TV Shows

Doctor Who (Classic) – Season 3

Doctor Who Season 3

REVIEW:

This was overall another okay season – a bit of a step down after a mostly decent to good season 2. One of my biggest problems was that by the end of this season, the show had just gone through so many companion changes that I honestly stopped caring about it all at one point. I also think that, while William Hartnell was great and all, he had a very singular style of performance that he – apart from a few moments – never deviated from because the scripts never afforded him such moments in general, so by the end of this season, I had gotten a bit tired of the First Doctor as well, and I was more than ready to get to a new Doctor (although it is unfortunate that it was illness that ultimately made him leave). I think most of the serials in this season range from average to okay, with only one story that I’d say was really good (and one that was pretty bad).

SERIALS:

  1. Galaxy 4: I thought this was pretty okay. It’s a bit of a chore to sit through, but I actually really liked the Chumbleys and would love to see them return. B-
  2. Mission to the Unknown: Not featuring any of the regular cast, I found this rather hard to get invested in and despite the fact that it’s only a single episode, I found it fairly boring. C+
  3. The Myth Makers: Another really good historical, this time they actually do go so far as to have The Doctor be the one who comes up with the Trojan Horse idea (whereas back in The Romans they only teased/hinted that The Doctor knew what he was doing when he “accidentally” gave Nero the idea of burning Rome down). This serial features the exit of Vicki, which disappointed me quite a bit, especially as she leaves because of another romance subplot, but fortunately, that’s not the only reason she does – and her other reasons for leaving are actually very well developed (she’s distressed about not having been able to save the people of Troy) and her final scene as she leaves the TARDIS is very well done. Overall, a very fun, entertaining story. B+
  4. The Daleks’ Master Plan: I think this is overall the best Dalek story from the First Doctor era, although it does feature that one Christmas episode, The Feast of Steven, which is pretty bad. It’s also a very interesting serial in the sense that it features the first ever death of a companion (if you consider Katarina a companion). Her death is sudden and horrific. I think this serial definitely drags in the middle, particularly that Christmas special episode I mentioned earlier, but really picks up by the end. B
  5. The Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve: I think this is the first and probably the only serial in which the First Doctor had just one companion, isn’t it? Although, even then, they’re both separated in this story. The whole thing involving William Hartnell as the Abbot of Amboise was fun. Overall, it’s an okay story, but the best part about this serial though comes in the final episode, when Steven decides to leave the TARDIS, and The Doctor is left all alone for a few moments and he reflects on his journeys so far and how he can’t go back to his planet. I like these little hints they kept dropping every now and again regarding The Doctor’s mysterious past and origins and I just wish there were more such moments. William Hartnell is also especially good in moments like this. B-
  6. The Ark: I think this was fairly interesting, and I especially liked the time lapse in episode 3, but overall this was not a particularly engaging serial. The whole bit about The Doctor and his companions being accused of something and having to stand trial for it was a tired old story that they tried before and didn’t work then either. Just a mostly okay serial. B-
  7. The Celestial Toymaker: I know a lot of people hate Dodo, but I personally don’t really care about her. She was in too few episodes to be leave any impact whatsoever, whether positive or negative. With that said, she’s definitely annoying in this serial, which is overall really bad. Part of the problem I faced though was the fact that I watched the Loose Cannon reconstruction of this and a lot of this serial is so visual and there just aren’t enough production stills or telesnaps to truly give you a proper idea of what’s going on in many scenes that I found it very difficult to follow and be invested in. Still, I’m not a fan of stories where one or more characters disappear for a couple of episodes because the actor was on holiday, and The Doctor’s disappearance in episodes 2 and 3 is not very good, although thank goodness they didn’t go ahead with their original idea of changing the actor here in this serial and that we actually got the whole concept of regeneration next season. C
  8. The Gunfighters: Another historical that I enjoyed but the audience’s of the time evidently didn’t. This is not on par with any of those previous stories like The Romans or The Myth Makers though, and while it starts off strong, the rest of the episodes aren’t that good. Overall, it’s decent. B
  9. The Savages: I found this to be for the most part pretty boring and just not as interesting a concept (it feels quite “been there done that”). It features the final appearance of Steven as a companion, and his exit is okay, I guess. Otherwise, I don’t really have a whole lot to say about this one. C+
  10. The War Machines: Dodo disappears halfway through this one and The Doctor gets another new set of companions here in Ben and Polly (whom I have overall mixed feelings about but we’ll get to that next season). The serial also features a rather egregious error in which the supercomputer, WOTAN, constantly refers to The Doctor as “Doctor Who” and says “Doctor Who is required.” I thought a simple solution would have been to just give The Doctor a different name here, especially since he just barges into the WOTAN headquarters in the first episode without ever announcing himself or properly introducing himself – it would have been very easy and simple to have him be mistaken for some other “Doctor” by the people in charge there and let WOTAN call him by that name. Either way, this was not very good either, although the story definitely has a contemporary edge to it that was refreshing, but most of the stuff with WOTAN and the actual war machines is tedious. B-

Overall Grade: B-

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