Top of the Docs: Season 11

Another year and we begin to see some spikes.  It’s as if the show started breathing again: rise, fall, rise, fall…  Was this where the breath of life started coming back?

season 11.1

The Time Warrior

RP: 8 – Elisabeth Sladen rises above Holmes’s awful handling of her introduction.  Other than that, the script work is sublime.  Irongron and Bloodaxe are one of the greatest ever double acts in Doctor Who, and this genuinely feels like a fresh start, although it is Pertwee’s fifth year.

ML: 8 – Not a huge fan of the setting, but the story is great, has good pacing and introduced us to Sarah Jane Smith!  A radical improvement from where season 10 left us.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs

RP: 5 – A pretty decent script, although the guest characters are forgettable, and Mike’s story needed some kind of a conclusion that didn’t just happen off screen.  As for the dinosaurs, the fault lies with anyone who thought they could work, rather than the people who actually tried to make them work and failed.

ML: 1 – I don’t give many stories such a low rating.  The story isn’t bad, but it’s too long, has a bunch of fools as the bad guys and Mike Yates gets a seriously bad end.  Enough story that should bring it up, but neatly impossible to get through.  And the dinosaurs looked better in The Lost World from 1925…

Death to the Daleks

RP: 9 – The story that turned me into a Doctor Who fan, which manages to be magnificent despite the Daleks rather than because of them.  Superbly creepy first episode.

ML: 8 – A pretty great story with solid pacing and a wonderful alien companion.  It holds up better when viewed on its own, rather than yet another Dalek story, though.  But we really need more alien companions for the Doctor.  Plus: Venusian Hopscotch!  C’mon!

The Monster of Peladon

RP: 2 – The Curse of Peladon remade with some of the actors changed, and padded out to another two episodes.

ML: 5 – I have fond memories of the book and I loved the Ice Warriors, though this is a pale shadow of The Curse of Peladon.  If not for those horrible hairdo’s, I might be able to give this one a better rating!

Planet of the Spiders

RP: 7 – Much like the previous season finale, the writers try to shoehorn in concepts that don’t fit, so it’s a broken fable, and they struggle to write convincing dialogue as usual.  Luckily, they hit gold with John Kane as Tommy, probably Doctor Who’s finest ever guest role.  The spiders are great, the chase is fun, and it’s a big epic ending to the Third Doctor’s era.

ML: 8 – It’s not that I love the story, but Doctor Who against spiders is a win!  (Though anyone against spiders may get points in my book!)  Plus the final scenes are incredible; one of the most heartfelt scenes in all of classic Who.  If not for that, the story dragged a bit too much and would have dropped a point or two!

Next season saw Tom Baker in the lead.  Would Pertwee be missed, or would Baker forge a whole new series that would make the past a distant memory?  Maybe the numbers will give us a clue!  ML

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