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.
And so into the Eighties. At this point, John Nathan-Turner takes over as producer, and stays there until the bitter end. Some notable changes from earlier seasons are the greater use of incidental music (almost wall-to-wall) and of film rather than video. This season seems strangely subdued, however. Baker's performance is greatly toned down, portraying the Doctor as world-weary and a little tired (Baker himself looks gaunt, as if he's been ill). The running theme of decay and entropy adds to the atmosphere.
There are no great stand-out stories in this season, although they are all largely solid. We do, however, get the introduction of the irritiating Adric
Season Eighteen (1980-1981)
The Keeper of Traken
– worth watching mainly for the design of the Melkur, which is wonderfully imaginative. The story’s okay, and ends in a suitable downbeat fashion. The Master gets to be less of a paper tiger at last.
– probably the main reason to watch this is because it is the last Tom Baker episode. The stakes are high but the story never quite manages to convey this. It has some interesting ideas in it in the form of Logopolis itself, although the computers look laughably dated.
The Leisure Hive
– As with Robot, this is worth watching to get the immediate contrast with the preceding season. The story is harmless enough.
– Weird, trippy, with a sense of ennui and of things falling apart. It's maybe a bit too
trippy, with some parts seeming to be weird just for the sake of it.