A Not-Review-Blog of Many Colours

(54 comments)

Today is the last day you can get the Storybundle deal. 

The Twin Dilemma: The most jarring gap in quality in Doctor Who’s history. The most colossal lapse of judgment in Doctor Who’s history. A story that had everything riding on it that just completely blew it. Every single thing about this story is a bad idea. It’s outright impossible to figure out what they were thinking. On top of that, you have the Doctor and Peri in a creepy domestic violence/Stockholm syndrome scene. No wonder the series was cancelled. 1/10


Attack of the Cybermen: As I have noted before, there is nothing more damning about this era than the fact that when Eric Saward and Ian Levine argue over who wrote this story, they each try to take credit for it instead of just blaming the other. An ugly mess of fanwank that doesn't make sense in the context of previous stories and isn't remotely interesting in its own context, papered over with violence as garrish as Colin Baker's coat. Horrid. 1/10

Vengeance on Varos: It's easy to confuse "best of the Colin Baker era" with "actually one of the best Doctor Who stories." This is merely the former - a competent and at times very clever story that is nevertheless hobbled by many of the bugbears that plague the rest of this era. The TARDIS scenes in the first episode are intolerable, the action is slow to get going, it's never quite clear if the satire is as wide-ranging as it has to be to forgive several elements, and several scenes, most notoriously the acid bath scene, are horrifically misjudged. Yes, it's a very clever and prescient media satire, but it's also Colin Baker-era doctor Who, with all the disaster that entails. Still, 8/10

Mark of the Rani: The Master becomes a complete self-parody, the Rani starts there, and Pip and Jane never have the wit to be self-parody, instead writing an unfathomably inept and awful script. There's nothing good to say here - like all the other Pip and Jane scripts, this is actively painful to watch in a way that nothing else in Doctor Who quite manages to hit. I'm trying to think of an upside to this story, and I cannot remember one for the life of me. 1/10

The Two Doctors: Maybe it is Robert Holmes at his angriest, as Rob Shearman wittily suggests in About Time. There's a case for it being bitter satire that makes Vengeance on Varos look fluffy, certainly. But this is still a mess. The 45 minute format means that a six-parter cannot just have one or two bad and slow episodes - instead the flab is distributed throughout, and this story never gets going. And if you don't buy that this is a vicious satire then it's just... ugly. Let's pretend it's the vicious satire we hope and then just take lots of points off for the bad structure and call it a 5/10.

Much of what is awful in the Colin Baker era is at least fascinatingly awful - a slow motion car crash you cannot look away from. This, however, is just banal awfulness - an absolute mess of a script that's a mess because it's just a bunch of fairly lame ideas done badly. Imagine, if you will, anyone tuning in after the hiatus was announced to see what had gone wrong with Doctor Who, or because they were spurred by The Sun's campaign to save the show. They'd have realized immediately that Michael Grade was right. 1/10

Revelation of the Daleks: There's a lot of cleverness in the first episode, and a pathetic and slow deflation in the second. Still, it's well directed and shows that Eric Saward was, for better or for worse, learning. It doesn't quite come off, turning to dull and violent runaround instead of postmodern genius, but oh, that first episode is a thing of beauty. 6/10

The Mysterious Planet: The Best of Robert Holmes, by which I mean like a best-of album, and not that it is in fact the best Robert Holmes story. Unfortunately, Holmes is one of those writers whose real genius lay in the overall, and a collection of his standby tricks is flabby and dull. Still, quietly and behind the scenes they've figured out how to make the Doctor and Peri work. The real problem is the Trial format. This bodes poorly. 4/10

Mindwarp: The story itself works better than anything else in Trial. Unfortunately, the Trial itself is becoming more and more of a burden. The fact that the plot actually does not make a lick of sense whatsoever is a real problem here, and the best idea that Mindwarp has is undone with the worst one that The Ultimate Foe does. Still, the actual story here works, and that counts for something. 5/10

Terror of the Vervoids: It deserves some credit for the funniest moment in Doctor Who, in which Bonnie Langford screams at the right pitch to blend into the sting. Beyond that, omnishambles. The plot's come off the rails completely, and the underlying story is a Pip and Jane catastrophe of the highest order. 1/10

The Ultimate Foe: There are moments in the Robert Holmes episode that suggest this could have worked, though it would have been in an alternate universe very different from the one in which the series was being made. Unfortunately instead we get a megabyte modem and a catharsis of spurious morality. It's tough to blame Robert Holmes for dying, given this story. 2/10

Comments

Scott 3 years, 6 months ago

I see that your dislike of "Timelash" is so complete that you don't even name it. I'd like to think that this is some kind of deliberate refusal, an acknowledgement that a name has power and that some names should not be invoked because the things they name are so utterly without redeeming merit.

It's probably a typo, but I can dream. :-)

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AndyRobot 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Personally, I figured I must have installed a Chrome plug-in that removed all references to "Timelash,"

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SpaceSquid 3 years, 6 months ago

I'm trying to think of an upside to this story, and I cannot remember one for the life of me.

It reminded people that the North East exists, that things happen there, and that some of those things might be worth paying attention to.

And yes, I am from there. Why do you ask?

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Ewa Woowa 3 years, 6 months ago

Personally I think you've been overly generous with your scores...

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peeeeeeet 3 years, 6 months ago

Ouch! Sadly I can't argue with much of this, much as I'd like to. For Mark of the Rani, though (which I personally don't reckon much to), you might want to seek out the recent "Verity!" podcast centred around this serial. They make a good stab at redeeming it, especially the Rani herself.

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dm 3 years, 6 months ago

Wow, you really have been utterly scathing, haven't you?

Twin Dilemma: A weird, risky, misjudged experiment. A total mess, with some inexcusably disgusting moments, but one that feels totally unlike anything else Who ever did. The novelisation is a lot better. 3/10

Attack: Every aspect of the continuity is nonsensical, including Lytton. But it has Lytton, so it can't be unwatchable- and it isn't. Grimdark, silly, overly self-serious, but entertaining. 6/10

Vengeance: The best piece of satire since The Sunmakers and until Paradise Towers. An 80s Classic. 9/10

Mark of the Rani: Boring as all hell. 2/10

The Two Doctors: Overlong, but often intriguing and entertaining. Arguably antisemitic, and considering Holmes's penchant for using outmoded racist imagery (albeit without any ill intent), it's a somewhat convincing argument. Patrick Troughton is in it. 6/10

Timelash: Watchably awful. Better than Warriors of the Deep. 2/10

Revelation: The best story of Baker II's era. Saward has matured and his cannibalistic Waugh pastiche actually works, the first time since the Hinchcliffe era that this sort of literate, literary genre play has been pulled off so well. Excellent performances all round, brilliant direction and production design. Colin got more Holmes scripts than Davison, but it's the Holmes script that Saward wrote that manages to capture the magic. 9/10

Mysterious Planet: Watchably mediocre. How great is that opening model shot? 5/10

Mindwarp: This couldn't work with anyone other than Colin. It takes for granted that the audience doesn't like or trust him and uses it to great effect. The trial scenes aren't THAT bad, and ignore the later retcon. Brian Blessed costars in a thorough takedown of the 6th Doctor's character. Brian. Blessed. 8/10

Vervoids: Pip and Jane's best script. A mess, but not without merit. Safe classicism. 5/10

Ultimate Foe: Err, let's move along. I liked it when I was 10. 3/10

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dm 3 years, 6 months ago

This comes disappointingly close to fan consensus, shame on me. I'd rather watch a marathon of these two seasons that I would Pertwee's first two.

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Lewis Christian 3 years, 6 months ago

One of the greatest eras, if you see beyond its flaws.

Yes really. Yes I'm therefore insane.

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John Anderson 3 years, 6 months ago

Long time reader, first time poster...

An era virtually impossible to view without screaming "what were you thinking?" every few minutes. I'd guiltily suggest Mindwarp remains the most watchable in isolation, simply because for 90 minutes or so, Colin's time actually "looks" like part of the TV landscape of 1986, rather than Saward's tired recollection of ten years previous.

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David Thiel 3 years, 6 months ago

Can't disagree too much here, though I don't think that "Cybermen" or "Rani" are as unwatchable as a 1/10 suggests. The Rani is at least an interesting character: a renegade Time Lord that couldn't care less about conquering the universe, so long as she can continue to conduct her amoral experiments.

I'd go quite a bit higher on "Vervoids," however. I think that it's the high point of the "Trial" season: a Christie mystery with monsters that aren't evil so much as incompatible. And that scream! In all seriousness, Bonnie won me over in that moment.

"Mindwarp" might have rated higher with me if we'd ever been given enough information to parse which bits were "true." And, while the Peri/Kiv scene is indeed chilling and well-acted, it's *such* a horrible fate for a companion that I'm almost grateful for the sloppy "warrior queen" retcon.

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John Voorhees 3 years, 6 months ago

I genuinely think that the new series could take the idea behind The Rani and make her a fan favorite.

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SpaceSquid 3 years, 6 months ago

I too think "...Vervoids" deserves better. If nothing else, the question of whether the killing in self-defence of a human-created species consisting of a dozen or so remorseless killing machines should constitute genocide strikes me as very interesting in the abstract.

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landru 3 years, 6 months ago

I feel sorry for the series at this point in time for coming under fire, but I do like a lot of Colin Baker's era. I realize if you are younger and weren't a teenager in the 80s it's hard to remember that the times they were a changin' in general. Most of the technology we have now became available to the public in its earliest forms.

I think the Two Doctors is easily the best (to date) multi-Doctor story and regard it as a classic. I first saw many of these episodes at conventions and the concept that everyone hated them is clearly not true as my audio tapes prove. People definitely enjoyed these shows. Revelation of the Daleks is also a classic in my opinion. Certainly, Timelash wasn't realized very well at all and even, dare I say it, the "classic" Varos looks pretty cheesy at times. But, over all I liked this era. I liked Colin's bombast. As far as the look of the show, again ... it was the 80s.

In fact, I'd say this is the last season of classic Dr. Who that resembled the program I liked. The hiatus is when the rot set in for me. From Trial of a Timelord on the show was never the same. I won't bother commenting on Sylvester McCoy (I'm sorry, but its pretty terrible and I think I haven't even seen all of them.)

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Frezno 3 years, 6 months ago

I've become somewhat of a Colin Baker era apologist, but I pretty much agree with this. I'd likely bump Mindwarp a little higher because I like the first half of the Trial season... but that back half. Yipes. Poor Colin. I end up watching these serials with a shaker of salt right next to me.

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cardboardrobot 3 years, 6 months ago

You misspelled "garish."

Although "Mark of the Rani" is very boring, turns the Master into a complete joke, and the dialogue is pitiful, I'd give it 2/10 or 3/10 just for Kate O'Mara's performance, and how she elevates any scene she's in. The Rani is the single most interesting character introduced this season and, as suggested above by another commenter, could be GREAT if given a much better script. (Is she in any worthwhile Big Finish stuff?)

"Timelash" probably doesn't deserve more than 1/10 but if you're looking for a redeeming quality, ANY redeeming quality, there IS some excellent monster makeup and android makeup in there, as pointed out by the Wife in Space.

"Mindwarp" is so cruel and uneven that I always hated it. I should give it another chance. I haven't seen it in 20 years or so. The biggest problem, as David Thiel points out above, is that you're left uncertain what's real and what's not.

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Unknown 3 years, 6 months ago

That or we're discussing the poorly-remembered Baker story, "The Silence"

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BerserkRL 3 years, 6 months ago

I won't bother commenting on Sylvester McCoy (I'm sorry, but its pretty terrible and I think I haven't even seen all of them.)

Do you seriously claim that "Remembrance of the Daleks" and "The Curse of Fenric" are "terrible"? If so, why?

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JJ Gauthier 3 years, 6 months ago

Holy crap. I didn't expect all junk to get 1s. Even for C Baker, that's harsh.

Season 22 Average: 3.7 [3.3 if Twin Dilemma is included here]
Season 23 Average: 3.0

Colin Baker Average: 3.1

Personally, I'd give around 5 to Attack for basic watchability thanks to the humor Baker wrings out of the script and Lytton; 4 to Mark for Kate O'Mara; and probably knock Revelation up to a 7.

I'd also be kinder to the first two parts of Trial - maybe a 6 and a 9, respectively. I find the ambiguity of the truth of Mindwarp actually makes it easier to gloss over its flaws. That's probably just me, though.

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Philip Sandifer 3 years, 6 months ago

Take the Davison era and subtract all the actual high points and you have the Colin Baker era. For years I was in the "it's not that bad" camp, but then I rewatched it in the context of Eruditroum, and no, it actually is that bad. Everything about it is just appallingly misjudged. Including Baker's Doctor, actually, who is unpleasant in ways no amount of audios has ever smoothed out.

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James V 3 years, 6 months ago

The Master was a joke for quite a while before "Mark of the Rani."

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I love watching you savage this era, because it really is horribly depressing, though predictably I have a slightly different take. At no one's request, here it is:

The Twin Dilemma: everything you said is true, and yet I dimly recall something appealed to me as a kid. Maybe it was just that this was right around the time I caught up to the show and started to get to see it close to when it aired. Maybe it was "Womulus" and "Wemus," whom I must have found oddly relatable because they were nerdy kids (even though I wasn't any good at math yet -- too careless). I haven't dared to rewatch as an adult.

Attack of the Cybermen: awful, but memorable, from the Cryons (oh my god) to the incidental music (which I can hum for you now) to Lytton being a badass and then getting his hands crushed horribly. I don't know if I liked it, but I couldn't forget it.

Vengeance on Varos: way overrated, but there's an idea or two in there, which is enough for some people. The sets! the acting! the weird transformation fetish! I'm glad you point out that it's got a lot of the era's faults. At least there's Sil.

The Mark of the Rani: I second the recommendation to check out the Verity! podcast on this one, though when I rewatched it I found I got less out of the Rani than I'd hoped. There's something a little comforting about a Pip 'n' Jane, like a cheesy Christmas movie that isn't actually any good but is nice to curl up with when you're feeling under the weather.

The Two Doctors: Everything in Seville is fan-fucking-tastic as far as I'm concerned, but I agree that as a whole it's far from perfect. I understand the satire/racism debate, but with performances this good from pretty much everyone involved (even the Sontarans are at least decent, for Sontarans), this is inevitably going to be the highlight of the era for me. That's faint praise, but there it is.

Timelash: might very well be so bad it's good. Unlike The Twin Dilemma, which is moldy old cheese with a rusty knife stuck in it, this is generic brie, kind of greasy and tasteless but if you're drunk enough you won't care, and no harm done.

Revelation of the Daleks: deeply uncomfortable for me on so many levels. The Jobel/Tasambeker relationship alone makes me not want to watch it again, but I know I will sooner or later. Well done in a lot of ways, as I recall, especially well-directed, but ick.

The Mysterious Planet: possibly the dullest televised Sixth Doctor story in my book, once you factor out the Trial bits (and maybe even before that). Not the worst, but the dullest. At least there's Glitz and Dibber, but I barely remembered they were in this until I wrote this sentence.

Mindwarp: all the ugliness of "Varos" with none of the satire, or at least nothing I picked up on as a kid. I like Christopher Ryan in it, but that doesn't help much. I'm not sure how I feel about the Lukoser.

Terror of the Vervoids: quite honestly it was probably my favorite Trial segment as a kid. I liked the idea of pairing Colin up with a future companion (even if it is replacing possibly my least favorite companion with her runner-up), I liked the "mystery" veneer, and the plot holes went right over my head as a kid. Shone more by contrast with what's around it, and yeah, I haven't seen it since I was a young teenager, so who knows.

The Ultimate Foe: I hated this even as a kid. Absolute shit, from what I recall. "I deny this reality."

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Daibhid C 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't know about "greatest", but I'd certainly agree the Sixth Doctor era is really good if you see beyond the flaws. You do have to work *really* hard* at seeing beyond the flaws, though, and eventually you start thinking it might be simpler to watch something with fewer in the first place...

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Daibhid C 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree ... and therefore amongst Vervoids' crimes we should include "Waste of a very interesting idea".

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David Jones 3 years, 6 months ago

Baker's take on playing The Doctor went horribly wrong in The Twin Dilemma and he was never able to really turn it around. You can't really have the Doctor being as dislikeable as he initially was and expect it to work.
I suppose you could argue that Hartnell and Pertwee were sometimes overly tetchy but they had enough other redeeming qualities to pull it off. Colin's approach was ill judged.
Having said all that, I probably wouldn't have given as many 1/10's. Twin Dilemma yes, but I don't mind Timelash - it has Paul Darrow in it for a start and the HG Wells idea was charming. I'd give it a 6.
Attack isn't that bad, maybe a 4 or 5/10.
I've watched Mark of the Rani recently and have to agree, it was terrible.
As for Vervoids, I prefer it to Mindwarp really and would probably give it a 7. In fact, I didn't mind the whole of Trial, but I can see why people turned off in droves. You do need to be a fan to forgive so much.

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C. 3 years, 6 months ago

yes. Colin is the unavoidable central factor here (& apologies to his fans). I just find him repellent in about half of his stories---his line readings, his movements, etc. He's a charmless actor; if he had charisma rather than bluster, perhaps he could have elevated some of his stories--made "Timelash" fun, for instance. His performance coupled with JNT being completely out to sea during this period and Saward wanting to be Robert Holmes but without the wit made his era a multiple-car pileup.

I used to be hard on McCoy's first season, but even though it's a silly mess, there's a feeling of relief in it. Colin's departure feels like a curse's been lifted from the show.

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inkdestroyedmybrush 3 years, 6 months ago

its so difficult to watch any of that stuff now. Colin's era was actually worse than i thought at the time when i've tried to go back and watch it now. Yes, that's right, it was worse. The prior poster who said that every couple of minutes you find yourself screaming at the TV "who thought that this was a good idea?" has it right. For all the cheap sets of prior eras, there was a level of craft to Pertwee and T. Baker productions. The craft just dropped into the cellar with regards to the production of the C. Baker era.

Now, as i can ignore the bubble wrap on Nerva Beacon, I can ignore the over lit video sets if a few things were done: competent scripting, decent direction, some overarching ideas of where to go with the stories. Baker's Doctor famously does little or nothing. Saward remembered that other Doctor's would get captured by the bad guys and so wrote stories that, essentially, didn't include the Doctor. Its like tracking what Indiana Jones does in Raiders. Technically, he doesn't fix anything for all his effort. Baker's Doctor motivates, essentailly, none of the action in Attack. What does he do in his Dalek story? Wander in through the snow & get hit by a falling cliffhanger. That's his involvement in the entire first half of the story.

Yes, the Doctor's lack of involvement in the stories bugs me more than the damn coat, which a lot of people still seem to fixate on. My eyes have a bigger problem with Peri's outfits, which, like Tegan's second outfit, are almost too 80's for me now. (And Nicola is a very attractive woman, so i'm am not dissing her at all). As Phil has pointed out, the fun part of the series can be the Doctor's deforming of the narrative when he appears. And since Saward keeps Colin from ever getting involved, that fun most never happens. sigh.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I can agree that the Sixth Doctor is a pretty unpleasant persona, but I have to stick up for Colin Baker as an actor; I've enjoyed him in everything I've seen him in, even though he's frequently playing unappealing characters. I do find him charming and I do think he elevated some of his stories. It's just that the ceiling on them was extremely low, and the script editor had him standing in a trench to begin with. If you ignore the stories themselves, I'd much rather watch Baker than Hartnell.

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SpaceSquid 3 years, 6 months ago

Well, fair point, but I'm honestly more glad that the Baker's raised it by accident than tried to actively sketch out a position on it. Imagine the horror...

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Theonlyspiral 3 years, 6 months ago

Have you seen past McCoy's first Season? In the back 2 of his tenure on the show, the only one I wouldn't watch again is Silver Nemesis.

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Grant, the Hipster Dad 3 years, 6 months ago

The only way I found to enjoy Colin's run, entirely, is to watch it with children. You sit a seven and a nine year-old down with Doctor Who, and see him as a perfect hero for children: bad tempered, angry, loud, always moving, being silly, dressing however he wants. I took away a new appreciation for him when I watched him with kids.

I'm in no rush to watch any of these again at all, but I find the era much, much more agreeable when viewed through my children's eyes.

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Ben 3 years, 6 months ago

A few words in defense of "The Twin Dilemma"?

Yes, the story is moronic. Yes, it was a bad idea to air this serial a week after the climax of "The Caves of Androzani." Both Davison and Baker would have been better served by Baker's debut to the next season.

But "The Twin Dilemma" raises a question that needed to be asked, which is: What if the Doctor weren't the hero anymore? To put it in a larger context, what if you couldn't rely on your heroes, the people you looked up to, the ones who seemed to uphold the ideals of justice and wisdom? It's been broached again since, notably with "The Waters of Mars", but it starts here.

And make no mistake, Colin Baker is absolutely qualified to be at the center of this *ahem* dilemma. The threat of losing the Doctor, of seeing him go bad, is profoundly disturbing. What Baker makes clear is that it disturbs the Doctor more than anyone. And so in the short term and the long term, it's a relief to get the Doctor back, even when in the very short term most of the stories were substandard.

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Jesse 3 years, 6 months ago

I think you underrate The Mysterious Planet, in part because I think the trial framing actually works in that one. But yeah, this period is pretty much the show's nadir.

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Jesse 3 years, 6 months ago

When the inevitable second editions of your books come out, each one should include one of these review-rundowns as an appendix.

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BerserkRL 3 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, the scripts get much better after Melanie leaves.

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say before that the Sixth Doctor era was for kids! But I can see where you're coming from. Even the violence makes more sense in that context. When I first saw these, I was fascinated and horrified by Lytton getting his hands crushed (it was a great warmup for watching Aliens when I wasn't supposed to), and found it gripping if troubling entertainment. These days it just seems gratuitous and tasteless, but those were not assessments it occurred to me to make when I was twelve.

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Ewa Woowa 3 years, 6 months ago

But "The Twin Dilemma" raises a question that needed to be asked, which is: What if the Doctor weren't the hero anymore?

Err... Actually, no - this question has never, ever needed to be asked and is the exact reason why the New Adventures used to lose the 'average' fan and ended up being a niche product circling the plughole of cult obscurity.

Sorry if that makes me sound grumpy...

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aquagrl63 3 years, 6 months ago

There is one scene that makes me think that Baker could have worked as the Doctor. It's the scene where he chastises the Time Lords for the crimes they committed and how corrupt they've become. In that one scene, he is most definitely the Doctor.

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Prole Hole 3 years, 6 months ago

There are one or two good guest performances as well. It's a mess, but at least it's a whimsical, mostly non-violent one, where the Doctor and Peri actually seem to like each other (their bickering seems much more like the ribbing of friends rather than the borderline-contempt in the previous few stories), the location filming is excellent (even if a few of the accents are a bit broad), and the design of the Rani's TARDIS is pretty decent. And it's her best-of-two outings (no, I'm not including Dimensions In Time or Reaps The Whirlwind), where the original idea of the character (amoral scientist uninterested in power or conquest for its own sake but as a means to an end) actually comes through. Ok that's not a HUGE defense, but compared to the likes of Timelash and The Twin Dilemma it's something... Prole's Revised Score: 5/10

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Prole Hole 3 years, 6 months ago

I don't care what anyone says, I LIKE The Ultimate Foe. As a conclusion to the mis-judged Trial concept it's not really a success (but after the death of Holmes and Saward's inelegant departure how could it be?) but there are real seeds here that show what a successful Colin Baker-led show could be. The notes of surrealism fit in very well with his Doctor, the Victoriana is extremely well used, the literary references also fit extremely well with Colin's interpretation of the Doctor (something Big Finish pick up on to great effect), it's (arguably) his best on-screen performance in the role and his scenes with the Valeyard crackle in a way none of the other Valeyard-based scenes in the Trial season do. Although the Trial is an absolute shambles, I find it an endlessly fascinating, engrossing one. The green shoots of recovery are here and while we have a while to go before they really sprout (and the dispiriting slog of Time And The Rani to get through first), the recovery begins HERE. Prole's Revised Score: 7/10

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Ross 3 years, 6 months ago

Surely saying that 'Mark of the Rani' turns the Master into a "complete joke" requires that the master have been something other than a complete joke at any point in recent memory.

Baker has a high percentage of serials that I mostly remember from my youth as "Put the off-air VHS tape into the player, watch the first five minutes intently, then pull out my toys and pay very little attention to the next hour." (Pertwee has a similarly high ratio, though he has the sticking point of his serials being on average longer) Nothing's quite as bad as the complete Silence-like amnesia I get from 'The Awakening', but the entire Trial season is basically a blur for me. I don't remember ever having been able to focus my attention on the first three parts enough to actually decode what was going on. The Mysterious Planet, in my memory, is basically "The Doctor and Peri arrive on a primitive planet. It turns out it's earth. Then some stuff happens for way too long. And it turns out to be something to do with a Time Lord conspiracy"; Vervoids is "The Doctor and Mel arrive on a space ship. Then some stuff happens for way too long. And there's plant people. Then the Doctor gets accused of genocide." Mindwarp is particularly bad. Just "Some stuff happens. And those slug-people from Varos are there. Hey, was that Brian Blessed?" The trial bits are a lot more coherent in my mind.

The Twin Dilemma, Vengeance on Varos, Mark of the Rani, and Revelation of the Daleks are all like that for me. I know a basic outline of what happened, but I can't even imagine how the amount of plot I can remember would take up the entire runtime of those serials.

Attack of the Cybermen, The Two Doctors and, of all things, Timelash, on the other hand, I can remember quite clearly. They're all fairly terrible (Even leaving aside my irrational love of all the Cyberman stories), but they're sort of straightforwardly terrible. Despite their flaws, I find them (even Timelash) a lot more watchable than the rest of those seasons.

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Prole Hole 3 years, 6 months ago

The sole thing that Attach has going for it is that it largely LOOKS great - the production values are amazing, especially compared to the sheer visual eye-slashing of The Twin Dilemma (and the flatly uninteresting direction of Vengence), with plenty of location filming, the surprisingly effective sewer scenes (but lets not mention the Cryon masks). Now obviously that's not enough to rescue it - oh Lordy is it never enough - but I'd bump it up to a 2/10. Maybe 2.5/10 if you like Brian Glover.

This isn't a defense.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

Mark of the Rani is quite lame, but it's at least watchable, which is more than I can say for most everything else this season. When showing the Baker years to new fans, this is one of the three I can stomach (the others being Revelation and Mindwarp of course). The location filming and costumes are all very attractive (which have the unfortunate downside of making Colin's coat look even worse, to say nothing of Peri's frock). The Rani's TARDIS is gorgeous and should have been used more than once. There are a couple of good lines, as a kid this taught me who Turner was, and Gary Cady was quite easy on the eyes. Plus, the Rani was good for a laugh, however, whatever camp value she might have had has been soured by the last 7 seasons of fans inexplicably demanding she be brought back. Oh yeah, and the T-Rex puppet was very nice looking.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

OK yes, The Ultimate Foe is a good bit of fun. As spectacle, it just about works. As a piece of drama where you're supposed to have any idea what the hell is happening here, not so much. And it's quite nice to hear Baker, Jayston and Selby rolling that dialog around in their mouths and spitting it out at one another.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

Agreed.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

I agree with you in theory, but it could only ever work if there were a clear sense that the writers knew where they were going with it, and that he redeemed himself. It would require a much more adult and drama-oriented show...not the garish, ugly and amateurish mess that we got. This was the story that doomed the show, IMO.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

The novelizations in this era were quite redemptive, weren't they? In particular I recall The Twin Dilemma and The Two Doctors as being significantly better than their TV counterparts. Those are the only two I really remember to be honest.

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Seeing_I 3 years, 6 months ago

I have some friends who are new series fans, who've been eagerly lapping up the classic show. It's such a joy to see this stuff through their new eyes! Even things like The Keys of Marinus that I had consigned to the memory-bin as just a dire slog has come to life again.

Then we tried watching Timelash. Let's just say that not even in The War Games did they say "how much longer is it?" This is a DVD I probably will never watch again, but refuse to sell to a second-hand store in case some new series fan fancies giving it a go to see what the original series was all about.

HOWEVER...I saw this when it was first out, and to this day, my old school buddy and I will complain about having a bad hair day or whatever by moaning "Nooooo, smash the mirror!" and if we're really dismissing someone or something, we'll say "Nobody wants you, nobody needs you, nobody cares!" This, friends, is the magic of Doctor Who - even the most joyless crap can end up a beloved catch-phrase.

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dm 3 years, 6 months ago

3 is probably a little harsh, it is an interesting take on The Deadly Assassin part 3. I just find it to be an unsuccessful one.

My thoughts on the era and its appeal, particularly season 22, are summed up perfectly by Jack at Shabogan Graffiti:

"The Doctor floats around in a universe that seems dirtier and creepier and messier than it ever was before. Cannibalism, sadism, blood and Freudian implications all over the place. And there's this guy who is so far from cool he's actually melting. He's got a big blonde mop of hair, a tubby bulge and ludicrous clothes... and he's totally unapologetic, totally confident, loud and proud, sarcastic, rude, grumpy, overtly emotional... and ruthless, when he needs to be. He's a passionate, intellectual avenger in clothes that make the stupid and the mean think he's just a harmless pratt."

The show is an absolute mess at this point, but it is a gloriously filthy and seductive one, if you are in the right frame of mind.

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Tom Watts 3 years, 6 months ago

I love the CB era because it's so visually stimulating - script, acting, plot be damned. Colours and visual effects tricks everywhere.

Given the misogyny, prurient violence, outrageous costumes, sour and aggressive characters, black hearted world view and genre-cliche plotting... isn't this Doctor Who as directed (scripted and costume designed too of course!) by Andy Milligan?

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Matthew Blanchette 3 years, 6 months ago

Hey! Where's the Wednesday update? :-(

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arcbeatle 3 years, 6 months ago

This comment has been removed by the author.

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arcbeatle 3 years, 6 months ago

I've been wondering the same thing :/

I'm almost tempted to spam my Doctor Who Poetry Kickstarter Page here just to give myself something to read....XD

Phil is probably just having some technical difficulty, I can't wait to read the article :)!!!

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encyclops 3 years, 6 months ago

I pretty much never need to see another story ever in any medium where a threat the characters already know to be imaginary is dispelled by just deciding not to believe in it. Under the right circumstances I can almost see how that's compelling as a concept, but it's almost never realized in a way that justifies it.

I like Jack's take on the Sixth Doctor, but I stop short of cheering along when I remember that he (the Sixth Doctor) is also kind of an asshole.

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Wm Keith 3 years, 6 months ago

Here we go.

TD. Doctor Who does Theatre of the Absurd. Badly. 0/10

Attack. Scathing satire on 1980s BBC TV. 5/10.

Vengeance. The most human monster on Doctor Who, ever. 10/10

Mark. It's set in the Rani's bagnio. 10/10 for audacity.

Timelash. Is it just me, or does Aneurin Barnard play Richard of York in "The White Queen" as Olivier's Richard III filtered through Paul Darrow's Avon? 0/10.

Revelation of the Two Doctors. In my mind, these two stories intertwine to create an epic in which Patrick Troughton's doctor battles Servalan and the Daleks, while Colin Baker samples the delights of Seville with Alexei Sayle. Oscar Botcherby and Oberon do some hurt/comfort if they absolutely have to, while Shockeye, Jamie, Zoe and Peri inexplicably are not in the story at all. Perhaps they've gone to B--------? 20/20.

Trial of a Time Lord. Guilty. 0/10

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