TV Shows

Doctor Who (Classic) – Season 2

Doctor Who Season 2

REVIEW:

As I indicated in my review of season 1, I really wasn’t a fan of Susan – I found her to be a completely useless character who on many occasions would render the other characters around her useless. Fortunately, for me, Carole Ann Ford also felt the same way and decided to leave the show in this season and so Susan was written out of the second serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Now, I thought, at the very least, we might get a good story out of this and see why and how Susan leaves. Unfortunately, the writers made her useless to the very last. She got an underwritten romantic subplot, and at the end of the day, it’s The Doctor again who makes her decisions for her. William Hartnell’s little speech delivered to Susan is wonderful, but it doesn’t change just how problematic this whole thing is. All in all, her character was just completely botched. The season also sees the introduction of new companions in Vicki and Steven, both of whom I did like (in fact Vicki remains my favorite First Doctor companion). Overall, I think this season is probably the best of the First Doctor era. Although it features a  couple of really bad stories, it also features several really good ones and overall I enjoyed it very much. I have still yet to see anything great from this show, but so far it’s an entertaining enough light adventure program.

SERIALS:

  1. Planet of Giants: This was okay. I don’t really have much to say about it except that I think Barbara acts rather bone-headed in this one. B-
  2. The Dalek Invasion of Earth: This is also not a particularly good story as once again I feel it’s about an episode too long. The Susan story as I’ve already mentioned wasn’t very good, and a couple of the later episodes really drag on. I also don’t think Richard Martin is a very good director and anything he does tends to be completely free of tension and unfortunately he did most of these early Dalek stories. B-
  3. The Rescue: I didn’t much care for this one but the one thing I did really like about this serial was the way The Doctor connects with Vicki. For once, the plot actually stops and makes way for character. I loved every scene The Doctor had with Vicki here, and she was immediately a far more interesting character to me than Susan ever was. The serial itself, however, is just okay. It has a decent enough mystery but a rather abrupt, deus ex machina-ish ending. B-
  4. The Romans: This is easily one of my favorite First Doctor stories. It’s hilarious, William Hartnell is at his absolute comedic best here, and I think the farcical tone of the serial really helped separate this from the more straightforward historicals. It’s too bad it was poorly received by audiences of the day as I think the historicals, whether the straightforward ones or the more comedic ones like this were easily some of the best the show had to offer. B+
  5. The Web Planet: This was really bad. Actually, the first episode is pretty decent, it’s got a nice, mysterious atmosphere to it. After that first episode, it just keeps dying with every subsequent episode. Richard Martin directed this, so it’s not surprising that not only do the episodes drag on, they’re completely devoid of any kind of tension, suspense, excitement, or anything resembling entertainment. The serial then ends in a confusing mess. C
  6. The Crusade: As usual, the ethnic characters here are all portrayed by British actors in makeup, sadly, but this story for the most part is okay. B-
  7. The Space Museum: Now, this is another one of those stories that starts off fantastically, but none of the rest of the episodes manage to maintain that level of excellence. Granted, the whole thing about jumping “time tracks” or whatever isn’t really properly explained here, but doesn’t matter, the first episode is very intriguing, but then it devolves into yet another rebellion storyline that’s just not very interesting and rather disappointing. B-
  8. The Chase: This was… not good. Honestly, Richard Martin here again – but it’s not entirely his fault either. The story is nonsense, particularly that one episode that takes place in a haunted house or something and sees one of the attractions, Frankenstein’s monster or something, picking up a Dalek and slamming it to the ground. The best part about this episode is the exit of Ian and Barbara, which was very well done (and it wasn’t directed by Martin). I just thought the way they ran through the streets of London, and the way it was captured as still photographs, etc., was just very sweet. I grew to like Ian and Barbara very much, I think they had great chemistry together (especially liked them in The Romans), so I was definitely a bit sad about them leaving, but their final scenes left a smile on my face. C+
  9. The Time Meddler: Steven’s introduction is pretty poor here (he’s suddenly on the TARDIS?) but this is otherwise a very good episode, possibly the best of this season. We finally meet one of The Doctor’s own kind (although not yet identified as a “Time Lord”) and the whole thing is just fun. A decent way to end a pretty decent season. B+

Overall Grade: B

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