Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Seventh Doctor

All done Classic Doctor Who! This is a project I started over two years ago on grave shifts, back when Classic Doctor Who was on Hulu. So for two and a half years I’ve used a combination of Hulu, Netflix DVDs, and Britbox to watch all available Doctor Who. So minus the missing and incomplete stories from the First Doctor and Second Doctor eras, I’ve watched all the Doctor Who stories. So without further ado, here’s the Seventh Doctor.

The new Seventh Doctor with the diguised Rani
Season 24
Top Story: Time and the Rani
This story gave a soft reset to the Sixth Doctor era. It also gave the Rani a second run. Wonderful use of her character. I liked it a lot more than her previous story in the Sixth Doctor era. Better use of her character. Better use of the Doctor. Just a good starting point. On a side note, I would love to see the Rani back, with or without a regeneration sequence. Since Gallifrey is back, it’d be so easy to give an already-regenerated Rani.
Flop Story: Delta and the Bannerman
So overall, just…. What was going on? The action of the episode seemed to be an action movie/mystery feel, but then the music reminded me of a comedy. To top it off, I don’t even really remember what was going on. The Doctor and Mel found a vacation spot, which turned into a mystery (not surprising) but it was just weird. Just weird.
The "Dragonfire" TARDIS team
Honorable Mention: Dragonfire
The episode itself was a little odd, but there were several reasons I enjoyed it. Firstly, with Mel leaving, we had a smooth transition to Ace. I wish we had more of that in Doctor Who. I’d imagine more feeling of continuity in the show, if we didn’t just abruptly leave the Doctor without any companion all the time. So just for the double companion nature of the story, I liked it. In addition, we had the return of Glitz. Also take note that the “cliffhanger” of the Doctor hanging from his umbrella reappeared in “The Name of the Doctor” with the Clara Oswald splinter seeing the Doctor.

Do you think we also punish people for being sad?
Season 25
Top Story: The Happiness Patrol
A bit of a convoluted story, but I really liked it for the message. Similarly to “Smile” in the Twelfth Doctor era, this story had the premise of any emotion besides joy being bad. I liked the emphasis of happiness being just one part of the spectrum of human emotions. As demonstrated by even the big bad of the story, grief and sadness have their place in life. It’s normal and healthy to mourn and be sad at times.
Flop Story: The Greatest Show in the Galaxy
I really liked the premise of the story, but the execution was off. That was kind of how I felt about several stories at this point in Doctor Who. If one of the four episodes had been chopped off and the pace of the episode increased, this story would have probably worked. But as it was, it had some slow, dull moments that turned me off.
Epic Ace. Who else could kill a Dalek with a bat?
Honorable Mention: Remembrance of the Daleks
Honorable mention because of how much it hearkened back to the first story of Doctor Who. I wanted to make note of the return to Coal Hill and the return of Susan’s book about the French Revolution. We even got some answer about why the Doctor was in 1963 when the series began. We also had the return of the Daleks and the return of Davros (last time until the Tenth Doctor era). We also had the Doctor pretending to apply to be the school’s caretaker (like he eventually does in the Twelfth Doctor era). Also, just how awesome is Ace, taking out a Dalek with an amped up baseball bat.

The Doctor and the Master face off.
Season 26
Top Story: Survival
So despite Season 26 being dull, I enjoyed Survival. It was the last appearance of the Master, as played by Ainley. It also gave some backstory to Ace. I know Season 26 tried to give some history to Ace, but I found it hard to follow. This story, however, was a perfect example of why the three-episode stories worked well. This story was well paced, but any longer would have been exhausting.
Flop Story: Ghost Light
And to contrast “Survival”, this story was another four-part story that was too long. It was slow and convoluted and I felt like there was too much going on. There was a ghost story, references to Darwinism as an underlying theme, aliens, and then a weird personification of light and control. Other than some backstory on Ace, I didn’t really see what the point of this story was.
For possibly the last time, the Doctor reunites with the Brig.
Honorable Mention: Battlefield
This story had all the stuff I like of Doctor Who: an alien mystery, a tie-in of literature, and a popular recurring character. We had the reference to Arthurian legend, as visitors from a parallel world, and then we had the return of the Brigadier. Oh and we also had a future incarnation of the Doctor revealed to be Merlin. It reminds me of River Song’s line: “I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.” Now imagine if we saw a modern Doctor being Merlin in the story that would have chronologically happened before this for Camelot. (There’s another idea for a post: good wizards the Doctor could be and which Doctor would be which)

Mel        (6th Doctor) - Dragonfire
Ace        Dragonfire - UNKNOWN

Ace: Obsessed with explosives
Favorite Companion: Ace was a wonderfully complex character. Her backstory and character arc were a bit too convoluted and not well developed. That being said, I didn’t need to see her backstory to enjoy her character. She was a confident, kick-butt companion, who didn’t need to hide behind the Doctor. It kind of reminds me of how Ian Chesterton and Harry Sullivan were used to be the action heroes for the First and Fourth Doctors, but in this case we didn’t need a male action hero because the female companion already kicked butt.

Holy 80s! Look at those shoulder pads!
Least Favorite Companion: So if you remember from my Sixth Doctor post, I like Mel. And I really liked her in “Time and the Rani” but she didn’t hold a candle to Ace. She also didn’t seem to mesh as well with the Seventh Doctor as she did with the Sixth Doctor (never thought I’d say that about anyone). So she wasn’t a bad companion, just the screamer companion I guess.

So what do you think of the Seventh Doctor? What other “good wizards” do you think the Doctor has been? You can expect one Doctor Who post each month now. Next month will be about the Christmas special with the First and Twelfth Doctors and then in the new year I’ll address the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors. 

Because the series was cancelled abruptly, we never see what happened to Ace. When meeting Sylvester McCoy at SLC Comic Con, he said he hoped Ace had gotten into politics. Alternatively, in the Sarah Jane Adventures, it's noted that a "Dorothy" (Ace's legal first name) who knew the Doctor, was raising millions for her charity organization.

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