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

3rd Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee 1970-1974

I like to think of 3rd Doctor as the ultimate in “class and sass”. He wears a suit and cape, he drives a snazzy car, he’s the smartest man in the room, and he never wants you to forget that. Taking the show to an Earth-based non-time jumping direction was a huge risk. 3rd Doctor isn’t all too pleased about being stuck on the universes best back water planet and he spends much of the first two seasons griping about it while fixing all those things that go wrong on Earth anyway out of “kindness” and to show off to the Brig that he’s amazing. Being stranded by his race of jerkmongers (The Time Lords) has not made him kind or happy and he spends a lot of time trying to fix his TARDIS and rolling his eyes.

I love 3rd because he spends a lot of his time being sort of grumpy but secretly enjoying the things he’s doing. He seems to get very attached to Jo so much so that even once he has his time machine back in fairly good working order, he sticks around with both her and UNIT. He has a very special relationship with many of the UNIT members as well who seem to love and fear him as he make their paperwork more difficult.

The last notable thing is that 3rd is the real start of what I’d like to call “action Doctor”. While 1st and 2nd do have some action scenes and plenty of running, 3rd Doctor is the first to fight really. He practices Venusian Aikido which seems to mostly involve punching people in the stomach and/or face area. 3rd Doctor rushes in to action, uses his sonic screwdriver to cause explosions, and in the great history of Who!dom, continues to spend a lot of his time running. These action sequences are fairly comical and overdone compared to the modern stage fighting but it’s a totally different mood for the Doctor who was until this time much more critical thinking and passive in his destruction/helping of others.

Spearhead from Space


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Companions: Liz Shaw
Thoughts: This serial has too many good moments. The Doctor upon waking is pretty much the equal to insane. He steals his shoes back, takes a shower, finds the nearest ridiculous outfit, and then drives away in someone else’s car. Oh also there are Autons and the press are trying to break in to the hospital to see the man with two hearts because they had that information leaked to the news. This is a pretty absurd episode and while it has a few scary moments (the Autons are horrific in a uncanny valley way). The Doctor basically cons the Brig and UNIT in to letting him stay for free and they elect Liz Shaw as sacrificial companion for the Doctor to insult and make snide comments at. Just all around good times for everyone and probably one of the strong first episodes of any Doctor.

Inferno


Running Time: 7 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Liz Shaw
Thoughts: An AU episode that is canon! Woooo. Liz Shaw being a badass in every timeline you can imagine. The Brig in an eye patch. A mad scientist. Evil heat creatures. Sass everywhere. This serial really had it all. This episode is pretty amazing for a number of reasons including the Doctor doesn’t save the day in the alternate world, he just pops back in to his own instead – presumably letting all those mirror world folks die. At the end of the episode he gets the TARDIS going again, insults the Brig and Liz, and ends up in a garbage bin outside and needs to be hauled back in. I laughed, I cried, I wondered about fascist regimes and eye patch standards.

The Mind of Evil


Running Time: 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 5 out of 5
Companions: Jo Grant
Thoughts: This is probably my favorite Old Who episode with the Master in it. The Master at this time is a ‘master of disguise’ which they sort of brought back in a less awesome way in the new series. Unfortunately the episode contains some racism (but not Talons of Weng Chiang level thankfully) so it can make you cringe. The Master has a ridiculous plan that makes little to no sense involving using a machine that kills people with their own fears. What I like the most about the episode is that the Doctors fear is that of the inferno (and then Daleks/Cyberman/Zarbi). In the end the Master “wins” and gets his circuit back from the Doctor with his terrible plan but instead of just disappearing off in to the nether, The Master proceed to CALL THE DOCTOR ON A PHONE TO TAUNT HIM because they are 12 years old school boys. Real mature.

The Sea Devils


Running Time: 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Jo Grant
Thoughts: A lot more handy than she looks Jo is actually a lock pick and a decent fighter who can resist hypnotism! Which is good because in this episode The Master is up to his ridiculous tricks again and contacts a species of underwater beings that Jo and the Doctor have to stop. This episode was frankly ridiculous in every way and I really enjoyed it. The music is “experimental” and was created electronically alongside the show. The costuming is over the top. The story is downright ridiculous. The Master watches 30 minutes of children’s programing. Also of note, the Master is locked away at the beginning of this episode because of DEMONS from a previous episode – nothing here isn’t awesome. At the end, The Master gets away by faking a heart attack and then jumping on a speedboat. Suck on that John Simm.

The Time Warrior


Running Time: 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Companions: Sarah Jane Smith
Thoughts: I loved Sarah Jane very much from the first minute I saw her. Smart, savvy, and froward she’s one of the most independent and stubborn companions the Doctor has ever had. Sarah fakes her way in to the same project the Doctor is investigating because “bitches get shit done” and she ends up in the Middle Ages trying to give pep talks to the women serving the king there. Total #LadyBoss. This is also the first time we get to see a Sontaran. The Doctor tries to attack people with a fan of paper and there is a robot scene that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I think just about everyone dies (except the scientists from the 21st century) and then Sarah and the Doctor have many more wonderful adventures together.

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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