Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Top Fourth Doctor Stories

This is my Doctor. I like a lot of these stories. If forced to narrow it down to 10, this is the list I would write today:

10. Logopolis

The end of the longest run of any Doctor. It was time for a change, but they still managed a compelling story with a lot of metaphysical silliness. And, the Fourth Doctor goes out saving the entire universe, which is appropriately grand.

9. City of Death 

I like Romana 2 better than most companions. Here, we get Paris, Douglas Adams’ silliness, and an adventure on a grand scale which fits the scale of a hero that plays in all of space and time. The reveal at the end of episode 1 is one of the best in Doctor Who.

8. The Horror of Fang Rock 

A fun adventure with a group of people isolated and threatened. And a truly silly monster that still manages to scare.

7. The Ribos Operation 

The whole “Key to Time” plot of the season holds a dear place in my mind. Douglas Adams’ “The Pirate Planet” is particularly good as well. But I love this first adventure. It is perfectly plotted, fun and silly at times, and the writing and characters are wonderful.

6. Pyramids of Mars 

Mix Egyptian mythology, truly creepy villains, classic monster tropes, and an embodiment of evil as the Big Bad, and you have a great adventure.

5. The Deadly Assassin 

Tom Baker always thought that the Doctor could work without a companion to play off of, but this is the only story where that was attempted. It worked great too, but I’m not sure the show could do this for long. Some of the cliff-hangers in this serial almost caused the show to be shut down as they were seen as too scary for kids.

4. Genesis of the Daleks 

Doctor Who does best when it tackles philosophy, morality and ethics. In this case it deals with genocide in an intelligent and nuanced manner. And there are some great and timeless images and characters as well.

3. The Robots of Death 

This is a straight-up who-done-it in best Agatha Christie style, with some of the best art design the series would ever see.

2. Ark in Space 

The Fourth Doctor’s first real adventure (after a story that fit better with the Third Doctor’s era) is nothing short of a masterpiece. It is Aliens over a decade before that movie was made. And, this was back when bubble-wrap was so knew they thought it could work as alien skin and no one would notice.

1. The Talons of Weng Chiang 

Doctor Who does Victorian Sherlock Holmes with a china-man master villain, a ventriloquist dummy come-to-life, giant rats, and great Robert Holmes writing.

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