Tuesday, June 1, 2010

7th Doctor

The Seventh Doctor, the last one of the original run, lasted three seasons from 1987 to 1989. It is really no wonder that this was the time for the series to temporarily die and it was probably a blessing. The end of the eighties and the decade of the nineties saw technological advances in cinema that television would lag behind for years. Doctor Who’s cheap and cheesy production values ceased to be charming and would have only gotten worse. Also, shows like The X Files and Buffy in the nineties, and Lost and 24 in the 00s would change the way television told stories that rendered the serial nature of Doctor Who unnecessary so that the time off really served the series well.

The Seventh Doctor’s run began in, even for Doctor Who, an extremely cheesy mood. The Doctor had always played the fool to trick his enemies, but one wondered if this Doctor weren’t indeed a complete idiot. Some of the stories had a lot of promise, but ultimately failed to deliver. Towards the second half of his time, however, a noticeable change occurred and the series took a more serious and darker turn. The way things were at the end caused a lot of people to regret that the series was not allowed to fulfill the promise of that last season.

Half of the stories from the Seventh Doctor’s time are noted here, (at times even if only for the potential they showed):

Paradise Towers:

A study of a society where the entire society resides in a single albeit huge apartment building. Most of the adults have long since gone off to fight a war, leaving the teen-age girls who run in gangs, senior adult women who have turned to cannibalism to survive, and the caretakers of the building who are following the late architects wishes to exterminate all the residents because the are ruining his art by living there. Whew.

Remembrance of the Daleks:

This is where the stories began to take on a darker tone and hint at mysterious aspects of the Doctors past. The Doctor takes his new companion, Ace, back to the days and location where the Doctor was first introduced in the series’ first ever episode. There he settles some unfinished business and battles his most iconic enemy.

The Happiness Patrol:

A world in which everyone must be happy and unhappiness is punished by a robot “Candyman” who kills people with sweets is helped by the Doctor who foments a revolution.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy:

As if a space circus run by evil clowns isn’t good enough of a concept, the truth is that it is really run by a group of gods who feed on entertainment.

Ghost Light:

A convoluted story about the failures of modernism and scientific classification.

The Curse of Fenric:

World War II England is the site of a confrontation between the Doctor and an ancient evil. Vampire like monsters attack and convert people and are only warded of by belief. Inexplicably, it doesn’t matter what you place your faith in: communism, friendship, or the goodness of humanity, they all work. In the end it turns out that the story is a warning against the evils of chemical and biological warfare.

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