My Classic Who collecton; An episodic review

I have amassed over my years a whole bunch of Classic Doctor Who DVDs and VHS Tapes. Not a complete set by any way but one good enough to give me a broad range of the Whoniverse’s history. In this blog post I am going through every DVD and tape I own, and give a one (maybe two) sentence review. I’m leaving out all the stories I’ve seen repeated on T.V channels like Horror and UKTV Watch because I’ve only seen most of those once. I’m also leaving out stories with missing ‘linking’ parts like The Crusade and Shada (both of which I enjoy tremendously).

WARNING! THESE ARE OPINIONS! YOU MAY DISAGREE, THAT’S A GOOD THING. WELL DONE WE’RE NOT CYBERMEN. OPINIONS OPINIONS OPINIONS!

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An Unearthly Child/100,000 BC: The first episode is magnificent, one of the best pieces of science-fiction ever. The other three episodes are dull in comparison, and act exactly as they are; a rushed script.

The Daleks/The Dead Planet: I love most of this story, the middle bit with the Thals’ adventure can get a bit tedious but The Daleks are truly terrifying with a believable story.

The Edge of Destruction/Inside The Spaceship: I can see why people love it, but to me it feels a bit too claustrophobic and paranoid.

The Aztecs: Fantastic actors, fantastic story, fantastic sound bytes. Fantastic!

The Dalek Invasion of Earth: Again, a Dalek story that tends to get a bit dull in the middle. The last scenes with The Doctor and Susan are perfect though.

The Rescue: Vicki is a really good companion, the villains are crap. I don’t remember much else.

The Romans: This is how Doctor Who needs to do historical stories, even when camp it shines as perfect storytelling.

The Space Museum: Try as I might I can’t enjoy this story. This feels like an early 50s era story, too dull for me.

The Chase: How delightfully entertaining. The more I think about it the more I realise it’s actually quite good.

The War Machines: My favourite Hartnell story. He shines as The Doctor and the story gives an early glance into how artificial intelligence can be the death of us all…

The Tenth Planet: The archetype Hartnell story: Mysterious, scientific, funny. Why aren’t the Cybermen scary anymore?

The Web of Fear: Pat Troughton, Nicholas Courtney, Yetis, Jamie + Victoria, this story can’t not be an instant classic.

The Dominators: One of only two stories I haven’t watched past ep2. Place your bets which the other one is.

The Mind Robber: Some absolutely genius writing and directing, with only one bad actor in the whole thing (Karkus). Even the children are quite good!

The Invasion (This story has animated episodes so shouldn’t really go in my list, but it’s my favourite Troughton story so it can’t be left out): Classic Who really does nail the Cybermen doesn’t it? The first big scale takeover Who did, and I am constantly glued to the screen every time I watch this one.

The Seeds of Death: Nope, don’t like this one. The T-Mat plot is laughable at best and I’ve never liked The Ice Warriors as a villain.

The Claws of Axos: UNIT stories got a bit weak in this point. Only a bit weak though, some great points about immigration and renewable energy to leave you thinking.

Inferno: Every actor carries it perfectly. The story gets a tad muddled, but I think I forgive it.

The Dæmons: My favourite Pertwee story, I love it so much so I’ve got it signed by Katy Manning. Shows us that smaller scale stories can be done perfectly.

Day Of The Daleks: I agree with Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning, this is the low point of their Who careers.

The Three Doctors: A multi-Doctor story done to perfection. Performances, story, sfx, all still hold up 40 years later.

Frontier in Space: Why haven’t The Draconians been in more Doctor Who? A proper interesting alien race and culture and a lesson we all need to learn about taking sides in a war…

Planet of The Daleks: I enjoy this story mostly, I do think Doc and Jo spend too much time apart to make the story enjoyable though.

Planet of The Spiders: Some questionable effects and model work here, but doesn’t take away from the sheer beauty of the plot.

Genesis of The Daleks: This was once upon a time my favourite Tom Baker story (and my favourite of all time). Davros is a perfect addition to the Whoniverse, and the Kaleds are so beautifully written you almost root for them…

Terror of The Zygons: It takes some time to get moving, but once it does it showcases a remarkably thorough story.

Pyramids of Mars: Sarah Jane’s finest hour, this story gives us enough wit and horror to convert even the most stubborn NewWho fans to the ways of the Classic.

The Seeds of Doom: I can see why you like it, but this one for me feels clumsy. I think it should have stayed in Antarctica and not had the ‘Mr Chase’ storyline.

The Masque of Mandragora: Another clumsy feeling story. Tom and Lis can hold anything but it’s a lot of ‘meh’ piled into one.

The Hand of Fear: Never before has ‘average’ described a Tom Baker story so well. Except for the last moments with Sarah, no one’s ever going to forget you Sarah…

The Deadly Assassin: Very nearly a perfect story, I just feel it spends too much time in The Matrix.

Destiny of The Daleks: Not as good as Genesis, but then it’s a hard act to follow. The story got a little too bogged down trying to make jokes.

City of Death: ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY THERE ARE NO BAD THINGS POSSIBLE ABOUT CITY OF DEATH! My favourite all time Who story in case you hadn’t worked that out 🙂

Nightmare of Eden: It took me far too long to work out the drug was spelt vraxoin. Some poor acting but overall enjoyable.

Mawdryn Undead: Such a disappointing return for The Brigadier, a dull story that might have worked better without those ‘nearly timelord’ things on that spaceship.

Kinda: Never liked Kinda, and never will. Not even Peter Davison can survive this sinking ship of dreary acting, a less than crap plot and no sense of danger.

Snakedance: This is the other story I haven’t watched past ep2. I got to Martin Clunes in makeup and a dress and gave up.

The Five Doctors: The first Classic story I watched, so it holds a special place in my heart. I utterly adore this story.

Resurrection of The Daleks: A flop of a Dalek story with one of the highest body counts in Who’s history.

The Caves of Androzani: My favourite Davison story. Claustrophobic, witty, and just oozes charm.

Attack Of The Cybermen: 45 minute stories never quite mastered in Classic Who. Ep1 is good, ep2 is dreadful. The Cyrons are utterly poop as an alien race.

The Two Doctors: Troughton saves this one from dullness. And since when were the Sontarans 6ft tall?

Trial of A Timelord (Mysterious Planet): The good kind of bad Who story.

Trial of A Timelord (Mindwarp): Utter crap. Don’t bother with this one.

Trial of A Timelord (Terror Of The Vervoids): Good use of the ‘whodunnit’ story. Bad use of every other storytelling skill.

Trial of A Timelord (Ultimate Foe): The Valeyard is such a good villain, the best two episodes of the ‘Trial’ saga.

Remembrance of The Daleks: Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, the early days of UNIT, scary Daleks with a soundtrack Modern Who can only aspire to.

Survival: Infinitely better than every modern Who domestic story. Sylvester really nailed his character too.

The TV Movie: Sigh, ah well. You tried America. Now give us back Paul McGann and don’t you dare mention his human left eye.

SPECIAL MENTIONS: Dr Who And The Daleks/Daleks Invasion Earth 2150: As camp as you can get whilst still having it’s feet firmly planted in true science-fiction story telling.

Well there we go, there’s a bunch more stories I’ve only seen once either though borrowing DVDs or telly repeats. Trying to remember and include all of them would be too much hard work for this small corner of the internet. I am in dire need of more DVDs, but first I need the finances 🙂

Share your views on the stories I’ve spoken about here either by commenting on this blog or by tweeting me @MattBobRoss. But please, no arguing.

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