Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Top Seventh and Sixth Doctor Stories



The later 80s were the truly dark days for the show. The production values, which had always been cheap, felt even more so as the quality of television improved. And, the tone was increasingly silly, even as the show tried to tackle themes more complex and serious. However, I have a soft spot for the Sixth and Seventh Doctors. It is a case of art trying to say something important. That, and the 80s were a little cheesy anyway if we are honest.

10. “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy” 

Scary clowns is all you had to say to sell me on this story. That they then tried to explain philosophy of religion is even better. Unfortunately, this is one of the stories that most suffers from overreaching in both the message and the visuals.

9. “The Happiness Patrol” 

This story is indicative of its time, both in the syrupy atmosphere and the oppressive government maintaining that feel. It is quite deep if you can get past all the candy.

8. “Revelation of the Daleks” 

This story is morbid, and it doesn’t pull any punches. And, I love it.

7. “Ghost Light” 

This story tries to tackle an idea so complex that it quite honestly fumbles. That said, it gets points from me for even trying.

6. “Terror of the Vervoids”

This Agatha Christie send-up has some of the best creatures ever designed for the show. I wish they would bring the Vervoids back.

5. “Vengeance on Varos” 

I’m a sucker for any story that is critical of its own medium. The entertainment industry and our cultural obsession with it needs to look at itself in the mirror more frequently.

4. “Remembrance of the Daleks” 

Towards the end of the original run, Doctor Who began to play with ideas about the character of the Doctor that were on an epic scale. Unfortunately they didn’t get to fully realize them.

3. “The Two Doctors” 

Another darkly comic story, this one makes a pretty good case for vegetarianism. Not that it stuck, even with the Doctor. Still, meat can be pretty gross if you think about it too much.

2. “Paradise Towers” 

Take a futuristic world, remove all fighting age men, leave only bureaucracy, teenage girl gangs, and cannibalistic old women, and you have a great set-up for a horror story.

1. “The Curse of Fenric” 

The World War II setting and the vampires are what is most remembered about this story, but it is about so much more. This is not just scifi or fantasy, it is philosophy fiction. It also focuses on the nature of faith, but then unfortunately reduces it to a sentiment all over again.

2 comments:

  1. My daughter and I have been watching some of these on Hulu. We're enjoying the 7th Doctor, cheesy as it is (though his companion's outfits are something else!) But I usually consider cheese to be a plus, so.

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  2. You're right. As cheesy as the eighties could be, these shows were always trying to at least raise interesting questions of commentary. Sometimes the new show, with all its high production values, seems to just be playing with a simple, gripping concept without having anything to say. I still can't look away though!

    ReplyDelete

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