Top of the Docs: Season 17

We’re back after a break and looking at Tom Baker’s season 17.  Honestly, I think season 17 is all about the comedy.  Soldeed is still one of the best villains ever, and Duggan is one of the best pseudo-companions ever, and Skagra has the worst tailor in history… I mean, these all add up to a hilarious season!

season 17

Destiny of the Daleks

RP: 7 – A flawed premise from the start and a poor imitation of Davros, but Lalla Ward is immediately magnificent as Romana and it’s still a story that is a whole lot of fun.  Now spack off.

ML: 8 – This episode features Davros, rock/paper/scissors, the most androgynous robots of all time, a cameo by Oolon Colluphid’s book, and mockery of the stupidity of the Daleks themselves.  What’s not to love?

City of Death

RP: 10 – Funny, clever, an intelligent critique of art appreciation, and a Doctor and companion in love enjoying a holiday together, being magnificent.  The peak of the Tom Baker era.

ML: 10 – Tom and Lalla at their very best.  Awesome duo.  Duggan is a great companion.  And the butler… what a wonderful butler!

The Creature from the Pit

RP: 7 – An attempt to combine themes of capitalism and Greek mythology that never quite gel, while being individually fascinating.  If you’re looking for a Doctor Who story about a penis monster, you won’t find a better one than this, and it’s entirely deliberate.

ML: 3 – Only because there’s a reasonable attempt at allegory and the creators of the show were willing to try something else no one else on Earth would try by making the monster a giant blob with an… appendage, will I give this even a 3.  I don’t know if it deserves it, but it was attempting to be creative.  I think…

The Nightmare of Eden

RP: 7 – An incredibly bleak and adult story, tempered with humour that is generally excellent but occasionally misfires horribly.  Also features a twisted magic door concept that works in the wrong direction.  Inventive.

ML: 7 – Although the episode is barely average, there’s a great anti-drug message built in and it’s interesting to watch from that point of view.  Not stellar, but on the low end of “above average”.

The Horns of Nimon

RP: 10 – How many Nimons have you seen today?  How many?  THREEEEEE!!!!  This is all completely magnificent from beginning to end, so it’s getting a 10.  The Nimon be praised.

ML: 10 – Go into this with a smile and laugh your way through it.  The Nimon look like they can’t move their arms, there’s a guy whose pants split when he dies (despicable worm), and Soldeed… Oh, lord, Long Live Soldeed!   Absolute comedy gold!

Shada

RP: 9 – Now beautifully completed with animation that is much better integrated with the live action than I ever expected.  But before that happened it was still the best location filming that Doctor Who ever did.  Chattanooga Choo Choo, won’t you choo choo me home?

ML: 8 – Very high end stuff from what exists, but until I view the animated version, I can’t raise this one all the way to a 9 or 10.  Chronotis is awesome and I loved the Dirk Gently books, of which this is clearly a precursor, so I have to score it well.

Overall a fun season.  It’s weaker on the stories but stronger on the comedy.  It’s not the best season Baker has, but it’s certainly a lot of fun!  ML

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