Continuing my plan to post what I think to be the highlights of every season of Doctor Who, old and new.
For each series I'll try to choose 2, maybe 3 of what I consider to be the best stories, which may comprise any number of actual episodes (somewhere between 1-14, typically 4 or 6). Older Who is nearly always episodic, with NuWho most episodes are self-contained. Feel free to expand on my brief comments, agree, disagree etc. This is, after all, purely subjective.
Season Six (1968-1969)
To paraphrase Tristan Shandy, we are now getting to the moment of my birth. From hereon, all episodes were shown within my lifetime even if I was too young to be aware of them until the Tom Baker years. And what does the last season for Patrick Troughton give us?
– cybermen again, and again the excellent Kevin Stoney giving a role similar to Mavic Chen (see The Daleks Master Plan
, Season Two) of a man playing his own dangerous game. This was probably also the last time that the cybermen felt like a real threat – after this their schemes become so ludicrously convoluted that they become a bit of a joke.
The War Games
– one of the longest individual stories (at 10 episodes), but a good one that builds and builds. Also, another of the few Troughton stories to exist in its entirety. The earlier episodes are an atmospheric evocation of WWI, and give a hint of something creepy going on. When we find out what that is, it raises new mysteries, culminating in some massive revelations from the Doctor concerning the Time Lords (seen for the first time). Watch, also, for the psychic distress signal that we’ve seen recently in The Doctor’s Wife
The Mind Robber
– I’m not really a fan of stories where a super-powerful being messes with reality (e.g. Celestial Toymaker
) , but this one isn’t bad, suitably surreal without becoming too cute about it. Bernard Horsfell, who crops up in a range of different roles in later stories, is good as Gulliver, speaking only in lines from Gulliver’s Travels.
The Space Pirates
– not a bad foray into space opera, with some scene stealing from Gordon Gostelow’s Milo Clancey. Shame that the Space Corps people are so limp. Must be the awful uniforms.