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.
This is the fifth season of Tom Baker's Doctor, and one could argue that this is where his tenure starts to flag. It's still a pretty strong season, for the most part, although patchy.
There are two firsts in this season. The first time another Time Lord (Lady!) features as a companion (Mary Tamm giving a great performance as the first incarnation of Romana), and the first time a season has an overall story arc (the Key of Time). In some of the earlier series, particularly with the First Doctor, each story bled straight into the next, but this is the first time (and last for a while) that each story in the series is linked by a common theme. Unfortunately it shows that the writers didn't know where they were going with it when they got to the end. Generally this season starts strongly and quality drops off by the end. And so:
Season Sixteen (1978-1979)
Fourth Doctor/Romana I
The Ribos Operation
– another great pair of Robert Holmes “lovable rogue” characters, a genuinely credible villain in the form of Graf Vinda-K, and a future society interestingly realised through hints and suggestions, plus the introduction of Romana, portrayed by an excellent Mary Tamm.
The Pirate Planet
– the fingerprints of Douglas Adams are clear in this one, with a story unafraid to go completely over the top. Even the daft fight between robot dog and robot parrot seems appropriate and not, as it would in other stories, mood-breaking.
The Stones of Blood
– a nice little return to Gothic horror, with some touches of the mythology of the female, but not tightly scripted enough to be a full classic.
The Androids of Tara
– a foray into swashbuckling romance, which gives Mary Tamm a lot to do and has another fun and credible villain, but perhaps a little too campy for its own good.