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 choose 2 or 3 of what I consider to be the best stories, and a selection of also-rans. "Stories" 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.
The second season to feature Tom Baker is a pretty solid one, with the production team of Hinchcliffe and Holmes firing on all cylinders, and a strong acting team of Baker and Liz Sladen (Ian Marter as Harry drops out after the first story, which in some ways is a shame as he's a fun character but also probably for the best as I can see that the writers would have had a harder and harder time of giving him something worthwhile to do).
This season borrows liberally from the horror genre, particularly the gothic end of the pool, creating the kind of story that would come to characterise the Tom Baker era, and which Davies and Moffat would both draw upon heavily in the revived era.
Season Thirteen (1975-1976)
Terror Of The Zygons
– Admittedly, the Skarasen isn’t a very convincing special effect, but I simply love the Zygon’s organic technology, where the controls are sphincters and suckered tentacles that are squeezed and caressed to operate them. That, alone, is worth the price of admission.
Pyramids of Mars
– pretty archetypal of this era of Doctor Who. Gothic mansions, aliens and robots that imitate mythological beings, somewhat incomprehensible backstory; rightfully a classic.
The Brain of Morbius
– a fan favourite, but I thought it too
obviously “borrowed” from James Whale’s Frankenstein movie (monster, castle, lightning, blind girl, mad scientist...). Also disappointing for obscure personal reasons – when I was small, me and my cousin found that if you put a boiled sweet on an open fire it would split open and release bubbling goo in a gruesome fashion. My cousin christened this effect “The Brain of Morbius”. When I finally watched this episode, I was hoping for a similar effect to happen. It didn’t. I must have words with my cousin.
Seeds of Doom
– I like the “Antarctic” section which then segues back to England, and the slightly camp and creepy villain is a good role, but the ending is un-Who-like. The Doctor, give up and let the military handle things with an airstrike? I don’t think so.