Monday, January 18, 2010

5V4 - Logopolis 4

Episode Four of Logopolis still, to this day, remains the most shocking and tragic piece of television I have ever seen upon first viewing. You must understand that I was twelve years old at the time and I had no idea what regeneration was or that there were different Doctors other than Tom Baker.

Even when The Doctor was forced to venture outside onto the frame of the radio telescope to try and disconnect the cable (for whatever reason, I still have no real idea. The Doctor said that he had to disconnect the cable, and so I believed him), I still thought he would save the day and live to tell about. But, my word, when that cable ripped open, and The Doctor was left there, literally hanging by a thread, his life beginning to flash before his eyes, I was in utter disbelief. Even when he inevitably fell, and I saw his body lying prostrate on the ground, I still believed that The Doctor could get up, dust himself off, and carry on with his adventures. He was The Doctor. It's what he had always done.

But he didn't. I watched with complete amazement as the Watcher (who was The Doctor all the time, so says an overdubbed Nyssa, admission that the explanation in the four episodes leading up to this was nowhere near as clear as it should have been) dissolved into the Doctor that I knew, becoming an entirely new person wearing The Doctor's old clothing. I was mortified. Who was this doppelganger, sitting up and looking bemused at the whole scene as the credits crashed in?

As those credits rolled, my horror was slowly being replaced by intrigue. Just when I thought I had seen it all in Doctor Who, just when I thought it could no longer surprise me, it went and did something like this. I was still under the impression, though, that The Doctor would change back next week....

As I watch Tom Baker lying there at the end, saying his last, oft quoted line, I'm reminded at how remarkably young he looked, by comparison, when he was sitting up after regenerating from Jon Pertwee's Doctor at the beginning of Robot. Seven years is a hell of a long time in Doctor Who, and it's understandable to think that Tom Baker was the only Doctor that an entire generation of Doctor Who fans knew. Even during the course of this year long trek of watching every episode, in order, I can scarcely remember any episodes that didn't feature Tom Baker as The Doctor.

Baker's time as The Doctor, due to its length, is easily the most varied of any Doctor's era before or after. It's also one of the most successful periods in Doctor Who's long history. At the end of each Doctor's era, I usually look back and select my top picks for best, worst, and favourite stories. But how can I pick just one story for each category from an era that featured so many great stories? So I'm cheating a bit with this one - I'll pick two best and favourite stories, but only one worst story, because to pick on two stories would just be cruel. Here we go:

The Tom Baker Era:

Best Stories : The Seeds of Doom/Horror of Fang Rock
Worst Story : The Android Invasion
Favourite Stories : The Talons of Weng-Chiang/The Sun Makers

And now, Peter Davison...


Erik said...

No "Deadly Assassin?" Surely, you must be joking...

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