25 underappreciated Doctor Who stories

Feature Cameron K McEwan 26 Apr 2013 - 07:00

Cameron sings the praises of twenty-five classic and modern Doctor Who adventures that deserve more love. See what made the cut below...

Doctor Who fans can be an odd bunch at times (and by that I mean all the time), what's gold to one is dross to another. And when you think everyone is agreed on a genuine stinker (Timelash, for example), you'll find it has admirers in abundance. But what's here are some of the stories that, for whatever reason, get overlooked, underseen and, perhaps, undervalued - in no particular order.

The Awakening

Two-parters often get forgotten about (in classic Doctor Who at any rate) and this Peter Davison story, whilst perhaps best known to Who fans for a famous blooper featuring a horse, has some tremendous imagery and beautiful location shooting. Best of all is the villain of the piece, The Malus, who put the willies right up me as young boy. Its appearance in the TARDIS as an almost monkey-like being is unsettling, whilst its full appearance featuring a giant head may remind older readers of the arcade game Sinistar (which also scared me as a youngster).

Planet of the Dead

Considering how bold and "out there" this one-hour episode is, the amount of derision the David Tennant Easter special gets kind of baffles me. Gareth Roberts and Russell T. Davies produced a romptactular spectacular with planet-hopping on a bus! The Tritovore made for an interesting and friendly alien but it was the unnamed nasty flying stingray-like creatures that devoured planets and created their own wormholes who chomped through the romp most threateningly.

The Ambassadors of Death

I suspect, since the DVD of this story was released last year, that this Jon Pertwee seven-parter (yes, you read correctly - seven) is currently being reassessed by fans. There's a tremendous energy throughout (okay, perhaps a couple of episodes could have been snipped) but its change of locale and story twists are more than enough to make this a hugely pleasing outing. Best of all are the cliffhangers (and there are some crackers in The Ambassadors of Death) which find the famous Doctor Who sting acutely breaking in on the action with a fraction of a second to spare, very modern and very exciting. The use of in-episode stings, which punctuate the start-of-episode recap are also to be highly commended for their ingenuity.

The Leisure Hive

Kicking off the Eighties in measurable style, and by that I mean glitzy, this Tom Baker four-parter saw the beginning of the end for his time in the TARDIS. The Argolins were straight out of a David Bowie video but the Foamasi were an interesting and excellently designed alien (despite their realisation not being quite so excellent). Highlights include seeing Baker getting his limps ripped apart and an expertly executed aged Doctor, a top make-up job. It was a fresh start for the decade and a signpost of things to come.

Aliens of London/World War III

Ok, so some of you don't like The Slitheen. I'm not a fan of Game of Thrones but I don't go on about it. For the first time in Who's history, we got a proper alien invasion story that involved the world and we saw this evidenced (through what would become a Russell T. Davies trademark, rolling news items), witnessing the ramifications on the population, not just The Doctor and his companion. The crashing of the ship into Big Ben and then into the Thames was a marvellous slice of imagery, and an iconic moment for the show displaying its new-found ability to utilise special effects convincingly. And who doesn't love the Space Pig?

The Ark

Detractors of this William Hartnell outing often cite aliens The Monoids and invisible Refusians but any story that features the line "Take them to the security kitchen!" needs to be appreciated. In all seriousness, The Ark is notable, and well worth watching for a few things: the interference that The Doctor and his companions have unwittingly caused (bringing the common cold into contact with an alien race); the results of this many years down the line when the TARDIS returns to the same spot; and a cracking and visually beautiful cliffhanger to its second episode.

Black Orchid

Another two-parter and another set in the past for Peter Davison and his young gang. Its brevity serves the story perfectly in this Agatha Christie-esque tale with a dark, and horrific, family secret at the heart of the tale. The location shooting is a joy, not mention tremendously English, and the costumes are a blast - though The Doctor's harlequin outfit is deeply unsettling with its eerie mask and deceptively colourful facade. Also worth noting is Black Orchid's terrific cast, featuring Michael Cochrane (recently seen as Reverend Travis in Downton Abbey), Barbara Murray (Passport to Pimlico) and Moray Watson (Rumpole of the Bailey), and that incredibly moving denouement.

Dreamland 

You might think I'm cheating with this one, but this is a bona fide Doctor Who story from the BBC and even broadcast on television. From The Waters Of Mars co-writer Phil Ford, a companion-less Tenth Doctor goes on a computer-generated animated adventure into the heart of Area 51 in the late 1950s, where the Time Lord discovers some Men In Black and a nasty alien at work. Cast-wise, this tale is quite the eye (or ear, rather) opener, there's Georgia Moffett (The Doctor's Daughter), screen legend David Warner (Tron), Stuart Milligan (President Nixon in The Impossible Astronaut two-parter), Lisa Bowerman (familiar to some as Bernice Summerfield in the Big Finish audio adventures) and even Nicholas Rowe (well "known" for portraying Sherlock Holmes in Steven Spielberg's Young Sherlock Holmes). Fact fans may also note, that The Sarah Jane Adventures used elements of Dreamland in the Phil Ford stories Prisoner of the Judoon and The Vault of Secrets.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy

Clowns! Killer clowns! Aargh! Some of you may be saying. Whilst certainly not under appreciated by Sylvester McCoy fans (all twelve of them), those who are less impressed with The Seventh Doctor's run will find much to enjoy in this 1988 four-parter. Apart from the meta-inclusion of Gian Sammarco (television's original Adrian Mole) as Whizz Kid - a thinly veiled parody of the Doctor Who fan (nice prophetic bow tie though), the highlight is most definitely Ian Reddington's role as Chief Clown. A superb performance and, still to this day, one of Who's finest villains.

The Android Invasion

Often overlooked due its placing in the legendary "Season 13", where every story is a classic, and sandwiched between fan-favourites, Pyramids of Mars and The Brain of Morbius, this Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen four-parter has so much going for it, and very little against. The Kraals are a fantastically designed monster and their simple Earth invasion is refreshing, but it's their titular androids that make for such a haunting viewing. Witness as Sarah Jane Smith's face falls off to reveal the ghostly circuitry beneath. *Shudder* Again, the location shooting serves the story, from Who legend and "creator" of the Daleks, Terry Nation, well with some stunning village shots (The Doctor tied to a cross) and the opening "death" of a UNIT soldier. The very essence of classic Who.

The Mind of Evil

Like previous entry The Ambassadors of Death, I suspect this six-parter from 1971 will be reassessed on its release later this year on DVD. Now restored to full colour, some of us were lucky enough to see the "new" version at the recent BFI screening in March. And what a cracker this is. Despite being a six-parter, The Mind of Evil keeps its pace and interest maintained throughout. Whilst not quite gritty, prison scenes add to the chaotic nature of the tale and there's yet another delicious appearance from Roger Delgado as renegade Time Lord, The Master.

The Unicorn and the Wasp

Due to its humour and light tone, a trait loathed by certain parts of Doctor Who fandom, this Gareth Roberts story breezes along and its triumph, by and large, is down to the cast and the fun script. The story itself, a knowing Agatha Christie pastiche (perhaps a little too knowing, at times), has laughs and giggles galore and the cast, featuring legends like Felicity Kendall and Christopher Benjamin and top acting talent such as Tom Goodman-Hill and the beautiful Fenella Woolgar (as the aforementioned real-life crime writer). But it's that delightful chemistry of Tennant and Tate who make for the most emtertaining of comedy duos, kissing and deducing their way through this summer picnic of a Who story.

Frontios

For me, this is a genuine classic and it perturbs me somewhat that there are fans out there who dislike this Peter Davison tale so much (but such is the life of a Doctor Who fan, I accept this). I mean, it has the TARDIS BREAKING UP INTO PIECES!!! That should surely be enough but there's more. "Monsters" of the piece, The Tractators, whilst not perfect on screen, are one of Doctor Who's most interesting additions - think giant woodlice that suck people into the ground. It's a proper horror story in the guise of a science-fiction tale, a trope that Doctor Who does all too well.

Terror of the Vervoids

More Agatha Christie style fun here as The Sixth Doctor embarked on his own Murder on the Orient Express (someone is even seen reading the book in the story). It's a solid tale and if you removed the frankly tedious Trial of a Time Lord moments from it, you'd be left with a cracking Who story with a damn threatening monster, The Vervoids. Of course, there's more than meets the eye to these guys and their needs, but I shan't spoil that for you.

Doctor Who (The 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie)

One of my biggest gripes for The Eighth Doctor's one night stand in the middle of the Nineties is its name. We all just call it The 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie rather than its proper, and rather useless, name, Doctor Who. Anyway, title grumbles aside, the only on-screen appearance of Paul McGann as everyone's favourite Gallifreyan (to date) does have much in its favour (despite an ending that not only makes little sense, it actively pisses on the show's history and the very notion of what it means to be a time-traveler) - namely Paul McGann. The Withnail & I actor puts in such a wonderfully Doctor-y performance that it would ensure a career in audio and books for years to come.

Boom Town

The Slitheen! Again!!! Though, it should be noted, the beasts from Raxacoricofallapatorius barely make an appearance in their true form, leaving wonderful actress Annette Badland to strut her stuff so brilliantly across this episode. Never before, or since, in Doctor Who have we seen The Doctor, here played by everyone's favourite grumpy northerner Christopher Eccleston, dine with his prey before execution. "Dinner and bondage. Works for me," leers the alien during a fascinating tete-a-tete where the morality of The Doctor is laid bare by his captor in a Cardiff restaurant; the sublime meets the ridiculous (you can choose which is which in that metaphor).

Victory of the Daleks

I had to be in the minority when the new Dalek Paradigm came along. I was quite fond of their colourful and rotund appearance (being a fan of the Peter Cushing movie Daleks, you see) but this Mark Gatiss tale featuring The Eleventh Doctor has got lots more going on than simply giant gaudy pepperpots. Churchill, spitfires in space and tea-serving subservient Daleks - it's got it all! In all seriousness, the notion of the mad little tanks scheming around, luring The Doctor in to reboot their species (or something like that) reminds us how clever the Daleks can be.

Nightmare of Eden

What this extraordinary Tom Baker four-parter lacks in production values and acting, it makes up for in ideas and barminess. The Mandrels, the "monsters" of the piece, may well have looked and acted like they stepped out of The Muppet Show but this is a gritty tale of drug-running on an intergalactic scale. The Fourth Doctor is appalled as he gets embroiled in something he genuinely believes to be evil but by the time we hear him bellow, "My fingers, my arms, my legs, my everything!" any notion of gravity has somewhat dissipated. It was a story, I should say, that utterly terrified me as a child and, if you can get over the performances, which, I have to admit, are gruesomely hilarious, and the production (poor, at best) then there's much to admire. I suspect, however, there's now more to have a giggle at than think about.

Love and Monsters

Until the appearance of Peter Kay as The Abzorbaloff in the final third of this 2006 episode starring Marc Warren, Love and Monsters could have been an out-and-out classic loved by all. The very notion of a "Doctor-lite" story is, without wanting to lay on this over-used word, genius. Wanting to focus on the "other" people affected by The Doctor's life is admirable and, indeed, here is utterly fantastic. Typical Russell T. Davies and typically emotional and engaging as a result; and what a cast too! Shirley Henderson, Simon Greenall, Moya Brady and Kathryn Drysdale add beautifully to LINDA (London Investigation 'n' Detective Agency) whilst Camille Coduri give us so much more with Jackie Tyler, and how it feels when left daughterless. Praise should be delivered for sheer balls and ingenuity, reinvigorating Doctor Who in such a thoughtful and pleasing fashion. AND there's ELO - perfect!

The Pirate Planet

As the second story in the infamous Key To Time season, this story from Douglas Adams (the man behind the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as if you didn't know) is positively bristling with ideas. The planet in question is hollow and has been materialising around other planets, mining their resources leaving tiny remains all in a bid to attain immortality. Best of all is Tom Baker's face-off with The Pirate Captain, a Darth Vader-esque man/machine hybrid -  "Appreciate it... appreciate it! You commit mass destruction and murder on a scale that's almost inconceivable and you ask me to appreciate it!" The Doctor questions in disbelief. Brilliant stuff from Baker. As you'd expect from Adams, there's humour and concepts galore.

Mawdryn Undead

Talk about timey-wimey, The Fifth Doctor was getting up to all sorts of flim-flammery back in the Eighties/Seventies in this four-parter which acts as a sequel, of sorts, to The Key to Time season mentioned above. For its time, and even re-watching now, Mawdryn Undead is an extremely pacey piece which darts between two time zones in the most pleasing, and modern, of fashions. Despite the UNIT dating controversy (using The Brigadier as teacher in The Eighties) fans can revel in the fake Doctor, the titular Mawdyrn (who's traveling with his chums through eternity doomed to a life of perpetual death) who tries to convince Tegan and Sarah that he has merely regenerated. Design-wise, it's a triumph with a beautiful ship, super brain-bulging aliens and a haunting score from Paddy Kingsland.

The End of the World

Easy to forget about this little beauty as its previous story, Rose, tends to get much more attention (for good reason). After showing us modern-day London, Russell T. Davies took us far into the future to watch the Earth burn but also watch how The Ninth Doctor and his new companion were getting on. Like a couple of entries here, it was an Agatha Christie-style tale, and again in space - a simple, solid story. Rose was still coming to terms with her new BFF and their relationship was a little frosty but after the revelation of the Time War and the need for some chips, all was well. Only two stories in and the new cast and crew were assuredly steering the show in the right direction with story and heart.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs

Another story often put to the side due to the main monsters of the tale, the Dinosaurs. Yes, they are bloody terrible. Laughably so, I shan't disabuse you of that notion - there's absolutely nothing positive to say about them at all, from design to execution. But it's the story in this Jon Pertwee six-parter that's worth the re-evaluation. Someone is tampering with time and using the prehistoric baddies to evacuate London, all in the noble cause of the environment and the future of mankind. In an exciting twist, trusty old Mike Yates turns out to be a traitor (believing he is in the right), adding to the layers of this intriguing tale. Invasion of the Dinosaurs is worth watching alone for the opening episode with its eerie empty streets and unfolding mystery, classic Who.

The End of Time

Lots of negativity was hurtled towards David Tennant's swan song as The Doctor (don't worry kids, he'll be back!), mainly due to its protracted denouement, but as a finale, The End of Time is nothing short of breathtaking. The goodbye scenes, which many loathed (and by many, I mean a few people on the internet - not real people), are a testament to the Russell T. Davies era and how far we'd come in Doctor Who. The Time Lord cares about humans, and cares about the those he travels with and those whose lives he had touched - these final moments are beautiful and incredibly moving. I am unapologetic about that, they are stunning scenes in Who's history. But The End of Time is so much more than the farewells; there's the bold and much-longed for return of The Master AND the Time Lords. The renegade's insanity is revealed as is the macabre nature of The Doctor's people; graphically detailed in the final days of the Time War. For some, the show would never be the same again.

The Five Doctors

There are very few Doctor Who stories I can just stick on and watch at any point, regardless of mood - and this 20th Anniversary Special is one of them. In fact, it's probably the Doctor Who story I've watched the most over the years, never tiring of the multi-Doctor fun. Some "fans", and I use the term quite wrongly, are sniffy about this and often ignore it, possibly because it's such a joyous affair. But what should be remembered is the fact that aside from the sheer delight of seeing five Doctors together on screen (well, OK, three) the notion of searching for immortality is fascinating, especially when there are corrupt Time Lords sniffing around. Best of all, for me, is the Raston Warrior Robot - when we gonna see that guy again?

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The 5 doctors which I watched as a 10 year old was brilliant. I hope the 50th special is as good. Who can forget Sarah Jane on the slightly steep hill of death!

I frikkin' loved the End of Time I have to say. Tennant's emotional depth was an absolute tour de force and I still don't get why people slag it off? A million times better than all that River Song/Melody Pond balls.

Most of those stories are not thought of as being "bad" stories, just suffered for 1 or 2 poor decisions, the casting of the rather poor ex-Eastenders actress in Planet of the Dead, or the poor quality of the Dinos but there are a few *really* bad stories there, End of time is terrible for lots of reasons, the potions to resurrect the Master and him flying being the 2 biggest problems among many IMHO, Ambassadors is a poor story and at least 4 episodes too long, the ending for the TV Movie makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, Eric Roberts is rubbish as the Master and the pacing of Victory of the Daleks is all over the place.

I think Mind of Evil will go down in estimation rather than up, the grimy B&W look gives it an edge that it will completely lose when the gaudy Letts-o-Vision colour comes in, just like when The Daemons was colorised, everybody used to love that now it is almost completely forgotten about.

5 Docs is brilliant, I bought my first DVD player just to watch it in good quality - mind you anything with Pat Troughton in is going to be great.

Magical Resurrection Potions (this is DW not Harry Potter), the Master flying, the whole world being turned into Masters, the terrible resolution to the cliffhanger, the frankly pathetic finale to the story, the further damage to the Timelords mystique, the Doctor falling several hundred feet at several hundred miles an hour through a glass ceiling onto a marble floor with barely a scratch, the far too long goodbye scenes, the god-awful "I Don't Want to go" whine at the end and that is just of the top of my head! I have no problem with OTT bluster, I loved Journeys End but EoT is just rubbish.

The Horns of Nimon!

A great idea, these intergalactic locusts hopping from planet to plant and draining them dry, alongside musing about the nature of hero worship. Romana as a better Doctor than the Doctor manages in this story, Ward playing it deadly straight. John Bailey's small but moving performance as Sezom adding a lot to the story. Some great dialogue ("He lives in the Power Complex." "That fits.")

And failing all that, just laugh your head off instead at the sheer ridiculous bad panto approach elsewhere, with Tom and Graham Crowden making total berks out of themselves and Lord Niiiiiiiiimon tottering about on his glam rock boots.

Err... I'm failing to see how the vast majority of those episodes are underrated,

What did Terrance Dicks call it in the commentary? "The incline of potential doom?"

And of course "The Corridor of Terror!" as the opening shot

I fully agree about Love and Monsters; it's utter genius until Kay turns up and it all falls apart to rubbish. If it had just been left as an exploration of the people the Doctor had affected then it would have been a wonderful tribute to the dedicated fans who had been affected by Doctor Who in real life.

I absolutely love this episode too, I didn't even know it wasn't well received until I read this article ! It has everything ! The return of The Master, the return of Gallifrey, an absolutely awesomely ridiculous plan of the Master (everyone turning into him, including Obama, that was hilarious !), there was magic too and the end, it was such a tear jerker. Not only a farewell to the 10th Doctor, but to the Davies era !

Same for me ! XD

The Ambassadors of Death is an amazing story one that is incredibly strong. Personally I think Season Seven of Who is the strongest the show has ever
produced (yes even better than 13) in terms of quality Spearhead, Silurians,
Death and Inferno are all superb.

I dislike most of Tennant’s Specials and Planet of the Dead is abysmal. I can’t get pass The Slitheen if they turn up, sorry but they’re awful. Aliens of London/WW3/Boom Town – meh.

I’m currently working my way through the First Doctor’s stories (again) and it’s been a pleasure and I’m about to start The Ark and from what I can remember it’s a really enjoyable piece. Season 19 starts very well with Castrovalva but then plummets for a couple of episodes but then Black Orchid comes along and it’s brilliant. Season
25 is underrated all-round the only mildly useless story being Silver Nemesis, The
Greatest Show in the Galaxy is excellent.

I love The Unicorn and the Wasp is great fun but then I think Series 4 of NuWho is difficult to top with Series 5 its closest rival. The interplay between Tennant and Tate is fantastic.

Terror of the Vervoids is awesome as is Six.

Love and Monsters – No.

Mawdryn Undead is wonderful.

The End of the World is a good story.

McGann is a fantastic Doctor; thank the science fiction lords on high for Big Finish.

I can forgive The End of Time a lot as it has some smashing moments BUT that last line?

Really enjoyed this article, more please. = )

Oh now I understand, people don't like this episode, because they watch Doctor Who seriously. Come on it's about a guy who travels accross the universe and time in a police phone booth ! And strangely enough, most of times he happens to go to contemporary London. Doctor Who is NOT realistic at all, anything can happen in it. You're supposed to have fun watching it. I couldn't care less about the use of magic. He could go to the Middle Earth, to Oz or to the Smurfs village, it would still be Doctor Who.

"Not only a farewell to the 10th Doctor, but to the Davies era !"

Ok, I'll give in, there is something good about the End of Time after all

:p

Plenty of Russell T. Davies drivel in there. What a surprise....

Word.

You serious? Science fiction can be fantastical but it still has to have its own rules and internal logic. You can't say "Time travel isn't possible in real life, therefore it's OK for Doctor Who to make no sense whatsoever". Time travel has been explained and justified numerous times in-universe; 'Magic resurrection potion' was pulled from completely nowhere and there wasn't a single line of explanation.

And of course people watch Doctor Who seriously. It's a DRAMA.

I never realised The Android Invasion and The Mind of Evil and other stories were held in low esteem among fans or were even overlooked.The Trial of the Time Lord is under constant reevaluation with the "Terror of the Vervoids" repeatedly cited as a high point. "Black Orchid" is one of my favorite Fifth Doctor stories, and while never really named in the "classic" stories lists I always felt lots of other fans fondly remembered it. Then there are the stories which deserve their "overlooked status and are just terrible (yes, End of Time I'm looking at you; as much as the sight and idea of a planet full of John Simms was funny it was just wrong). Article just seems to be a useless plea to reevaluate the RTD with a few token Old Who stories tossed in. List perhaps would be better served if trimmed down to ten stories.

Thank you for defending those RTD episodes, Cameron. People seem to take a lot of what he writes at face-value whereas they're rife with depth and symbolism. I haven't seen all of those classics but love the ones I have.

"Love & Monsters" is a piece of old arse and no one will ever convince me otherwise

Hmm... agree with most of these but, I'm sorry, End of Time is one of the VERY few new-Who stories that I massively dislike. The story just doesn't work, the big sacrifice scene is terrible (two reasons: 10 is at his whingy worst here but far more importantly Wilf would NEVER have let him do it when he could just hit any button randomly to sacrifice himself), "I don't want to go" is far too meta and something that's actually put me off revisiting 10's stories, Donna was messed with to make the whole 'she can never remember' thing a lot less, uh, final than it ought to be, falling from several hundred feet up would have resulted in Doctor Jam (see Fourth Doctor, regeneration of), the fake out regeneration was ridiculous... the list just goes on and on. And I'm still gutted about that, while there were certain things about Ten I disliked (Rose, true wuv etc) you always want regeneration stories to be superb event moments but this one just played too fast and loose. Frustrating because you could see what might have been given a few different decisions but there we are.

Still think Victory of the Daleks only had one major problem (well, two; the Director wasn't great and as a result some scenes didn't work and looked silly) and it's summed up in the pic on this article. That damn set for the Dalek ship looked okay-ish with the old Daleks but really didn't work for the new ones. Not tall enough, not Dalek-y enough and no texture or contrast in the walls really made the smooth design of the new boys stand out. They look so much better in the rougher surroundings of the Pandorica chamber or the Dalek parliament. As a result the reaction was much more negative than it should have been (though, of course, there would still have been some negativity. This is Who after all). The only other issue is it's trying to do so damn much in 45 minutes that things get rushed.

One other thing I really do disagree with: "Whilst certainly not under appreciated by Sylvester McCoy fans (all twelve of them)". Something I've noticed in the last few years is the Seventh Doctor is rapidly gaining in popularity as people rediscover those episodes. Maybe it's not a surprise, McCoy was always underrated as the Doctor and let down more by the stories and production limitations than anything else. The audio plays and New Adventures novels showed what the character could do with room to breathe and when you compare the TV shows (well, the Ace era anyway) to New-Who it's surprisingly similar. Oh the quality isn't there and scripts are horribly rushed but the character development is there, plotlines go over more than one story, time travel is actually used to make stories interesting, Ace would happily sit in with the best of New Who (minus the worst of the 80's dialogue)...

Yeah, don't be silly, you have to take these things seriously or they have no meaning. Once a TV show (or film or comic or whatever) sets its own rules, whatever those rules may be, I'll accept them. If it then starts breaking those rules, then why bother with any of it?

That corridor scene was from the "extended cut" opening. The "actual broadcast" version of 5 Doctors opened with Peter Davison admiring the new Tardis console....just sayin...

To say Love and Monsters is a piece of old arse is actually quite charitable.

One of the rule in Doctor Who is that there are no rules ! The Doctor lies, remember ? And no Doctor Who is NOT a serious show, it's a fun show where everything exists and can happen. Every time the Doctor states a rule, this rule is broken soon or later. Remember you can't cross your own timeline ? How many times exactly did he actually make it ? Magic exists in Doctor Who too, but it's not an important part of it as it's mostly a sci fi show. I have no problem with it, as even magic is explained scientifically.

Frontios is one of my earliest memories and it terrified the life out of me. I distinctly remember the black stone amid the TARDIS walls.

I often think that Dr Who has suffered from good stories, badly executed. Sometimes it's the budget, wooden performances, mis-casting or all three. That's why I used to love the Target novels so much, as some stories actually worked far better on the page than they did on TV.

They've re-released a few of these recently, but it would be great if the suddenly decided to novelise the modern series. I'm sure a few wrongs could be righted.

It's funny how people complain about the use of potions, but The Daemons is quite a popular Pertwee story. The Master summons a god with potions and incantations. :/

I was hoping to see Terminus on this list. Fans seem to despise that story, yet I've always loved it! It's nice to see Android Invasion here. That's always been one of my favourites; that was one of the first stories I recorded on VHS back in the day.
I was surprised to see Ambassadors of Death on this list. It's my understanding that most fans acknowledge that Season 7 was one of the strongest seasons of classic Who. I suppose Ambassadors is thought of as the weakest of that season by a lot of people, but I, for one, adore it!!
As a sidenote, Dreamland doesn't count as part of the "proper series" and has no place here, so I won't comment on its completely lifeless and hard-to-watch CGI...actually, I guess I just did.
Love Mind of Evil....Love Mawdryn Undead....and I have always loved Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Despite its crappy dinosaurs, it's a truly excellent story with an excellent cast....and let's not forget the introduction of the good ol' Whomobile! I actually didn't realise people didn't like Pirate Planet....always loved this story as well....In fact, I love all the classic series stories on this list...great list....at least for classic Who stuff...
...new series stuff is another matter...Love and Monsters? Really? I can't stand this story...total garbage, waste of an episode...if it weren't for the fact that the DVD has multiple episodes on it, I would've snapped that pile of crap in half. Aliens of London/World War 3 isn't totally terrible I suppose, but the Slitheen sure are. They look terrible...there's just no excuse for that in 2005...and the fact that 3 episodes out of the first 13 are devoted to them is quite ridiculous. Boomtown is okay and has some good character interaction between the 4 main cast members....but, aside from that, it's total filler and a waste of an episode.
End of the World I enjoyed a lot, even though the story was quite light. End of Time I like more than most people - great character moments between Wilf and the Doctor, but I acknowledge that a lot of the ending is quite ridiculous...especially because we know Tom Baker regenerated after a fall from a radio telescope...and yet somehow, David Tennant can survive jumping out of a spaceship and crashing through a glass roof...and still be able to jump up and point a gun at people...totally absurd garbage (this was RTD at his worst I'm afraid)! Perhaps the Doctor had regenerated after that fall, I would be more forgiving.
And lastly, I'll address the 1996 Movie. Although, I didn't think it was all that great (don't even get me started on the half-human thing), I thought it had some great scenes with Sylvester McCoy (some of his best), and Paul McGann was amazing. He was wonderfully cast in this role!! Thank god Big Finish has been able to give him a proper tenure as the Doctor...I hope and pray that we get to see him in the 50th anniversary special!

I'd love to see novelisations of new series episodes. That'd be fantastic!

Who slags it off and why? Ready to morph into a Dalek here.

........................................................ Nope.

I quite liked Dreamland. Slitheen are my fave monsters from DW. Love and Monsters I thought was excellent and very clever.

P.S I think in a certain sentence DoG meant to say "limb" than "limp".

what was wrong with it????

True !

Stopped reading at the picture of the Slitheen and the line 'I'm not a fan of Game of Thrones' This persons taste is obviously light years away from mine!

Ok, so you probably hated the episode with Shakespeare too, as it was a story about witches and they vanquished them with a spell, like in Charmed.

I certainly agree with your picks for the new series. All of those are top notch, no matter what short sighted haters think.

Personally I think Terror of the Vervoids is the low point of the season, the high point for me is The Ultimate Foe followed by Mindwarp...

But it has its own rules. They didn't invoke a god to resurrect the Master. The potion is just some sort of medicine, and the spell, well, the Doctor already explained that words have power. There have already been magic in the series. And yeah the Master could fly. So what ? The Timelords can transform into another person when they die, how is that more realistic ? He flies because he has a lot of temporal energy in him, because the resurrection ritual wasn't perfectly done, side effect. I don't see any problem with it. And yeah that's really strange to watch this show seriously, it's not 24.... It's a show about a guy traveling through space time in a phone booth, remember ! I watch it as a sci fi comedy/drama, not pure drama.

To answer your question: everything! A better question would be: what wasn't wrong with it? Of course the answer then would be: nothing; so maybe they're both stupid questions.

Love and Monsters is a genius episode. If you want to dislike Series 2, pick on Fear Here.

I strongly agree with that!

Nimon is brilliant if you are in the right mood, laugh a minute stuff, I'm a huge fan of Graham Crowden here, in the fantastic "Waiting for God" and a Very Peculiar Practice"

The End of Time is brilliant, great television. It has so much heart and emotional depth, I can hardly take it. The Doctor, the Master, Wilf were all fantastic in this, and the score by Murray Gold is one of his absolute best.

Almost every story on that list deserves to be derided, anyone who tries to find meaning in Love and Monsters is trying far far far too hard.
The End of Times 10 minute good bye had me positively angry, I didn't know TV could be that excruciatingly painful, I loved Tennants Doctor, but by the end of that I wanted him GONE!

So glad you pointed out that "I dont want to go" line I hate it with a passion, the 9th Doctors last line was perfect but the 10th was just too self indulgent it totally took you out of the idea that this is an alien who regenerates into a new body at the end of his life, i felt so sorry for David Tennant having to spout that feeble whimper out, the whole thing was only just saved by the 11th Doctors brilliant first minute on screen after.

I am a McCoy fan, because look past his first season and the script editing issues through his whole run. I see the man who first took the Doctor down a dark path of being like "that uncle that no one talks about", and clearly all the modern iterations have drawn from that. McCoy isn't the strongest actor, but for my money he attempted to do the most interesting things with the character that we now take for granted with Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith doing more of it. Oh, and Ian Reddington? His chief clown is the perfect example of why I LOVE creepy clowns. His interpretation is not overdone or ostentatious, and it mixed the intensity and apathy that combine to make any villain scary.

But it WAS well received by most people, especially general audiences. It won awards for best drama (National Awards or something like that) and everything. It's just some very loud fans online who hate it, but they are a minority. I constantly see love for it everywhere.

I have memories of both Nightmare of Eden and The Pirate Planet being cracking episodes (may well be disappointed if I were to watch again today).

Whatever bad stuff people say about the Slitheen, they are being generous!

That was the problem, it's no good having a story with symbolism if the story doesn't work when that is taken away. Robert Holmes understood this and managed to have underpinning messages which elevated the stories, whereas RTD dragged the tales down with them - perhaps not so badly as the Happiness Patrol... but not far off.

Hahaha..too true...epic fail with that line!

Genius? Really? I don't know that I'd go that far. Genius is Genesis of the Daleks or Talons of Weng-Chiang or Caves of Androzani. Or for RTD, genius is Midnight. Do you really think Love and Monsters ranks up there?

there are rarely any terrible doctor who stories - some are a little forgettable, or slow, but there's only, in my opinion, one absolutely awful doctor who story - "Revenge of the Cybermen". Scrolled down that list going "Oh yeah! i;d forgotten that one! that one was awesome!"

Ok, thank you ! Now I understand better ! Because ok, I don't have that many whovian friends, but we all loved it.

It was a very funny episode to me. I watched it several time, don't see what was wrong either...

Funny, maybe, but not good. Not one single guest character in that ep is believable. We're all entitled to our opinions. It is only my opinion. Sorry if I stated it like fact, but I just can't stand it. I could watch Time and The Rani 10 times in a row before I would ever watch Crap and Monsters again.

Oh I don't take it personnally, we can't all like the same thing, we're just here to discuss :) For example, everybody seem to love the latest Dredd movie, I really didn't like it while on the other side, I like the first movie a lot when everybody seem to hate it.

We love it because it rocks! :)

Love and Monsters is genius?? Wow, you're easy to impress. This episode was such a dumbed-down pile of drivel I actually found it insulting to my intelligence. Yes, Fear Her was bad too, but not like this. Not only is every single guest-character a gibbering simpleton of an idiot, but we have Jackie and Rose Tyler at their most irritating ever!!! And then we have the Absorbaloff or whatever the hell it's called. God what an embarassment. The storyline was totally useless and totally devoid of any tension or intrigue or anything. It was just bad television, let alone bad Doctor Who. If this episode had been written by Moffat, all the RTD people out there would hate it...it's just that simple! The best thing about this episode was the music....and I mean ELO, not Murray Gold's bombastic mess.

Greatest Show was a very cool story, and I agree with you: Reddington's performance was just excellent.

Ambassadors of Death is mindnumbingly tedious. However, nothing is as terrible and as monstrously, unbelievably OVERrated as City of Death, I would rather poke my eyes out with a blunt cocktail stick than watch that. And if anyone mentions Douglas "one trick pony" Adams, I shall not be responsible for my actions!

Very recently rewatched Love and Monsters (a friend is going through the new series for the first time and I am revisiting some episodes along with her), found it just as funny as the first time around. Granted the alien is terrible, but the lines and characters are hilarious...one of the things I love most about the show is that it is different week by week; at turns scary, funny, adventurous, or sad. And Jackie Tyler's comic line delivery is just spot on!

I'm actually glad I didn't read any online reviews/comments while I was watching the show, as it allowed me to form my own opinion. I enjoyed every episode of Eccleston and Tennant's run because even in the most ridiculous of circumstances the characters were a delight to watch. Just so full of joy and wonder, as opposed to pretty much everything else on tv. The End of Time affected me very strongly emotionally, and I don't consider myself to be a "pathetic fangirl" as those of us who genuinely connected with the Tenth doctor's character tend to be labeled online. A lot of those stories just really struck a chord with me, and i'm glad I was able to have that experience.

Currently watching some of the classic series and enjoying it as well! Can't wait for the 50th!

With all due respect to Mr. McEwan, I'm a "real person" rather than just one of "a few people on the internet" and I really disliked the scenes at "The End of Time" with the Doctor visiting his friends. I thought they were self-indulgent nonsense in a story already full to the brim with self-indulgent nonsense. There was a classic story-line to be built out of this premise, but it wasn't fulfilled here. The return of the Time Lords should have been the underlying story of a final proper series in which the darker nature of the Time War era Time Lords was revealed gradually instead of being changed with the flick of a plot-switch and a glib line of dialogue about how the Doctor likes to remember them. If we'd been given a story where we saw the weight of the doctor's guilt lifted by the return of the Time Lords only to have him crushed again when he realized how corrupt they ultimately were and why he needed to destroy them again, it could have been Tennant's finest hour. What we got was far less than that, and it was perhaps the biggest missed opportunity in the show's history.

Agree about The Five Doctors, but the rest of them are underappreciated for a reason...especially Victory of the Daleks. bring back the Imperial and Renegade Dalek factions, don't just make them sh1tty primary-colour mini-coopers! they were all a uniform colour because they were supposed to be evil space nazis, not colourful russian dolls

I'd go with The Keys of Marinus for surviving stories and Gridlock for New Who, but The Myth Makers is my pick overall.

Flawed, but still quite wonderful, moving, and epic.

I am very amused by the "scientific" nit-pickings ...

One of my absolute favorite episodes. Near perfection.

I loved reading those Target books as a kid. My first encounters with The Brain of Morbius and The Terror of the Autons were in the pages of those books. It's a different age now with DVDs and multiple satellite channels and >ahem< torrent sites affording people multiple ways of catching up on the series from a time before they started watching it but I can't help but feel those people are losing out on something.

Well this is turning into a heated debate

I remember watching End of Time on Christmas Day and thinking what a dog's dinner it was, especially the Master's resurrection, but the whole first part was just so scrambled. Have to say that I thought it was massively rescued by the second part on New Years Day. Yes, the ending was a bit ridiculous (but DW is meant to be quite silly) and self-indulgent. But RTD and DT had earned their piece of self-indulgence I think.

Midnight is an unappreciated story. Everyone always talks about the Silence In The Library/Forest Of The Dead or Turn Left or The Stolen Planet/Journey's End, but they always gloss over that nestled in between those great episodes is, in my humble opinion, one of the best episodes ever made.

A "parseccian" fail there. Light years measures distance, not time.

So, you didnt actually answer the question. Can u point out any specifics?

I don't think Russel T Davies should ever get slagged off about Doctor WHo, because if it wasn't for him, there wouldn't be anything to watch! The reason for End Of Times long ending was because Russel and David had been on the show for about 4 years, and that's a long time, so they wanted a compilation of companions, and shows, the SJA has come from Russel, and so had Torchwoood! End of Times opening was fairly straightforward, and the reason for the easily solved cliffhanger was telling the story about how powerful the TimeLords had gotten during the War, and how they could use the power to destroy time itself. Journeys End waved goodbye at all the monsters, End Of Time waved goodbye at the companions.

Clearly you aren't getting the connection that line has to... Pretty much every Tennant episode. So often through that show he says "Allons-y" which means "Let's go" in French. The whole point is that just this one time he doesn't want to. And yeah, he's just regenerating, but what people don't seem to get is that when he does he loses everything! When 9 regenerated Rose stayed with him so he still had all those people he knew around him. But here he had no companion. Just a bunch of friends who would pass him on the street once he regenerated without so much as a glance. Donna, Martha, Jack, Mickey... None of them knew this new Doctor. Plus there's the simple fact that, although he's the same person, he changes so much when he regenerates. Not just his face, but his personality, likes, dislikes, habits. It all changes. Can you honestly say that if it were you who had to leave behind almost everything you were and everyone you knew you'd be totally ok with it? So yeah, maybe the line was a little self indulgent. But after all he's done and knowing all he's leaving behind, I think it's safe to say that he's more than earned the right to say that he doesn't want to go.

Seriously? Revenge of The Cybermen is the worse Doctor Who story? Are you out of your mind, sir? The inclusion of the line: "HARRY SULLIVAN IS AN IMBECILE!!!" alone makes the serial a masterpiece! :D

Really bad, unbelievably stupid characters, uninteresting storyline. Stupid alien. Jackie at her most annoying. Rose at her most annoying. Concrete slabs giving oral sex. Need I go on? I think Russell thought he was being clever by having the cast represent all us Doctor Who fans when we were younger, getting together every week and talking about the Doctor like a bunch of geeks. The thing is that it wasn't clever at all; it felt as though RTD was talking down to the viewer and insulting our collective intelligences. I actually felt like I'd dropped a couple IQ points after it was over. I can't even imagine how stupid this story would look to a non Doctor Who fan.

It isn't a fail.

If this episode was written by Moffat, i wouldn't feel any differently. It doesn't really matter who runs the show when it comes down to it, everyone brings something different and no one will stay as show runner forever. Yes, ELO is one of the reasons I like this episode and yes, the "monster" is a mess-up and the ending is just silly, but I can't help but like it anyway. An episode just has to be an escape from the everyday and LaM accomplishes that just as much as any intergalactic space adventure would. And besides, looked at objectively all Doctor Who monsters are innately silly; can you really be scared of a pepper pot with a plunger for an arm that sounds like it's been chain-smoking for fifty years?

Exactly my sentiments, I'm glad that I didn't encounter the fandom until after I watched though Series Seven.

I enjoy Victory quite a bit too, even if the Spitfires are gloriously over-the-top. I also agree with you on the End of Time's goodbyes, at least most of them. I thought the Redfern one was the most powerful. Sorry, please excuse me, there's something in my eye...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Great list, though I would throw in a shout out to 'The Macra Terror' - any story with a song and dance number celebrating the joys of mindless obedience deserves a mention! Alternatively, perhaps a list of best 'lost' episodes...

Jackie Tyler was a nice piece of ass

I agree it was a good farewell because we knew doctor who would never be the same again.

Your first DVD Player IN 2013, what are u a kid, Poor or a digital only type of person ????

Solid list don't agree with all but I won't nitpick.

The story that springs to my mind instantly that I'd add is Battlefield. What a great swan song for the Brigadier.

No they don't, Midnight is a well regarded and popular story, more so than Turn Left.

The Five Doctors was my first ever Doctor Who story I sat down intentionally to watch. What a confusing onramp to the show!

Also loved this. The "reveal" about the Master's 4-tap obsession, Timothy Dalton and his Nintendo Power Glove, and the Doctor finally picking up a weapon (though this wasn't as well executed as it could have been) were all great - but seeing Wilfred stuck in a little glass room? Wow.

I never liked the way the Time Lords were presented in The End of Time. The ascension stuff just seemed inconsistent with the Classic series. In my mind the Time War made them realize they couldn't just isolate themselves anymore. But they took the idea too far. To insure that something like the Daleks never happened again they would basically establish a dictatorship across time and space. They wouldn't stop with the elimination of the Daleks they would go on to eliminate any "threatening" species. The Doctor's choice to destroy the Time Lords was because they were becoming just as bad as the Daleks. But that's not what we got, oh well.

What are you, an idiot? This was first released on DVD in 1999, you tool. Jeez...

But all the characters know he regenerates Jack and Mickey had worked with 2 Doctors and Donna was already lost to him. I just hate seeing the Doctor be so weak he had already threw his little strop at Wilf when he knew he had to step in and save him and spent a load of time getting himself all worked up about his "death", i get that some people loved it and found it emotional but for me he should have been okay at that point he got to say goodbye to his friends he should have faced it like he did every other challange he came up against like a hero.
Also he wasnt even the 10th Doctor for long he was still in the early 900s hes been the 11th for over 200 years of his life span now if he found it hard letting go of that body hes going to be a wreck next time he regenerates!

Woah, all 12 of the McCoy fans? Bit unfair my man, he's regarded quite highly I'd say.

"24" absolutely, positively should not be taken seriously! Great fun and exciting but also ridiculously comical. The things Jack could do after being tortured, stabbed or whilst having a heart attack (or all of the above at the same time) made him some kind of superhuman. No, "24" is definitely not a serious drama... And it's all the better for it!

"Remembrance of the Daleks" and "The Curse of Fenric" are a couple of my favourite stories of Doctor Who of all time. I also love "Ghost Light" and "Silver Nemesis" I also enjoy "The Psychic Circus" and "Survival" and I have time for "The Happiness Patrol" and even "Delta and the Bannerman". Now, admittedly, my views may be tinted by the fact that I was just getting heavily into Doctor Who when they were first transmitted and maybe I still view them with the eyes of a child (which is no bad thing) but I love 'em and I am not ashamed, nor will I be told not too!

I can't really comment on the Old Who episodes here as I don't think I've seen the vast majority of them, but I'll run through my opinion on the NewWho ones!

Planet of the Dead - literally the last episode I just watched the other day. I'd say it's pretty solid, even if the flying bus is a little silly. However, it probably wouldn't have been harmed by being a normal length episode.

Aliens of London/World War III - Actually really clever stories that are let down by the production values of the first series at the time. Should feel epic, but sadly doesn't due to the Slitheens tendency to be a bit farty. It also had its first part cliffhanger totally and utterly spoiled by the BBC, with them having those "next time" bits before the credits like they used to in series 1 *sigh*. Good set of episodes though, I mean they blew up Downing Street for fun lol

The Unicorn and the Wasp - Underappreciated indeed! I think it's the whole person is a giant wasp thing that people really can't get past, particularly as it transforms via some purple smoke trick, it could have had a really cool, grosteque werewolf style transformation, but I suppose that was budget reasons. The episode is actually quite clever, as my girlfriend (who has every Agatha Christie book written) pointed out to me they have a MASSIVE number of references to her books, in terms of titles and visually, which likely goes over peoples heads. Plus "how is Harbey Wallbanger one word??!!" :)

The 1996 TV movie - I actually like this and need to own it. McGann is excellent and I wish he could have another go at some point on screen because he's been fabulous in the audio books. It's let down by a terrible version of the Master by Eric Roberts and a few weird choices in changing the lore of DW.

Boom Town - Gets a lot of stick I agree, mainly because nothing actually happens in it in terms of plot, but its a great exploration of the Doctors character and that of "Mary". Rose too in fact. Plus I love the little Scooby Gang thing that the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack have. I miss the series 1 Captain Jack, he was great.

Victory of the Daleks - I'm not sure how to feel about this one. I actually don't mind the new Daleks, but it utterly fails in making the Daleks relevant again and the resolution with WWII planes in space and the cyborg doctor wishing himself human is just absolute tosh.

Love and Monsters - totally agree with the above. The final 1/3 ruins and otherwise clever episode. A better monster would have solved the problem. Sadly, a missed opportunity. Also the less said about sex life with a concrete slab the better. Why RTD? Why?

The End of the World - struggles by being the second album so to speak. I actually like this episode better than "Rose", because it doesn't have wheely bins that eat people. It's a perfectly good and serviceable episode, with some neat character moments in it, especially for Eccelstons doctor. That tear that rolls down his face says it all.

Finally...The End of Time - I have such a love/hate relationship with this. Everything with Bernard Cribbins in it is absolute gold (the "he will knock four times is an utterly fabulous bit of television). Pure joy. Also having the Master and the Timelords return was a great idea, and it should have been the entire focus of the episode. Yet instead you've got this whole thing set on Earth and the Master being somewhat broken and hungry for no real reason other than so he can fly and shoot lightning bolts (which doesn't make him a better villian AT ALL). You've got characters just thrown in and thrown away like the green pin head people and Friar Tuck from Robin Hood who are just there to set up the Masters plan.

Then there is Tennants protracted goodbye which does for Doctor Who what Return of the King did for Lord of the Rings. It can be forgiven though considering it was also RTD's big goodbye too. Overall I'd say the episode deserves the criticism it gets.

Anyway I'll shut up now!

I really loved Love and Monsters

exactly, I bought it just after the first release in 2000 IIRC, certainly before the second one was released, Robots of Death.

To be honest a vast majority o f the missing episode look like good stories to me from listening to the CDs and watching the recons, the only really poor mostly missing stories are Wheel in Space & The Space Pirates

Myth Makers is a classic, I have probably listened to that more than any other B&W story, just brilliant.

Paradise Towers is probably the worst for me, quite simply because it *could* have great but jujst about eer single department fouled up, production, acting, direction, sfx, etc.

There are some real classic Target books, Fury & Remembrance were particularly good IIRC.

Yes and.....Their taste is a great distance away from mine. Light years, and as you pointed out Light years measures distance.

I think it had the potential to. As I said it all falls apart when Peter Kay turns up, from then on I agree it is utter rubbish. But up until that point it's something different and actually something quite touching.

Though while we're at it I never saw the appeal of Talons of Weng-Chiang. That would certainly go on my overappreciated list. But as this article points out; us Whovian lot are a fickle crowd who rarely agree on anything.

Some terrible choices here, Love & Monsters is atrocious, with a totally unsuitable final 'gag'. The Slitheen are the WORST most juvenile creatures EVER created for Doctor Who!!!

You know Dalton's character and the glove were a basically a big nod to old Doctor Who continuity, don't you? He's playing Rassilon - the guy who (along with Omega) invented time travel, and more importantly, the process that transformed the Gallifreyans into Time Lords (i.e. the ability to 'see' time and the other senses that makes them so much more adept at time travel than the other races with time travel tech, the ability to regenerate, etc) - and the idea of his glove being some uber-weapon goes back to the original series as well (in one of the 7th doctor serials, the Daleks split and fight a civil war over the glove). Given that in the original series, Omega basically ties with Sutekh for 'most powerful villain' (they're the only two where it's explicitly stated that if freed they'd wipe out all life in the universe, and even the Daleks and Time Lords wouldn't stand a chance), it wasn't that big an ass-pull for Rasillon to be able to use his glove to instantly undo what the Master had done.

His main mention in the original series is in The Five Doctors,- basically after becoming the first Time Lord, he turned himself into a check on the Time Lords' power, by setting an elaborate trap for anyTime Lord who becomes maniacal enough to want full immortality without considering the implications and has become powerful enough to have a chance of pulling it off.

Though both the Master and the Doctor are well aware that it isn't actually a God, but an powerful alien that medieval humans had buried alive (because they didn't know how to kill it), who the Master struck a deal with.

It was in keeping with the 10th doctor's character though. He did kind of love himself the whole way through, he was always arrogant, and he's the only one to have been cool, sexy, etc - and he was already getting a bit of a god complex by The Waters of Mars. He was also the most consistently infallible doctor in the entire old and new series (compare Matt Smith's first season, where it's made clear that he's most definitely fallible and repeatedly fails to save people who he's promised to save - a facet sadly dropped in the last 2 seasons). My understanding of his reaction to dying was that it was more evidence of the already established idea that he was on the verge of being corrupted by power and arrogance, to the point where he seriously considers letting Wilfred die, and is only saved from corruption because he regenerates.

They did a very similar arc with the 3rd doctor, who was similarly arrogant (in fact, I'd be very surprised if RTD wasn't borrowing heavily from The Planet of the Spiders, where the 3rd doc finally has to face the consequences of his arrogance, which also ends up with him dying/regenerating into the 4th doctor).

I do like it how occasionally The Doctor (both in the original series and modern one) slips into habits or quirks that used to be central to one of his previous personalities - e.g. the 5th doctor's enjoyment of (and skill at) cricket being reflected in the 10th doctor's human form in The Human Nature, that he's kind of fond of jelly babies (but not as obsessively so as the 4th doctor), etc.

Further to that - both the 'arrogant 3rd doctor' and 'god-complex 10th doctor' regeneration story arcs had that same element where a doctor very reluctantly goes to his death, only to regenerate into a rather happier form in a way that emphasises that the reluctance was a character flaw indicating that they'd been in that incarnation too long (not in terms of years, but in terms of being corrupted by power).

There's even a 7th doctor serial (in his classic 2nd season where the team was given full creative freedom due make him into a morally ambiguous manipulator in the knowledge the show was being cancelled, not the infamously awful 1st season) where he literally faces up against Morgan and Mordred of the King Arthur legends, who recognise him as their enemy Merlin. The Merlin part is explained as most probably being a future incarnation of the doctor, but when it comes to Morgan's use of magic, the doctor is evenly divided on whether it's a science so advanced it looks like magic, or whether she's from a parallel universe where magic fills the function that science does in the normal one.

Incidentally - the current doctor obviously is still wary about the possibility of parallel universes containing genuine magic as well - the chalk circle he draws around Clara in Hide is a direct reference to the 7th doc using a chalk circle to protect Ace from Morgan's magic in Battlefield (though in Battlefield it's more a matter of him not really knowing what to do against what seems to be genuine magic, and so he borrows the chalk circle idea from old superstitions about magic, in the - successful - hope that they might apply to Morgan).

two slitheen episodes... the tv movie...for love and monsters...AND YOU SAY YOU DONT LIKE GAME OF THRONES!

TO HECK WITH YOU

Have you SEEN the original series?

The only consistency between serials in old Doctor Who is the characters, the reference to teleports as transmats and...well...that's kind of it. It's not even different eras contradicting each other - the show simply didn't care about continuity from one serial to the next.

Further to that - the potions and incarnations thing is part of the Master's bluff, he's deliberately faking it with the help of the alien (that he's already freed). They're deliberately playing off the town's superstitions, enhanced by the Master using his hypnotic abilities on them all while pretending to be the town's new priest, in order to give the impression that there's an all-powerful magic at work.

(Not saying this as a criticism of the whole potion thing - there's plenty of other episodes in the classic series with sort-of-magic rituals in them - both of the 5th doctor stories with Mara as the villain, for example.)

You lost all credibility with your Talons comment. Bye bye.

I really don't care.

You're allowed your guilty pleasure. There's nothing wrong with you liking this story as long as you can acknowledge deep down that it's just juvenile garbage. Because it really is terrible. However, I disagree strongly with your statement about Doctor Who monsters. You're just providing excuses for this turd of a story. Doctor Who monsters don't need to be silly if looked at objectively. I truly believe that it all comes down to writing and directing. If it's a well written and well directed story, there is no problem. Genesis of the Daleks portrayed the Daleks as very menacing...Seeds of Doom portrayed the Krynoids as very menacing. Terror of the Zygons portrayed the Zygons as very menacing. As I said writing and directing...2 things that were missing from said story.

As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't the radiation that did him in, but the internal injuries from that fall - he had to have ruptured multiple organs as well as breaking several ribs.

But the Hand of Omega isn't a glove; it's big enough to need a gravesite to be buried.

Your little glove analysis is way off...way off. The hand of Omega was a remote stellar manipulator and it was certainly not a glove or an actual hand...it was just what the thing was called.

HUH?? I think you should re-read his comment and think again.

Oh dear Oh dear...you haven't seen much Who have you?

Thank you...finally someone bashes Love and Monsters and the Slitheen...both are garbage!

I agree....I have such fond memories of them. Long before VHS there was TARGET. God bless them.

RTD gets too much credit for bringing Doctor Who back.

You probably should treat yourself to the special edition, where various bits + pieces have been fixed; The Raston Warrior looses the wire his projectiles fly along, for example.

That's totally true !

Oh I have, I have bought the neon logo VHS edition, the "uncut" VHS, the Special Edition VHS box set, the original DVD and Special Edition DVD, 5 times in all, probably the most times I have ever bought the same program or film...

Yes RTD did bring back DW successfully and deserves credit for that but that does not mean that he is beyond criticism, the opening episodes of season 2-4 are forgettable fluff that totally waste an episode, the season finales just get bigger and bigger in scale until they got ludicrous in Journeys End and End of Time. Rose should not have been brought back, it robbed Roses first departure of all the undoubted power it had originally. The one big problem I had with both RTD and Moffat is that they try to write too many episodes per season, I would much rather have 3 really good episodes rather than 6-8 episode of variable quality.

My 3 all-time favorite Classic Who stories are Pyramids, Caves and City of Death, all 3 are utter brilliance IMHO. I do agree with you about Ambassadors though.

haha. how wrong you are...

This is an good article. I agree that there were iconic moments in Aliens of London i.e. Big Ben, but I hated the Slitheen and I found the Space Pig toe-curlingly embarrassing, the sort of awful moment where I was almost ashamed to be a fan. I definitely agree that Love & Monsters COULD have been a classic, but as you rightly point out, then the Abzorbaloff appears... oh dear. I enjoyed End of Time and the Five Doctors anyway. I wish Invasion of the Dinosaurs could be redone with proper CGI because the 'effects' rendered that one laughable. At least you didn't try and tell us that the Myrka was brilliant really! :)

I have to put in a good word for Sylvester McCoy here. The budget was awful at the time relative to the times. The writing on some of the shows is really bad. I consider "Delta and the Bannermen" to be one of, if not the worst Doctor Who story ever.
But in his second and third seasons, he transforms into this dark manipulator that brings a morbidity to the proceedings. And as RTD has said, the Time War was kicked into motion by the Seventh Doctor's actions in "Remembrance of the Daleks" So the Seventh Docto's era has serious implications on the current series.

I think part of the reason why McCoy has been recognized as a very good Doctor is because the elements that he brought to the Doctor are being implemented by the recent Doctors, especially Matt.

The "best" Dr Who companion was, of course, Lady Christina de Souza aka Michelle Ryan. Loving the arguing on here. You guys clearly have WAAAYYYYYYYY too much time on your hands

Of course, because there has never been a Hitler like dictator to come out of Russia.

Sorry, got news fer ya', but as much as I love Doctor Who, the show is no more 'science fiction' than Star Trek or Star Wars are/were. Adventure/fantasy/drama with a science fiction ~backdrop~ is about as far as you could stretch that one. In a paradigm like that, the story takes precedence over "da rules", and that's what Doctor Who has been for as long as I can remember (I started watching back in the '70's). The universe depicted in the show has it's own rules, which should be followed by the writers to keep internal consistency, and should probably even stick as close to known scientific fact as possible to aid in the suspense of disbelief, but in the end the show sets, and occasionally bends/breaks it's own rules, independent of the real world. If it didn't, it would be pretty damn boring, now wouldn't it?

You're missing the point entirely. The point is that, to each separate incarnation, regeneration ~is~ the end. Everything that they are as an individual ~except~ for their memories ends, to be 'absorbed' by some new someone that they don't even know, and might even dislike if they could meet them. From the regenerating Time Lord's perspective, it would have to be like dying and having everything that you were 'assimilated' by a stranger. Post-regeneration, it's not such a big deal, I imagine, unless he/she happened to be unlucky enough to regenerate into someone that he/she just didn't like. But every time would be dying all over again, with only the small comfort of knowing that someone completely different from you would continue on with all of your memories inside their head; your personality would have effectively died. I can see where that would be something to get upset about.

Finally! Someone else who liked the New Paradigm Daleks. I thought they were a good idea. Daleks would've finally had an understandable heirarchy. Also, they were really big. How is a bigger Dalek a bad idea?

That's the one where the monster was the invention of that little kid contest winner.

Thought the juxtaposition of little kid contest winner and implied concrete slab oral sex a little odd.

Agreed with whoever above said that the premise had promise - the people affected by the doctor sharing their experiences and looking for him again.

I think that's part of the reason it's so disliked. It could have gone so many different ways. The general idea had potential. Who WOULD be able to stop thinking about a Doctor encounter? Who wouldn't want to have another?

Would you believe me if I told you that almost all stories - fantasies included - need to have their own internal logic? It's not about being 'true to life', it's about being consistent with what is and isn't possible so that the audience understand the stakes and become invested in the drama.

Thank you for this lovely article, Cameron!

I've always liked the idea of having 1 episode per month

It's a good thing that I don't read Doctor Who message boards and so I don't hear about "good" vs. "bad" episodes. I only know that I enjoy almost all of the new Who series and the ones I don't? Well, that's only because there is some element I like that's missing, not because they are dreadful or anything. And several that I like quite a lot (Planet of the Dead, Unicorn and the Wasp, The End of the World) are on this list so I doubt that I would agree with the loudest voices in Doctor Who fan world.

My only question is about Dreamland...did this ever air in the U.S.? Was it posted online?

Nice analysis. Some people are such big fans of Tennant that I rarely hear objective criticism of the 10th Doctor's personality...it all becomes mixed up with their appreciation of the actor and the storylines he was in.

I can see that arrogance in relationships with his Companions, especially Martha. He took her adoration for granted and, unless it was addressed off-screen, he should have had a talk with her about it instead of letting it go on as long as it did.

Yes, but compare the Ninth's regeneration into the Tenth vs. the Tenth's into the Eleventh...totally different story. The Ninth had no doubts, no regrets, he boldly went forward.

The only aspect I hated was the line about the man having a sexual relationship with a face on a piece of pavement. That was just weird.

I thought it was clear the "potion" was actually advanced Time Lord science he'd given to his little cult. You know, as a fallback plan? It's been a while since I watched it though, maybe I'm misremembering.

And ... where was it established bringing back the dead was impossible? If anything, the opposite has been established.

But they were SPACE witches. That makes it sci-fi.

The 200 years thing was, in fact, a trick. A piece of misdirection. That wasn't even really the Doctor, that was the Tesselecta impersonating him.

... and the "Potions of Life" were just advanced Time Lord science. Heck, they were countered with (fictional) human chemistry skillz.

Again, totally different personality, and I don't think that 9 ever really liked who he was. The Timewar was too fresh on him, and he was still 'shell shocked', far more than 10 was even though, in the end, he was the one who 'pulled the trigger' on bothe the Daleks and the Timelords. I think that 9 was ready to go, and more importantly, Christopher Eccelston definitely was. He and Russel T. Davies had already had their falling out, and I think that the way he acted out that regeneration was a direct reflection of his desire to get the Hell off the show and on with his life.

Urgh. Nothing to do with the story, but I dread the animation for Dreamland. Something you would find on CBBC at the time but without the finishing touches. No wonder it's underappreciated.

so you know all 12 slyvester mccoy fan's by name? i am a 7th dr fan and i know there are more than 12. Nothing wrong with the 7th dr era. nothing wrong with the original 26 years you have to take each decade and doctor as it is.

I've always felt like The Sunmakers was vastly unappreciated. But I am sorry, I just CANNOT go there with you on Love and Monsters.

What's a good Seventh Doctor story to start with?

The slightly steep hill of death, and that godawful costume. I mean, that woman could pull off most ridiculous costumes, but not even Elisabeth Sladen could make that work.

Remembrance of the Daleks, and almost his entire last season to start with.

The Pirate Planet, Underappreciated?
I don't think so, Fantastic episode :)

Ugh, I hate dumb people like you who think they're smart. You're so quick to type the one fact you know without understanding the context of what other people have said.
Light years do in fact measure distance rather than time. However, the person's comment never implied that light years were a measure of time. He used light years as an analogy of how FAR APART his opinion was from somebody else's. In reality, ideas aren't separated physically by space, so technically opinions and tastes can not be any length of distance apart - but it's a perfectly suitable analogy.
So, stop calling people stupid when you're the one who's daft. The situation your comment would've been appropriate in is if somebody said something like "Their technology is light years ahead of what we are". That aforementioned statement is a fail, and would've called for your retort.

Like the author, ‘The Five Doctors’ was the one I had watched the most, at least till the pre-revival episodes. Wonderful fun and shown in New Zealand in one go.

The Ambassadors of Death has been one of my favourite stories since I obtained a pirate copy in the mid 1980's. But, you do have some stinkers in there - Victory of the Daleks, The End of Time and Love and Monsters!

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