Top of the Docs: Season 2

Well the journey has begun.  Continuing to look at each season as viewed by two friends from different parts of the world, I give you season 2.

season 2

Planet of Giants

RP: 8 – The story that made everyday objects frightening, although nobody noticed that was the good part of the story and instead went with “giant insects are cool” as the lesson learnt.  Remarkably convincing on a 60’s budget (apart from the cat).

ML: 8 – There’s something to a shorter story that will either make or break most of them and this one is a complete success.  At 3 parts, it holds together very well, making everyday items into something bigger and more sinister.  Great storytelling.  But I wish there were monsters…

The Dalek Invasion of Earth

RP: 7 – Some iconic images, but saggy in the middle and the hideous final speech to Susan leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

ML: 6 – Iconic.  There are some great scenes that make this one stand out, but where it fails, it fails heavily.  It’s far too long and the Doctor abandons Susan for no reason to marry a man she doesn’t know.  Plus, I’m a continuity guy and for the second appearance of the Daleks, it makes no sense in their timeline.  They are very different from their season 1 debut.

The Rescue

RP: 9 –  A fascinating little story, which introduces the most important and beautifully acted companion of the entire classic series.  Vicki shaped Doctor Who as we know it today.

ML: 4 – Very average story made better by the introduction of Vicki and a touching moment of The Doctor thinking about his granddaughter, but fails to portray Vicki as anything more than a gullible girl.  This is thankfully a short story that is very “blah”.  Sadly, even Barbara is depicted as a bit thick when she kills Vicki’s pet.  The main villain is straight out of Scooby Doo.  If it weren’t for those pesky time travelers…

The Romans

RP: 8 – Vicki’s reshaping of what Doctor Who actually is… in full force.  A lot of fun.

ML: 10 – As a kid, I didn’t like this one because it was another historical adventure.  As an adult, it’s brilliant.  Hilarious, often subtly, this story defines what the Doctor will become (with Vicki’s help, of course).  Barbara and Ian have their own adventures.  Everything ties up neatly, and the Doctor is shown that he can influence history.  Hartnell does comedy exceptionally well.

The Web Planet

RP: 5 – People misunderstand just about everything about this story.  I can’t fault the ambition, but it does drag terribly.

ML: 8 – Admittedly clunky but should get a 10 for creativity.  Vortis is one of the most alien planets in Doctor Who and the Menoptra both speak and move in very alien ways.  Deserves high marks for ambition.  Runs a little too long though, especially coming off such a strong story.

The Crusade

RP: 4 – Doctor Who does Shakespeare, and accepts all the genre’s faults with open arms.  But Vicki and the Doctor are great.

ML: 3 – With so much missing from this, it’s just another dull historical.  It’s not without merit, but it leaves a lot to be desired.  Guest cast do elevate it from a lower score.

The Space Museum

RP: 3 – Like An Unearthly Child, a very difficult one to rate, because the first episode is one of the greatest episodes of Doctor Who ever produced.  It’s followed by three weeks of badly acted tedium.

ML: 7 – Conceptually incredible.  Creative.  Plays out like two different stories taking place in the same setting.  The first half is remarkably good, the second loses a lot.  Still, I have a soft spot for it, mostly because the idea was so new and unusual.

The Chase

RP: 9 – Doctor Who doesn’t get more entertaining than this.  I love it, faults and all.

ML: 9 – Another quest-like story, this is just a series of fun visits to different places all the while being chased by Daleks.  Introduces one companion and says goodbye to two others.  Definitely deserves a high rating!

The Time Meddler

RP: 7 –  One of the most significant moments in Doctor Who ever, and the Monk is a great character, acted to perfection.  But the story stamps all over the character of Steven, and youth culture as a whole.

ML: 8 – The importance of introducing another member of the Doctor’s race cannot be overstated.  This was a game changer.  Plus, the Monk is fun, funny, and a good foil for Hartnell.  A much better season finale than last time.

We’ll be looking at season 3 next week.  ML

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