May 25, 2013

Doctor Who – Tom Baker Season 1 Review.

I started watching Doctor Who early in 2013. Being a big time sci-fi fan, I had always known about the show, but never got around to watching it. I started watching a few random Matt Smith (the 11th Doctor) Series 5 episodes and found them to be really amazing. I started buying all the series on DVD starting with series 1 with Christopher Eccleston (the 9th Doctor). I was completely blown away. Up until then, Star Trek had
been my favorite show of all time, and it was quickly losing out to Doctor Who as I watched more and more. After Eccleston came David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) and he was just beyond anything I could imagine.

My life had at this point been transformed by Doctor Who. I own over 3000 movies on DVD and Bluray and all of those started to mean nothing to me when compared to Doctor Who. Russel T. Davies’ stories were amazing and David Tennant was just incredible. During his final scenes of “The End of Time Part 2” I found myself more emotional than I have ever been watching anything in my life. Doctor Who became a big part of my life.

It is the most amazing show every made period. I have seen tons of shows and countless movies, and it beats them all. My wife, who is very picky when it comes to television shows has also been drawn in just as much as I have. Now we both spend our free time watching Doctor Who and talking about how amazing it is. After we had finished up all the New-Who stuff, we found ourselves wanting more. Well Doctor Who had been running for a long time, and there were tons of DVDs to buy. I needed a place to start. A lot of the older serials were not available on DVD because they had been lost or just haven’t been released yet. I started to remember that when I was a child Doctor Who was played by Tom Baker (who was the 4th Doctor). I remembered him having a long scarf and really curly hair. After some research I found him to be the most popular of the Doctors and I thought, hell, lets check some out.

Sometimes with these long running shows the older episodes seem cheesy – Battlestar Galactica has that stigma and even the classic Trek has its share of haters. I don’t personally agree with those haters, as I love classic Trek and BSG, but as anyone would be I didn’t know what expect from the classic Who.

So I started watching the Tom Baker episodes from his first appearance (Robot) and I found that these older episodes were just as amazing! Obviously the effects weren’t as good but the ideas and stories were there. But if you have to give credit to one man for making the series great, it has to be Tom Baker. He is the best Doctor of them all. I love David Tennant, and his series, in terms of emotional ups and downs, and the quality of the stories are the best. Tennant’s run is the best run of all Doctor Who, and Tennant is my second favorite Doctor, but just based on the man, Tom Baker is the best. He is such a unique character and he really feels as though he is the Doctor and not just playing a role. He is actually a pretty darn good actor too, but as most, I see him as the Doctor, and I don’t think that is a bad thing. He has touched many people with his charisma and screen presence. To that end, and being that the 50th anniversary is coming up in November, I thought I would go ahead and review Tom Baker’s first season as The Doctor.



Plot: A killer Robot is on the loose.

This was Tom Baker’s first appearance as The Doctor. It starts off with him regenerating and then he has to pick his outfit. He comes out in a Viking suit, complete with a horned helmet and wearpons. It was so funny to see him in it, and the Brigadier says “No”, so Tom has to go back and change again. He goes through a few outfits, all goofier than the next, when he finally comes out in his now famous long scarf and the Brigadier, having lost patients, finally says “yes” and thus we have the iconic look of Tom Baker as the Doctor.

The episode is ok, Sarah Jane Smith remains the companion and she is cool. Harry Sullivan is introduced (who will later join the Doctor in the next episode) and it’s really fun. Mostly because of Tom who is fantastic in the role. The story is a bit whatever, and predictable though, but Tom makes up for it. The Robot does become large at the end, which is cool. But on the whole it’s not one of the best Tom Bakers – that being said, ANY episode with Tom is the best!


The Ark in Space

Plot: The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry find themselves on a man made Ark where there is a creature on the loose.

I loved this episode. I am not sure why, but something about it seems really cool. The monsters, which are some kind of bug, are a bit cheesy, but I like how the story plays out with the first part being a bit of a mystery. The opening scene is bloody hilarious with Tom yelling at Harry calling him a “Ham fisted idiot.” Another great line is when Tom tells Harry that he is getting smarter, but it’s only due to the Doctor’s influence and has nothing to do with him.

So basically the Ark is housing a bunch of humans that are being preserved and are being attacked in their sleep by these creatures. Some of the humans are being taken over by them and the Doctor has to help. I wont spoil what happens, but I think it’s really neat. This was a much better story than the previous Robot and I really started to like the dynamic between the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry.

Note: This episode starts a storyline that takes place over the rest of the season.


The Sontaran Experiment

Plot: The Doctor and company land on Earth to do some repairs and they encounter a Sontaran warrior who is running experiments on human astronauts.

This episode continues from The Ark in Space and it’s notable to me as the first time I had seen a Sontaran in the classic series. I love them in the New-Who stuff and I didn’t even know they were from the classic series. Well I absolutely love them. They up there with the Cybermen and Daleks as one of my favorite races!

This episode, (which is only a 2 parter – most are 4-6 parts) has a lone Sontaran experimenting on human astronauts in order to learn about us. He continuously reports back to his commander and the Doctor has to stop him. I thought this was a really cool 2 parter. The story was fast paced and I loved that Tom had to fight in hand to hand combat! One thing I noticed (and later confirmed) was that Tom was favoring his arm – turns out he had broken a bone during the filming!

In any case, that didn’t ruin the episode and I still think it’s one of the better ones of the season and a good third appearance for Tom Baker as the Doctor.


Genesis of the Daleks

Plot: The Doctor is sent back in time to destroy the creator of the Daleks!

I love this episode. One of the best Tom Bakers of all! Davros is the best villain of all time! When he appeared in the David Tennant finale I was just blown away at how amazing he was. He was an evil genius and could actually challenge the Doctor mentally! Not to mention that he created the Daleks, who are the best Doctor Who villains ever (although my personal favorites are the Cybermen).

This story was the best of this entire season. It was a 6 part series that showed how the Daleks were created by Davros. It was just a great story and I loved how the Daleks turned on their creator! Basically the Daleks were mutated forms of a humanoid species called the Kaleds. They were in a brutal war that they were losing, so Davros decided to evolve the mutated Kaleds into a new super race of warriors, the Daleks. Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks really made a great origin for his Daleks with this episode. Unlike some prequels that ruin the main villain, this episode enhanced them! If you only buy one series from this season, this is the one. One of the best of the entire run.


Revenge of the Cybermen

Plot: The Cybermen and the Vogans have some unfinished business and the Doctor is caught in the middle.

First off, I love the Cybermen! They are my top villains of Doctor Who! Just something about them seems so cool. I especially love the recent portrayal of them (with Army of Ghosts and Doomsday). So seeing them in their classic form was a treat.

This was a 4 part series, and I thought it was pretty cool, but not as good as the previous Genesis of the Daleks (which I thought would’ve been a better end to the season than this). The planet of Voga is at war with the Cybermen and they don’t care who gets hurt in the process. The Cybermats make an appearance and they are cool, but actually the Vogans were probably the best part of this series.

The Vogans were really cool looking and I liked how they fought each other for control. The ruler wants to be peaceful and to give the Doctor a chance to fix things, but his general doesn’t see it that way, and they have a few words. So the interplay there was very interesting, don’t get me wrong, the Cybermen are wicked in their single-minded approach (something that the Borg may have borrowed?) and they are very scary when a bunch are marching towards you!

This series also showed that the Cybermen had a weakness of gold. Voga is made of gold, so the Vogans pose a great threat! The weakness of gold was just used in the recent Matt Smith episode Nightmare in Silver.

All in all, this was a fun episode, but it wasn’t as good and Genesis of the Daleks, but it’s still a must watch for all Tom Baker fans.

About the Author

I own over 3000 dvds/blu-rays and have been a fan of films since my childhood. I watch all types of movies from silent films to foreign to horror to science fiction. I collect comic books and love anything “geek” related.



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