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!


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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1 Response to Top of the Docs: Season 17

  1. scifimike70 says:

    It’s interesting to look back now after so long on how much I originally enjoyed the last season of Williams’ era before JNT’s reign would most significantly change things. It makes it all the better now to finally enjoy Shada in its entirety. City Of Death may be one of the best examples for how certain Doctor Who classics may age well. In memory of what Douglas Adams did at the time for Doctor Who, even four decades later, it’s nice to look back on how Tom Baker for the 4th Doctor’s nearing end could still find the best ways to enrich the show and please the fans.

    Liked by 1 person

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