Top of the Docs: Season 8

Well, season 8 really helps drive home the point that the Pertwee episodes suffered a lot at the hands of poor pacing.  Whenever the story was 4 parts, they seemed to be far superior to the drawn-out atrocities of 5+ parts.  Note the highlights are pretty consistently all 4-part stories; the exception being The Daemons.  Watch how this theory holds up for most of the Pertwee era!

season 8

Terror of the Autons

RP: 9 – Great story, great monsters, great villain, great new companion.  A Doctor who behaves like a pig on a couple of occasions.

ML: 9 – Deserves an 8 because it has too much of a Scooby Doo ending but this introduced Roger Delgado as the Master and I can’t help but give it the extra point for that.  I also found the wannabe Avengers Time Lord a little idiotic.  “Oh, look, I materialized without a TARDIS and I’m floating in mid-air, but I have a bowler and an umbrella!”  But the pacing is perfect and the Autons are spectacularly scary!

The Mind of Evil

RP: 3 – I like the idea of the Keller machine, which is basically a magic box, but everyone’s ethics and reactions to things are completely off, especially the Doctor’s, and to appreciate this story you really have to buy into the idea that people are born evil or otherwise, and that is a thing that can be removed.

ML: 1 – S….L…O…W…  Even the Master can’t make this better.  The subplot of Unit being a standard military organization just brings it down further.  Very little redeeming here.

The Claws of Axos

RP: 9 – Just when you thought this story couldn’t get any more fun, Pigbin Josh turns up on his bike.

ML: 10 – Organic spaceships way ahead of their time (took Trek and Farscape 20 more years to do the same), lessons about not judging by appearances, and space vampires.  Plus another well-paced story.

Colony in Space

RP: 5 – A great story on paper, and a breath of fresh air if you’re watching the Pertwee era in context, but lacking any style whatsoever.

ML: 6 – very average story, but I’m going a point higher than average because it’s the only one my mom ever tried watching and actually said it looked good.  Fond memory…

The Daemons

RP: 9 – The ultimate cosy UNIT family story, but how I long for an anarchist Doctor who can actually challenge Azal’s assumed right to lord over everything at the end.

ML: 10 – Perfect pacing, great use of the Master, awesome use of “the devil” and a properly creepy story.  Isolating a town with a thermal barrier was also something Stephen King would try one day and not do half as well with it.

It is interesting to see how often Roger and I are in agreement with the stories; even where we don’t give the same score, we can see that the trend is to be in agreement on which episodes are strong and which are weak.  How will the rest of the Pertwee era play out?  Wait and see…  ML

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