Finally, we are getting into the stronger stuff. This is what would keep Doctor Who in the minds of fans in the coming years, when the series was no longer in production. Let’s see if Roger and I are in agreement this season…
RP: 9 – The gap between 20th and 21st Century Doctor Who starts closing dramatically at this point, although the story still attempts to engage with the past. The best Dalek story since the Pertwee era. Love the Special Weapons Dalek. The guest characters really come to life. Just a few flaws in logic and clunky moments let it down.
ML: 9 – There are so many magnificent things about this story from dialogue to what’s airing on TV during the story. I love that the Doctor actually stands up to Davros too. And the “ring around the rosy” theme has never been creepier!
RP: 8 – A great attempt to tackle an important theme, which makes most sense when understood as a parallel for homophobia. The subject matter was important enough to be the subject of an address by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Kandyman is incredibly creepy. I saw this story as a child, and fear of the Kandyman is a strong memory, but I think you have to experience this one as a child in the first instance in order to really appreciate it.
ML: 2 – I know there’s an allegory here but I can’t get past the Kandyman. Roger points out something that probably warrants a second viewing but between the mole people and the crazed nutjob muppet-chihauhau, it’s a burden to watch most of this story. The only reason I give it as many points as I do is because there is a moral and I had so much fun writing about it!
RP: 7 – Some of the elements fall flat, particularly the Neo-Nazis, and the Doctor and Ace spend most of the story wandering around chatting, but Peinforte and Richard are the best double act for years, and those Cybermen are just so shiny.
ML: 9 – I am a sucker for revealing anything about the Doctor’s past and adding so much mystery back into a character that had lost so much of what made him… yeah, that warranted a point or two. Plus it’s a fun, action-packed adventure to boot. And I love the parallel between Peinforte and Richard being a dark mirror to the Doctor and Ace.
RP: 9 – The thematic depth here is completely breathtaking, with every character and story element having a special metephorical significance beyond the obvious. Doesn’t quite add up to a coherent whole, but it manages to do lots of interesting things while simultaneously entertaining us with creepy clowns.
ML: 8 – There are things I truly don’t like about this story, notably WhizzKid and the rap song, but there are a ton of things I really love too. Werewolves and Lovecraftian entities in the same episode, along with creepy clowns and a quintessentially British git? Add to that some magic tricks by McCoy as he entertains the Gods of Ragnarok? It may not be the best of the season, but I do put it high on the list of must-see stories.
This is the start of modern Doctor Who way before modern Doctor Who. You can see hints of Remembrance when watching Bad Wolf, for instance. The background to who the Doctor was before the Time Lords feels very modern. The inclusion of anything Lovecraftian feels way ahead of its time, no matter how counter-intuitive that statement is! Overall, a really strong season. I can’t wait to review McCoy’s final season… ML