Doctor Who: The Comprehensive Guide to Things I Like, Seventh 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 :

7th Doctor, played by Sylvester McCoy 1987-1989

One part comedy, one part tragedy, and one part mystery 7th Doctor is a huge departure from what came before him. The series at this time was actually beginning to pick up a plot, a background, and there was an entire plan laid out for 7th so it’s really just a shame this was the exact moment the BBC decided there should be no more budget for the show (and then, no more show). The 7th Doctor himself is in one of the more interesting incarnations with his personality looming between awkward underdog and confident ruler of his own universe.

7th does a lot plotting and scheming inside of the series in a way that former Doctors didn’t really manage to pull off. While 4th may have been very curious and not revealed all of his plans until the very end, 7th has decided to revel none of his plan until way after it’s been found out. For that reason he is often seen as a trickster and a clown, and at times even a Loki-like figure.

The whole of 7th tenure seems to revolve around games (in many episode he’s playing chess, he goes on several adventures where things are “mind games” and he refers to certain events as “playing” or “toying” with high frequency) and I really love this theme and the way they carried it during his tenure. While the last episode is a little painful to watch, the last dialogue for 7th cemented my love for him:

There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, where the sea is asleep and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, and somewhere else the tea is getting cold. Come on, Ace, we’ve got work to do.

Paradise Towers


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Mel Bush
Thoughts: I can’t defend that they’re fighting a thinking trash compactor and its robot friends in this episode making it one of the weakest “enemies” ever. The episode starts with Mel and the Doctor looking for a pool which doesn’t make sense because the TARDIS has a pool (at least in New Who but I still find it amusing by accident). Anyway, they stumble upon what is basically an apartment building world inspired by Highrise and things goes wibbildy in record timing. Cannibal lesbian old ladies, Judge Dredd style justice, freedom fighters, a robotic killer crab, AND they actually do find that pool at the end! This adventure is full on fun from beginning to end.

The Happiness Patrol


Running Time: 3 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4 out of 5
Companions: Ace
Thoughts: The villain is this is both unique (it can never be used because it resembles an actual mascot) and horrific. A big giant candy man who kills people in horrific manners. This is what nightmares are made of. The woman who runs the colony is a thinly veiled version of Thatcher but also has a tiny dog and pink hair and that wasn’t doing my dreams any good either. This is a pretty sloppy episode but somehow I really enjoyed it. Its downfall is that it tried to put together a few too many themes leaving a couple of them behind. Also the Doctor tries to “inspire” people and the TARDIS gets a paint job.

The Greatest Show in the Galaxy


Running Time: 3 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Ace
Thoughts: I think this is my favorite 7th Doctor episode but I go back and forth between this and Paradise Towers. The Doctor and Ace visit a circus that isn’t what it seems. The Doctor also gets a sort of fantasy twist and visits some of the Gods of Ragnarok where he spends the entire segment being ridiculous and silly right until he gets teleported out and blows them up. This episode has some of the most interesting side characters at the circus and I think both the way it was filmed, the sets, and the basic plot are all really top notch.

Battlefield


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Ace
Thoughts: This is an episode where I feel Doctor Who went completely off the rails and doesn’t even try to be an acceptable story but I still loved it. The Doctor is suspected to be “Merlin” and also there’s a dragon lady and people who are transported from another time and the Brig/UNIT is there because we just needed more story elements! More! This episode is WACKY and I love it. I especially love seeing the Brig again and meeting some of the new UNIT members (mostly Bambera). It’s all just a really nice way to draw old and new stories together. This episode is delightful to watch, though it’s a little low on the sense-making.

Ghost Light


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Ace
Thoughts: I’ve seen this serial twice and I still feel like I might have missed something about it which is exactly how you should feel after watching a really good episode of TV. It’s an episode that is intriguing, fun, and mysterious. It includes Victorian people, strange safari animals, being locked in a house with a light monster who wants to catalog things and then destroy them but despite all that, this serial is 1000% about manipulation. Manipulation on every level, from all angles, and from most of the people in the serial even. It’s kind of a lovely episode and reminds me of many New Who episodes that have tried to follow the formula laid out in this one.

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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