Saturday, 10 September 2011

Top 7... 80s Who

Spanning 1983-89, or Seasons 20-26 if you prefer, these were out preferred viewing choices from the dog days and declining years of the Classic Series. Unfortunately Darth's taste for the Colin Baker years was not shared by the other two, and Vengeance on Varos and Revelation of the Daleks failed to make the cut. Those that did were (now with the respective votes of myself, Matt and Darth in that order):

Ghost Light (1989, D, 422)  Let me guess. My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you, I never answer letters and you don't like my tie. The genius of Marc Platt, Sylvester at his most mysterious - finally the series was back on track. Unfortunately the last story made prior to cancellation. None of our favourites, but top by consensus as one of only three in all our lists.

2 The Curse of Fenric (1989, M, -13)  Evil, evil since the dawn of time! Not in my list, though it wasn't far off, but as can be seen I was comprehensively outvoted. Very atmospheric and Nicholas Parsons proving that celebrity casting doesn't have to be a disaster.

3 Terminus (1983, T, 15-)  Short term memory... always the first to go...  My favourite Davison story despite it's poor reputation in fandom, and Darth only abstained from voting as he's never seen it. Nyssa in her undies and a star turn from Peter Benson as Bor, the radiation-ravaged Vanir.

4 The Caves of Androzani (1984, M, -33)  More of a tennis player than a cricketer.  Again not a favourite of mine, but I seem to be in a small minority. 80s Who at its bleakest, but as least in the hands of Bob Holmés rather than the Sawardinator done with some panache.

5 Frontios (1984, M, 646) I got this one cheap because the walk's not quite right... And then there's the accent...  Chris Bidmead's best Who script by a mile - Tegan as a defective android, a hatstand used as a weapon, and a quite clever story at its heart.

6 Paradise Towers (1987, T, 38-)  Red Kang eye-spy says we can't go through usual carrydor. Blue Kangs out and lurking... No yellows. All unalive now.  Hardly an unalloyed masterpiece, this had typically poor late 80s lighting, uninspired direction and Richard Briers not so much chewing the scenery as swallowing and regurgitating it, nonetheless after years of unremitting turgidity PT showed there was vitality in the old corpse yet - an intriguing backstory, some sharp political satire and Clive Merrison putting Briers to shame as a genuinely chilling Chief Caretaker.

7 The Greatest Show in the Galaxy (1988, T, 577)  Clowns are creepy.  Dr Who goes all postmodernist, a full 18 years before Love & Monsters. Creepy clowns, annoying fanboys, alluring vampires and Peggy bloomin' Mount, what's not to love? In fact how did this end up as low as 7th on this list?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Top 7... Punk & Nu-Ro Who

Well it seems as good a title as any for a set covering 1977-82, otherwise known as Seasons 15-19, or the Williams and early JN-T years...

It was another chat in which we had difficulty in all agreeing, with only one story in all our top 7s, but unlike the last poll this was because there were more than a dozen stories each of us liked, just not all to quite the same extent. In fact every one of the five seasons under review got at least one entry in the list. With regret, as we all liked them anyway, we rejected Black Orchid and the sublime Androids of Tara, leaving us with :-

1 City of Death (1979, M) - Can anyone join in on this conversation or do you need a certificate? Tom, Lalla, Douglas Adams and Paris. 'Nuff said?

2 Warriors' Gate (1981,T)I don't know what these levers do, but it's pointing in your direction...
The end of the E-Space trilogy, the end of an era, and a story with more quotable lines than possibly any other Who. Influenced by Cocteau - how many Tennant stories can boast that?

Horror of Fang Rock (1977,M) - Gentlemen, I've got news for you: This lighthouse is under attack and by tomorrow morning we might all be dead. Anyone interested? Pure scares, deaths a-plenty and almost a trip back to the Troughton days with the scientific research base replaced by a lighthouse under siege.

4 State of Decay (1980, D) - Do you know, it just occurs to me there are vampire legends on almost every inhabited planet. Vampires in E-Space. As with WG, even Adric wasn't bad in this one...

5 Kinda (1982, T) - It is the Mara who now turn the wheel. It is the Mara who dance to the music of our despair. Our suffering is the Mara's delight. Our madness - the Maras' meat and drink. And now he has returned. The only Davison story to make it - forget the rubber snake and revel in the psychological drama played out largely in Tegan's head, but reflected in the entire world.

6 The Pirate Planet (1978, M) - I’ll never be cruel to an electron in a particle accelerator again! Douglas Adams' debut TV script. Notable for the battle to the death between a robot dog and a robot parrot .

7 Nightmare of Eden (1979, T) - My arms! My legs! My... everything! Ostensibly written by Who stalwart Bob Baker, this has more than a touch of S17 script editor D Adams about it. For my money, the most underrated Tom Baker story of the lot...