Doctor Who: The Comprehensive Guide to Things I Like, Second Doctor Edition

This is a short overview / series for Doctor Who episodes that are my favorite from each doctor after finishing all of the TV show Doctor Who (Old and New).

Just a couple thing before I jump in to it:

  • I broke these down in to Doctors because comparisons between the eras are nearly impossible
  • There’s a link to every other entry at the bottom if you missed any of them
  • These are not reviews or even summaries, they’re just some stray thoughts about what I liked about the episodes usually
  • These episodes are listed in order of airing, not in order of ranking
  • Also :

2nd Doctor, played by Patrick Troughton 1966-1969

It’s so hard for me to talk about 2nd Doctor. I’m elated and heart broken at the same time just thinking about him. I love how amazing Troughton was, the range and warmth he brought to the show, but then I remember he’s dead and feel awful. I love how amazingly goofy and well shot (like actually well shot!) and interesting the episodes are until I remember SO MANY of them are missing. I love how adventurous and joyful and sneaky and wonderful and alien 2nd was until I remember he was punished by the Time Lords for basically being too fabulous and then they wiped his beloved companions memories as punishment so they NEVER REMEMBER HIM.

Putting all the aside 2nd Doctor is above all else fun. His episodes are exciting, varied, ridiculous, and more hand holding than you can shake a stick at. I think when trying to introduce people to 2nd Doctor it’s really more difficult than usual since there’s only a handful of episodes with all the film and people tend to sort of drift off with the audio ones and it breaks my heart. There’s so much comedy that I have imagined in my head I wonder if 2nd Doctor isn’t a bit like a good book – you can make up the best of everything in your head for a good book and that’ll stay with you.

In the end a lot of what I liked about 2nd was his charm, his wit, and his desire for adventure. The stories of 2nd Doctor are ridiculous (the way I feel Who should be) and utilize both the absurd nature of humanity and the universe and also the very mundane and easily understood parts of time and space as well. While I agree that 3rd was probably the biggest change, I might argue that 2nd took the most risks re: production. They jumped off the cliff when they came up with the idea that they could just make a new Doctor and just ran with it, making it up as they went along. Considering these episodes ran on a fairly low budget in a time where you had to do everything via wires and tricks and makeup – they managed to produce some of the most grandiose episodes with actually cool villains (but never more than 4 cybermen in one shot because they’re not made of money you know).

The Underwater Menace


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each (Episodes 1 and 4 missing)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Polly, Ben Jackson, and Jamie McCrimmon
Thoughts: My kingdom for the missing dance footage from the last episode of this serial! This is such a cute/great/fun episode where everyone gets captured by people in an underwater civilization that is also in a volcano headed by a scientist who turns people in to fish people and wants to blow up the world. This a Bond story. Watching Ben struggle to help Jamie understand not only time travel but also modern life and fish people (as if he understands fish people himself) is extremely ridiculous and satisfying.

The Moonbase


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each (Episodes 1 and 3 missing)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Polly, Ben Jackson, and Jamie McCrimmon
Thoughts: Three words: The Phantom Piper. This story is supposed to be very scary as they’re trapped on a moon base with Cybermen who are stealing people but it ends up being kind of humorous anyway. They try to patch a hole with a tray, there’s some sandwich eating, and despite themselves the Cybermen are actually a lot less scary in this episode because they ignore anyone who doesn’t have a certain disease. It’s just a really fun episode and I remember it fondly.

The Faceless Ones


Running Time: 6 episodes, 25 minutes each (Episode 2 and 4-6 missing)
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Polly, Ben Jackson, and Jamie McCrimmon
Thoughts: It’s really hard to explain why the episode where they run around an airport might be my favorite 2nd Doctor serial. This episode contains many of my favorite things: clones. antics. inappropriate humor. dumb face stealing aliens. murder mystery. nonsense. Jamie has no idea how passports, tickets, or airplanes work and when he asks the doctor about it the doctor basically shrugs is shoulders and gives him a “no idea”. Ben and Polly sort of evaporate in to the distance at the end of the episode which is okay by me, they never seemed to really connect to 2nd and they did manage to land right on the day they left – that’s a sign of something.

The Tomb of the Cybermen


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield
Thoughts: This is easily one of the best 2nd Doctor episodes in the entire bunch. Not only is all of it intact but it’s also amazing. You do have the forgive the “American” people in this serial who apparently seem to think everyone comes from a cowboy film and struggle to form sentences without saying “howdy” or “partner”. There’s about a dozen perfect moments in this episode including when the Doctor explains his age and Jamie pretending he knows what the scientists are talking about it. The episode reminds me of modern Who because it’s a good mix of scary, and delightful fun.

Enemy of the World


Running Time: 6 episodes, 25 minutes (Episodes 1, 2, and 4-6 missing)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon and Victoria Waterfield
Thoughts: This is one of my favorite because Troughton plays a dual role in this one so well that I actually believed at first they had used a stunt double instead. The Doctor should probably never go to the beach as it doesn’t seem to work out well for him and he soon gets pointed out as looking exactly like super bad guy, Salamander. A plan is hatched, things goes down, and the aftermath is awesome. There’s a race of underground men, jet skis, active volcanoes and many cases of mistaken identity – nothing to not enjoy.

The Wheel in Space


Running Time: 6 episodes, 25 minutes each (Epsidoes 1, 2, 4 and 5 missing)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot
Thoughts: If I can recall this episode correctly, a lot of people die. I think they wanted to set Zoe up as a bit of a robot girl. Her coworkers don’t seem very fond of her adorable wrinkle nose, sparkly jump suits, and penchant for being eerily right at least and talk about her as being cold. This is one of the better trapped in a small space episodes. This episode is sort of strange because the Cybermen have a nonsense plan to eat some of the supplies on the ship so they can take it over despite they can clearly get on the ship and take it over the old fashioned way? It doesn’t really matter as despite this the episode is interesting with a lot of jumpy, tense moments. By the end you’ll be pleased as one by one Zoe’s awful coworkers get knocked off and then she boards the TARDIS never to look back.

The Mind Robber


Running Time: 5 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot
Thoughts: This is probably the most surreal episode of Doctor Who there ever was or ever will be. It actually starts outside of reality and ends up in a story land where Zoe, Jamie, and the Doctor confront things from books while a man tries to convince the Doctor to switch places with him to write the book that keeps this world alive. Nothing in this episode is ever explained including why it’s happening or how. A few highlight from this episode: a comic book character from the future, Gulliver who only says phrases from Gulliver’s Travels, a unicorn that Jamie dreams about, riddles that make no sense, robots, Jamie’s face being put on incorrectly (so badly he’s played by a different actor), and of course a giant brain. The episode ends with them getting in the TARDIS and basically never speaking of this ever again.

The War Games


Running Time: 10 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Companions: Jamie McCrimmon and Zoe Heriot
Thoughts: This slightly heavy handed episode about why war is bad is heart-felt, wonderful, and strangely fun. Someone is trying to take over the galaxy by reenacting human war battles because of reasons and in famous fashion the Doctor, Zoe, and Jamie break down the mind controlled people. Not only does this serial not drag even though it’s 10 episodes long but also at the end is one of the most devastating things ever. The costumes and sets are especially lovely for this one though the filming is actually a little more stale than average. This is a sad send up and abrupt ending for 2nd Doctor making the episode bitter sweet when the the Time Lords come and ruin everything (as per usual).

In conclusion:

Here’s an index for the other entries:
1st Doctor
2nd Doctor
3rd Doctor
4th Doctor
5th Doctor
6th Doctor
7th Doctor
8th Doctor
9th Doctor
10th Doctor
11th Doctor
12th Doctor

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