Very Brief Doctor Who Reviews – Season Three


Galaxy 4 – Could it be an indictment on the quality of the episode that when I came to write this review all I could think of was the pun ‘absolutely rilling’. The moment where Vicki applies the Doctor’s scientific method to justify throwing a rock at a chumblie is cute, but poor Steven is sidelined for much of the adventure. Maybe the idea that beauty doesn’t equal goodness would have been better if the Drahvins weren’t so obviously evil from the very beginning. 3/10

Mission to the Unknown – the one in which the Doctor and his companions don’t appear at all. Despite this, Mission to the Unknown is an exciting little foray into the Dalek spin-off that never happened. Even I, someone not particularly into pulp boy’s own science fiction adventure, was kept entertained for the run time. Though how bizarre is it that this is the only one-part episode of the classic series and we still can’t agree on the title.  6/10

The Myth Makers – No, I will not accept that Vicki leaves in such a stupid way! Classic companions are as bad as Disney princesses for marrying men they’ve just met! Apart from that gaping flaw, this is an entertaining story that for the most part is a lighthearted historical adventure before suddenly taking a turn for the tragic at the end (a formula repeated over this season.) 7/10

The Daleks’ Master Plan – A big, long, unwieldy mess, that must have proved to the Dalek-obsessed children of 1965-6, that yes, you can have too much of a good thing. There’s something to be said for the method of skipping episodes 7-10, as the story grinds to halt for some holiday silliness. Not my cup of tea. 5/10

The Massacre – Um, the Doctor’s hardly in it, and there’s not much of it left. The Doctor is missing for days, and then scolds Steven for worrying. Dodo turns up at the end, and is possibly the only person never to question why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. William Hartnell is very good, both as the vile Abbot, and then as the Doctor as he gives  his final speech. Yeah, it’s a bit of a slog. A grainy, couldn’t-be-bother-to-hire-John-Cura slog. 3/10

The Ark – For all that people say the following story is racist, I find this one more offensive. It’s alright for the humans to enslave a dark-skinned alien race, but when it gets reversed, suddenly everyone loses their mind (someone make a joker meme out of that). On top of all that, it’s not a particularly interesting story, though I’ll concede the fake out ending is probably effective if you don’t know it’s coming. 3/10

The Celestial Toymaker – OK, so I’m not the greatest expert on what Chinese stereotypes are, and in my naiveté I wouldn’t have picked up that this is offensive. The scenes of Dodo and Steven playing games for their lives get tedious very quickly. The toymaker’s world is a cool concept, though it’s better executed in The Mind Robber. A better idea on paper than in reality. 5/10

The Gunfighters – Not the worst story ever, as legend would have it, but by no means the best either. The Doctor is clearly having a ball; I love the moment when Steven turns and finds a gun in his face mid-song; and Dodo (while still head-scratchingly stupid) is very cute in her interactions with Doc Holliday. A story that is ‘prey to every cliché ridden convention in the West.’ 6/10

The Savages – This story was such a hidden gem for me. Those scenes of Dodo – who is almost a real person in this story – wandering around empty corridors with creepy music playing are so atmospheric. How great is it to see just how far the Doctor has come in three years – he is undoubtedly the hero in this story. The only thing I’d change would be to raise the stakes for the savages. They get drained and after a few hours they’re fine; I’d make it more obvious that everytime they’re drained they regress more and more. Near perfect. 9/10

The War Machines – Yay Ben and Polly! Poor Dodo! Fan spasm at his being called ‘Doctor Who’! The only one of Ian Stuart Black’s three stories to survive, and by far his least interesting, as far as I’m concerned. It has Kit Pedlar’s grubby little protuberances all over it, with the anxiety of people losing their humanity to technology. Doctor Who’s first foray into the contemporary thriller, it will be done better in the future, but it’s a pretty decent first stab. 6/10

Originally published 3 December, 2016

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