Doctor Who Season 2
SPOILERS TOTAL. You've been warned.
009: Planet of Giants
(First watched 2007-07-30, -31, -08-01) Very cool. Were it a modern episode a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids comparison would be appropriate, but this episode predates that movie by a quarter century. Considering that and a BBC budget, it was done well. Great to see something really goofy go wrong with the TARDIS, other than just ending up in an inconvenient place or time. The background drama going on wasn't very remarkable, but it kept the environment of hour protagonists from being static... and somehow gave them a way to save many lives, even on modern Earth as inch-high versions of themselves. The villain trying to disguise his voice with a piece of cloth, though... yikes, what a crappy trick. I think this is the first time I remember seeing that cliche in something other than a completely parodic manner.
This episode made me want to play Pikmin.
010: The Dalek Invasion of Earth
- World's End 1964 November 21
- The Daleks 1964 November 28
- Day of Reckoning 1964 December 5
- The End of Tomorrow 1964 December 12
- The Waking Ally 1964 December 19
- Flashpoint 1964 December 26
(First watched 2007-08-04, -05, -06, -07, -08, -09) The Doctor said their previous run-in with the Daleks was "a million years" in the future as an explanation to why they were still around. I won't take that as an accurate measurement, but... the Daleks they saw before seemed to have come into being on that planet, and seemed bound to the planet. Are we now to take it that they were just some remaining sect, and the others had long since gone off planet to conquer?
Goodbye Susan. Boy, that'll make things awkward for Ian and Barbara if they ever get back home. They disappear at the same time as a student, and turn back up without her.
I think it speaks to British-Gallifreyan conceptions of maturity and ages of consent when they can get away with the Doctor dumping off his ~16-year-old granddaughter in a devastated world to get married to someone she's just met.
011: The Rescue
(First watched 2007-10-07, -08) Not bad. A short one, mostly an excuse to pick up another traveler in Vicki, but the question of what happened on the planet was a change, too. No, not an Earth-Dido conflict or the Didoans becoming aggressive... but just a human mass-murderer trying to make it appear that way as a cover story.
012: The Romans
- The Slave Traders 1965 January 16
- All Roads Lead to Rome 1965 January 23
- Conspiracy 1965 January 30
- Inferno 1965 February 6
(First watched 2008-04-23, -05-01, -06, -08) Boy, the doctor is a big grump. Refusing to let Ian and Barbara go with him and Vicky to Rome, I'd think him randy if I didn't know better.
They didn't do a very good job of making the fight hectic; when Barbara beaned Ian accidentally it absolutely looked intentional.
Ahaha, the Doctor really manhandled that assassin! And was cocksure about it afterward!
Ahaha, the Doctor's silent lyre playing as an "emperor's new clothes" trick so everyone fakes that they heard him. His weird antics are making this my favorite of the historical serials yet.
013: The Web Planet
- The Web Planet 1965 February 13
- The Zarbi 1965 February 20
- Escape to Danger 1965 February 27
- Crater of Needles 1965 March 6
- Invasion 1965 March 13
- The Centre 1965 March 20
(First watched 2008-05-11, -12, -08-16, -10-11, -11-27, -28) I know there's only so much they could do, but those ant things walking around with a pair of human legs look silly indeed.
Hahaha. In the third episode, an ant man inadvertently bumps into the camera since he probably can't see shit in there.
Boy, this one is just sooo goofy in an unfun way. That it's taking me half a year to finish watching it is both an effect and cause.
OK, so it did end up taking me half a year to see. At this rate I'd never catch up. But boy, from awful costumes to boring story, this is pretty much scraping the bottom of what I expected of the early years of this show. We didn't even get much main character interaction beyond Vicki/Doctor, since they were all split up.
014: The Crusade
- The Lion 1965 March 27
- The Knight of Jaffa 1965 April 3
- The Wheel of Fortune 1965 April 10
- The War Lords 1965 April 17
(First watched 2008-12-10, -28, 2009-01-01, -03) Hey, this later-day version includes an intro by old-ass Ian. Very cool.
So Ian gets knighted and the Doctor wishes he'd been, too. While I wouldn't be surprised if it happens by the end of the serial, I know it happens to him at least once in a later incarnation.
On the whole this one reminds me of a less eventful The Romans, or even The Reign of Terror. These historical ones seem to have a bit of a pattern of Barbara getting imprisoned, Ian rushing off to find her, and the Doctor trying to use power to his advantage by playing a highfalutin role.
015: The Space Museum
- The Space Museum 1965 April 24
- The Dimensions of Time 1965 May 1
- The Search 1965 May 8
- The Final Phase 1965 May 15
(First watched 2009-01-04, -08, -09) The first episode was quite interesting. The slow discovery of the oddness of their situation and how their interaction with the rest of the world is not as it should be reminded me of The Langoliers. The Doctor's explanation of how it's all quite explainable by dimensions of time doesn't seem to make much sense, but really his understanding of stuff like this is supposed to be way beyond the viewer's.
The Doctor in a Dalek machine! That's got to be the coolest thing since Mario got into Kuribo's shoe. Or vice-versa, considering this was a quarter century earlier. I also love how he foils the mind-reading machine by sending it nonsense imagery.
I guess on Doctor Who they don't have something like the Prime Directive. Vicki is helping to incite planetary revolution because she thinks it might increase her own chance of survival.
The last part wasn't very exciting. They get captured... but it turns out the revolution was enough to change things. Actually the Doctor's light bulb explanation made a bit more sense as to why they were only sort of there in the first episode. OK, maybe not actual sense, but it's an understandable analogy. Another weirdness in this episode is that the Doctor was being transformed into a museum piece. "It's irreversible!" claim the museum guys. "No one's ever done this before!" And yet they flip a few switches and he's back to normal in a couple minutes. I guess they could've just been lying.
So the Daleks know they were there, recognized them for who they were, and knew they took off again. I know in the more recent Doctor Who series the Daleks are also known to be powerful in travel of time and space, but I think this is something new for the 1960s.
016: The Chase
- The Executioners 1965 May 22
- The Death of Time 1965 May 29
- Flight Through Eternity 1965 June 5
- Journey Into Terror 1965 June 12
- The Death of Doctor Who 1965 June 19
- The Planet of Decision 1965 June 26
(First watched 2009-01-21, -22, -23, -28, -29, -30) So they introduced a TARDIS magnet which can point to the TARDIS. Of course, after giving this to one half of the group, the other gets lost and can't find either the others or the TARDIS. They also have a... time travel television thing, which they use to check out various points in history. From Abraham Lincoln to The Beatles to a very different-looking William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I than the earlier ones the Doctor would meet later. And along with losing the TARDIS for one group and getting trapped by something with tentacles for the other... the Daleks have indeed followed them there! I enjoyed Ian reading some science fiction book and saying that it was pretty far-fetched.
So in the second episode they actually all got back to the TARDIS and took off. But the Daleks are following again! Short of destroying the Dalek time machine, how can this end?
So in the third episode they drop by the top of the Empire State Building. Interesting to see the Daleks there again before. Though I'm a bit surprised at Ian and Barbara. I know they've gotten used to life with the Doctor, but early on their main concern was getting home. I know their stop wasn't long, but they found themselves in mid-1960s Earth and never even brought up the possibility of jumping ship. Then the Daleks go off to scare everyone to death off the Mary Celeste.
So in the fourth episode the Doctor thinks they've landed in some realm of the human imagination... however, Ian is quite right that there's a more pedestrian explanation they haven't seen. After they leave, we see... wa wa wa, they've been hanging out in some 1990s funhouse. It seems to say a lot about 1990s funhouse technology that a fake Dracula and Frankenstein's monster can beat the shit out of Daleks, when apparently actual weapons from a much later date couldn't protect the Earth. Aaaand they accidentally forget Vicki there, those goofballs. So off to raid the Dalek's time machine. But the Daleks have made a robot Doctor. I like how the Daleks talk about how it's impossible to tell the difference between it and the original, when it's pretty clear that in some shots it's a different actor. Which seems a bit unnecessary, because at least so far there hasn't been cause for both of them to be on screen at once.
Boy, that robot Doctor failed pretty badly at infiltrating and killing.
Ian and Barbara head back home. I shall miss them. Really the Doctors of today have about as much in common with Ian as they do the First Doctor, since they also double as the Leading Man of Action.
017: The Time Meddler
- The Watcher 1965 July 3
- The Meddling Monk 1965 July 10
- A Battle of Wits 1965 July 17
- Checkmate 1965 July 24
(First watched 2009-02-02, -03, -04, -05) So as the viewer might guess but Vicki and the Doctor do not, Steven has got on board the TARDIS. He doesn't believe he's really traveling through time yet, but he's stuck with them so I guess he will soon enough. Interesting that though they're in the past, weird things are clearly afoot. A monk having a wristwatch stolen from him? The monastery filled with fake singing thanks to a phonograph? So not kosher for the year 1066. Based on the episode titles and a bit of general series knowledge I've come across I think I know a bit of where this is coming from, but it's still quite interesting to see.
It seems like Vicki/Steven and the Doctor will just keep traveling back and forth from the shore to the monastery forever without bumping into each other. So I figured the monk had a TARDIS, but it's pretty novel seeing one with an actual working chameleon circuit. Crawl under a lectern, and bam into a control room! So what the heck is the monk up to? He's got some sort of atomic cannon in place. Take out the vikings... to what end?
So his goal is to make history "better", but the Doctor wants to prevent changes. But... don't they go about changing shit all the time? They just don't know what the future of the planets they meddle with would've been otherwise. Also, doesn't it seem like a bad way to neutralize the threat of a man who wants to change history... is to leave him in the past? Making it so his TARDIS doesn't adjust size is a neat trick, but it still seems like he could squeeze in there and illy manipulate the controls if he wished. At least get someplace other than 1066 Earth where he could have access to better means of repair. So the Doctor guesses the Monk is from a time 50 years later than himself. Is this due to just making a guess based on advances in a newer model TARDIS?