Very Brief Doctor Who Reviews – Season Six

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The Dominators – The episode that basically says that pacifism is wrong. The villains are more like a bickering old couple than intergalactic conquerors, and there’s nothing fun about that; Arthur Cox is totally miscast as young revolutionary Cully; the costumes are either ridiculously short or long; and the pacifist Dulcians are portrayed as idiots for their peaceful ways. On top of all that it’s just plain dull. A story so bad it made Patrick Troughton quit. 3/10

The Mind Robber – Oh The Mind Robber, how I wish I could love you as much as everyone else does. I’ve tried, I really have. I think my main problem is that not a great deal happens – most of the time is spent hiding from the robots and getting out of various traps. I think I would like it better if our heroes came across more recognisable fictional characters a la Legend of the Cybermen. 6/10

The Invasion – One of only two good Cyber stories (the other being Tomb) and they don’t even appear until episode 4. But that’s OK, because the war between Tobias Vaughn and those handy chaps from UNIT means that my interest never wavers for a second. How strange that the template for the Pertwee era is better than anything in the era itself. The best contemporary thriller the show has ever produced. 9/10

The Krotons – Our three regulars each get a moment to shine – The Doctor and Zoe being terribly clever; Jamie being loyal and brave – but, unusually for Robert Holmes, the guest characters are less memorable. With the exception of Selris, they’re either the wettest rebels this side of Varos, or are a part of Philip Madoc’s Underwritten Bully Posse. Holmes is much better at writing villains than he is monsters, so its no surprise that the Krotons are terribly generic. If you’re looking to be entertained for an hour and half, this’ll do the job, just not much else. 6/10

The Seeds of Death – A last hoorah for the Troughton base under siege. Let’s face it – we’d all be Fewsham if this ever actually happened to us. There should have been another way. The guest characters are likeable and memorable (we’ve got another Strong Independent Woman in Miss Kelly). It’s not terrible different to any of the bases under siege of last season, apart from the fact that its not missing, thought points off for the Doctor massacring the Ice Warriors with his sci-fi gun and sending their spaceship into the sun. There should have been another way. Entertaining in a pulp ‘60s sci-fi way. 7/10

The Space Pirates – Do we think even if this episode existed it would make the slightest lick of sense sense? The Doctor and friends don’t turn up until halfway through episode 1, the space police have decided that Milo Clancy is a criminal based on zero evidence, there are long sequences of space modules docking, and I can’t understand a word anyone is saying. 1/10

The War Games – I don’t know how they did it, but Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke made nine episodes of capture/escape interesting. There are some obvious moments of padding, like when the Doctor convinces the German soldier that he’s not a spy twice in five minutes using the same excruciatingly long shot of the sonic screwdriver, but for some reason it didn’t bother me. The final episode is heartbreaking; the moment that gets me every time is when Zoe says that she thought she’d forgotten something important, but its nothing. Brilliant performances, brilliant writing; as Terrance Dicks said, “it could have been a cwacking good four-parter.” 8/10

Originally published 31 December, 2016
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