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  1. #1
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    The Trial of a Time Lord (Classic era serials)

    Watched season 23, a few weeks, back and am trying to save some time from my classic era rewatch. So, I'll be talking about these from memory, rather than rewatching all 14 episodes.

    After season 22, the show had been put on hiatus for 18 months. It had been allowed to come back for a 23rd season, but the show was the trial. So, what more fitting than having the Doctor literally be on trial on the show?

    The first four episodes were The Mysterious Planet. The Doctor and Peri visit a planet called Ravolox, which they soon discover is a relocated Earth. It was the last story written by Robert Holmes, before his death. It introduces the mystery of Ravolox/Earth, along with Glitz (who'd reappear in the Ultimate Foe and Dragonfire). Peri and the Doctor are shown to have gotten closer and warmed up to Each other, over the 18 months hiatus. However, I don't think that the Mysterious Planet, by itself is anything special. It's just the Doctor dealing with these two tribes of humans, on a post-apocalyptic Earth. The Ravolox revelation is dropped too fast. Planet of the Apes (1968) ends with the revelation that the characters have been on Earth all along (and iconic moment... sadly, often ruined these days by DVD/Blu-ray covers). The Mysterious Planet reveals it within minutes (into the main story).

  2. #2
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Mindwarp

    Episodes 5-8 were Mindwarp, which sees the departure of Peri and the return of Sil. I think that this story was a lot better than The Mysterious Planet. For one thing, it has Brian Blessed in it. Everything gets better with Blessed. Heck, like Tony Robinson notes in his autobiography, Blessed's performance was the one good thing about the first series of Blackadder.

    Nicola Bryant wanted to go out with a bang. So, she's seemingly killed off, at the end of the story. Ultimate Foe reveals her to still be alive (and having married Blessed), which Bryant disliked, but I disagree. Her being allowed to live and become a queen, is a much better ending than her watching her mind swapped with Kiv's, with Blessed then killing her body. In one, she's killed off to advance the story of two men (the Doctor and Blessed's character). In the other, she's allowed to live and come into a state of power. She's a woman who have advanced in society. She becomes a warrior queen (not a warrior princess). That's where her travels with the Doctor brought her. Not stuck in another universe, killed, or have her memories erased. She becomes a queen. Once a random college student from Pasadena, she's risen to a higher position in the social calender.

  3. #3
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    Terror of the Vervoids

    Episodes 9-12 marked a shift in the storytelling of the season. In the first eight episodes, the people at the Doctor's trial had been watching two of his adventures, set in the past. Constantly interrupting the action, to have them talk about what is going on. The Doctor being put into danger (only, we know that he'll be fine, as he's present in the trial room). Here, they show an adventure from the Doctor's future. It creates more tension, as the Doctor's presence in the trial room doesn't ensure us of his survival in the future adventure.

    The Doctor and new companion, Mel (who marked a first, in that we hadn't seen her first meeting with the Doctor. Something modern Who would do with River Song), find themselves in the middle of a whodunnit guest starring Honor Blackman (who is shown in one scene, to be reading Murder on the Orient Express). I quite liked this story. Kept trying to guess who did it. At one point, I noticed something that I first wrote off as a goof, only for it to be revealed to be an important plot point for that part of the episode (the third Mogarian not using his translater, when speaking).

  4. #4
    Custom Title jon-el87's Avatar
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    The Ultimate Foe

    Episodes 13-14 marked the conclusion of the story, this season, and Colin Baker's tenure as the Doctor. It's a two-parter, that runs just under an hour. So, it's the length of a modern episode of Doctor who. Unlike the Key to Time (season 16), it doesn't need six episodes to conclude its story (not even sure if the Key to Time needed it). Fun to see Geoffrey Hughes in a guest starring role (to me, better know for Keeping Up Appearances and Heartbeat). My one real pet peeve with the story is nothing about the story itself, it's that I had learned the truth about the Valeyard, years before seeing season 23. I would've liked to have been shocked by the reveal. Of course, that's the danger in watching old television programs. All the twists and turns were revealed a long time ago. Even if you're not familiar with the material, you might've seen references to it, in popular entertainment (spoiling the plot for you).

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