April 1, 2023

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Doctor Who “Survival Part 3”

Classic Who Era Finale.

You know, sometimes when I start these long projects, I never imagine I will actually get to the end of them.  I mean, sure, there are plenty of lost episodes of Doctor Who, but it’s still 26 seasons worth of television, even if the number of episodes per season started to decline as the show went on.

That said, the series isn’t quite over yet.  And I still have some thoughts on Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor.

The Seventh Doctor’s run ended with neither a bang nor a whimper.  The Master, infected by the planet of the Cheetah People into a more bloodthirsty version of himself, returned with one of Ace’s friends to Earth because Cheetah People can apparently teleport, and once there, went around doing the sort of things he generally does like proclaim his own superiority while trying to kill the Doctor.  Other side characters get killed, and Ace’s companion Midge, lost in Cheetah Person bloodthirst, kills a young girl’s cat, and it’s the fakest looking dead cat I’ve seen since a trip to an escape room with some friends a couple years ago (don’t ask…not because it’s a bad story but because it’s too long to recount and not worth the effort right now).

In the end, the Doctor and the Master are zapped back to the Cheetah Person planet, after an infected Ace managed to return the survivors to Earth, and the Doctor alone leaves because he refuses to act violently.  Doing so cures him, and Ace’s own refusal keeps herself from getting worse.  The Master appears to be dead again, but that never takes for him, and we’re left with Ace saying she wants to go home, meaning the TARDIS, and the Doctor saying something about how he’ll always be there to handle things when the sky catches fire, no matter where or when that is.

That’s…not a completely terrible way to end things, really.

And that was the Seventh Doctor.  He was certainly an interesting fellow.  Sure, the show suffered from BBC neglect by this point (those Cheetah People costumes looked a wee bit ratty), but combining the sillier aspects of previous Doctors with the wisdom or other previous Doctors and tossing in a bit of a master tactician made the Seventh a very unique figure.  Then again, all the better Doctors have been unique figures, and even some of the lesser ones have had their moments.  Toss in Sophie Aldred’s Ace and you have one of the best Doctor-companion pairings in the show’s history even if the Doctor occasionally does some things that are rather questionable for poor Ace’s mental and emotional health.  Then again, times like that remind us the Doctor, despite appearances, isn’t human.  McCoy brings a level of clownish charm to the role, utterly disarming as he sets up his opponents to fail.

Seriously, the way those two gets on reminds me of my personal favorite pairing of Jamie with the Second Doctor.

If anything, the show seemed to sometimes show the Doctor and other characters could just appear places as dictated by story needs, but that’s hardly the worst thing I could say about what was a low budget sci-fi showed aimed at being safe for the whole family.

In fact, here’s the next part of that YouTube documentary I post whenever I get to the end of any given Doctor’s tenure:

But that, of course, wasn’t the end of things.  Next was the 30th anniversary special Dimensions in Time.  I found it on YouTube…and I will not be saying more about it here than whatever I opt to say right now.  The special was filmed in a special 3-D format which just doesn’t make for good viewing today.  All the still-living Doctors came by, including Tom Baker in a scene by himself and Jon Pertwee for his last time as the Doctor (plus final appearances by some of the companion actors as well).  Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor finally got a scene with the Brigadier, and companions for every Doctor, including the First and the Second despite the deaths of both William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, had a part to play in a somewhat confusing story where the Rani has done something and different Doctors and companions keep appearing at random, and not always in the classic pairs, as they walked around London, dodged old Doctor Who villains aside from the Master and the Daleks, and finally the Seventh Doctor and Ace disarmed a bomb as K9 sat nearby.

And…that’s all I really want to say about that.  It was also apparently connected to some English soap opera called EastEnders, and I don’t really know anything about that aside from what’s in this sentence, so that sure didn’t help my comprehension levels.

For the curious, it is on YouTube.

However, it is time to move on to Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, a Doctor who was both the longest and shortest running Doctor, and one I had a minor problem even finding his lone TV appearance.  But I will have more than one entry for McGann, and then it’s on to the new series before 2021 rolls around.  I expect we’ll be looking for a different noon-time show by next summer, but I do have some ideas there.

But that’s not my problem.  Next time in this space, I’ll be looking at what happens when British and American television try to do their own take on Doctor Who.

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