The setting is enjoyable and the characters of Hawk and Weismuller help elevate this story, but again, nothing spectacular.  Sadly.

Dragonfire

RP: 9 – Probably the most underrated Doctor Who story of all of them, because people can’t get past one cliffhanger ending, which functions as a critique of the 25 minute format anyway.  A story that subverts expectations in all sorts of interesting ways, which I can’t possibly summarise here (read my article!) and throws in some horror for good measure.

ML: 9 – Barring the series dumbest cliffhanger, this story amazed me.  I loved new companion Ace, and Kane was a really scary bad guy!  I also loved the special effects of melting Kane.  Glitz is back and he’s even more likable than before.  Overall, an underrated episode because of a damned stupid attempt at a cliffhanger!

Well, not the best opening season for a Doctor, but it started and ended on high notes for me.  Ironically Roger felt the middle two were strong as well, but I just never saw it.  I’m glad we both agree with Dragonfire though; it’s worth watching, and I was always fond of the shorter story format, because you could tell a full story without having to stretch out the story so much!  ML

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1 Response to Top of the Docs: Season 24

  1. scifimike70 says:

    Sylvester McCoy’s first season, much like Jodie’s, is a splendid example of how Whovians can still enjoy an otherwise troubled season for their own subjective reasons.

    I enjoyed Time And The Rani for Kate O’Mara’s more ambitious villainy as the Rani than her debut story.

    I enjoyed Paradise Towers for its atmospherically adventurous portrait of a dystopia that the Doctor helps to set right.

    I enjoyed Delta And The Bannermen because of how the Doctor is particularly victorious against a villainy that’s basically driven by hate crimes. The ending may seem tacked on in certain ways for the sake of a fairly rewarding love story between Delta and Billy. But that’s how Dr. Who optimism traditionally blends realism with escapism. I also enjoyed Don Henderson as Gavrok because (as I’ve shared in a previous review) he was in the first episode I saw of Brian Clemens’ Thriller, called A Killer In Every Corner, in which he played Boz who was an escaped serial killer in the employ of an evil criminal psychologist.

    I enjoyed Dragonfire quite naturally because of Ace. She was the first female companion who had never screamed. She could beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat. She could take down Cybermen via gold coins and a slingshot. She’s an expert with explosives and out of all the quotes that have been immortalized by female companions, Sophie Aldred’s delivery of “Wicked!” would also boost her popularity among the SF action she-roes that were then making headway thanks to Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley. Her continuations and resolutions via the audio adventures earned more points for Big Finish.

    Thank you both for your words on Season 24.

    Liked by 1 person

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