S17 and 18 thoughts?

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Ludders
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S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Ludders »

I recently rewatched these two seasons.
Here are some thoughts. 8-)

Finally embarked on my first rewatch of S17 for more than a decade. Skipping Destiny for a forthcoming Dalek marathon and straight onto City of Death.
Have to admit I found this rather more enjoyable than I have done previously. Yes, the pairing of the Doctor and Romana II comes across as insufferably smug, and half of episode is little more than a postcard from Paris, but when it gets going it's a decent enough Dr Who adventure. The tone isn't half bad as some of the stories around this time, and the performances of Glover and Schell certainly help to lift the game. Tom is undoubtedly on good form too, although I confess to missing Mary Tamm after watching S16 recently.
Dudley Simpson's music comes over really well here too. Definitely one of his better scores.
I've always found this one a bit overrated, and still do in the sense that I wouldn't put it up there with the great classics like Talons and Genesis, but I've definitely gained more of an appreciation of what I previously thought of as rather average.
I'd give it 7.5/10.


The Creature From the Pit

Not as bad as I remembered. Yeah, it's a bit mundane and a bit camp and silly, but at least it's not total dogshit. There are a few good scenes in it, although by the end my attention was drifting a bit.
I previously rated this about 4/10, but I think I'll upgrade it to a 5/10. It's a bit dull, but it's inoffensive.


Nightmare of Eden

Having got a bit more out of the previous S17 stories than I expected, I thought the trend might continue, but no, this one is just plain boring. I struggled to get through it to the end.
Of course, compared to anything that NuWho has to offer, it would get a full 10/10, but by proper Classic Who standards, I'll give it a generous 4/10.


Horns of Nimon

Well after quite enjoying City of Death, and even thinking Creature From the Pit wasn't that bad, I had relatively high hopes for the rest of the season, but after struggling through Nightmare of Eden, it all came crashing down with this one.
It's just too farcical for words. Pure panto. The only saving grace is the Nimon themselves which are pretty good, (platform boots notwithstanding)
I'd still rather watch this than NuWho though. It might be a bit cringey, but at least it's not pretentious.
Comparing to the rest of the season I'll give 4.5/10 for at least being mildly more entertaining than Nightmare of Eden, if you're in the right sort of mood.


Shada

I watched this on dvd, with the animation filling in the gaps.
I haven't had a go at this story since the the VHS release, which I found difficult to get into with Tom just filling in the gaps.
I was fully expecting not to like it that much, but was pleasantly surprised. It's actually a pretty good story which is much easier to appreciate now that it's presented properly.
Admittedly, this is not TOP notch Who for me, but streets ahead of Nimon and Eden, and is on a par with City of Death sort of quality. It's a little bit overlong at 6 episodes, which brings the score down a bit, but it's definitely worth a 7.5/10.


S18

The Leisure Hive

Like S17, it's been a long time since I watched S18 as well, so I'm quite curious to watch this season after over a decade.
I still have mixed feelings about this story. I started out quite enthusiastic, but over the course of the 4 episodes my interest was flagging by the end.
I found the incidental music quite refreshing, and the performances were solid; although Tom seems a bit on the flat side. It's mainly that the story itself was a bit weak, and difficult to sustain interest.
On the one had, it's good that the OTT silliness of much of S17 has gone. But somehow they lost a bit of the energy and zest, and there's a kind of mundane edge to this story that is hard to account for.
JNT says in 'New Beginnings' feature the move to curb the comedy excesses of the Williams/Adams era was a deliberate decision on his part, but did they get the balance right? Perhaps that will be better answered at the end of the season rather than the beginning.
On paper, I should enjoy this move towards more serious Sci-Fi. And yet I struggled with it. Why? Perhaps I'm reading too much into it and it's simply not that great a story. I mean it's not bad by any means... it just lacks the spark that it used to have.
I'll be generous and give it 6/10, because I feel the effort is there but they just haven't quite nailed that winning formula.


Meglos

If I thought The Leisure Hive wasn't up to that much, this is even more on the dull side. Tom manages to convey a little bit more spark to his performance, but he's still only a few steps away from going through the motions. I really do get the vibe that this was one season too many for Tom.
It's not a terrible story, but it really is very average stuff, despite the best efforts of a half-decent guest cast, including of course Jackie Hill. And fair credit to Lalla Ward who so far this season comes across more invested in it than Tom.
Previously in my mind I had this down as a 3/10 story, but I think now I'd bump it up a bit to 4.5/10.


Full Circle

I used to think this one was a bit dull, but after trying to rewatch some NuWho shite recently it seems positively brilliant. :lol:
But seriously, it is rather slow to get going, but it's possibly the best one of S18 so far.
George Baker is good, and it's nice to see James Bree. Also, Tom seems must more invested in this story than the first couple. He's like his old self-again. Lalla is good, but it's just a shame about Adric, the appearance of whom puts a bit of a downer on things.
All in all, not great, but not bad.

6/10


State of Decay

Now this is much more like it.
A great story that manages to recreate some of the atmosphere of the Hinchcliffe era, which makes sense given that it was originally the handover story that was ultimately replaced by Horror of Fang Rock.
Tom is in great form here, especially after the first two lacklustre stories of the season. My only real gripe, apart from the presence of Adric, is Kingsland's ultra-bland music. It just doesn't fit with the atmosphere of the story. It sounds like he's written something very generic that could be used in any story. There's no sense of menace to it whatsoever.
Otherwise, this is leaps and bounds ahead of anything in the last 2 or 3 seasons, and would definitely make it into my Top 3 stories from the '80s.

8.5/10


Warrior's Gate

It's never been a favourite, and I tried really hard to get more out of it this time, but by Episode 3 I was frankly bored shitless.
Gets a point for its genuine Sci-Fi concepts, even if the story doesn't work for me. Another point for simply not being NuWho, and another point for Lalla's two points. :P
3/10


Keeper of Traken

Definitely one of the better stories of S18. Admittedly a bit slow to get going, but a good outing overall. Good performance again from Tom, and Geoffrey Beavers makes a good Master in following on from The Deadly Assassin version of the character.
Good guest performances and atmosphere. I've never been keen on Ainley's Master, (more on that later) but he was good as Tremas, and nice to see John Woodnutt in Who again.

7/10


Logopoolis

There's just no getting around the fact that this is as dull as dishwater for the most part. Probably not quite as bad as I thought it was, but compared to State of Decay, and Keeper of Traken it pales into insignificance.
Tom's performance is a bit phoned in apart from a couple of moments; Ainley is like a thoroughly weak and watered down Delgado; Adric gets some lines to show how annoying the character is, but not as annoying as Tegan, and Nyssa is there just to round off the blandness of the whole thing.
I'll give it a generous 4/10.


Any thoughts? :D
Last edited by Ludders on Wed May 20, 2020 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bertrand Marx
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Bertrand Marx »

Interestingly, despite both seasons essentially being polar opposites in tone, I appreciate both of them and what they were trying to accomplish, although I think I’d rate season 18 higher overall.

I recognise that large chunks of season 17 are absurdly over the top and very much defined by a reliance on pantomime, but there is definitely a distinguished charm to some of it and I definitely prefer it to the rather stagnant and dull season 16. City of Death and Shada are the obvious highlights, and I don’t mind Destiny of the Daleks or even Creature from the Pit too much. Horns of Nimon is rubbish, but I can definitely find it entertaining when in the correct mood. Nightmare of Eden is the weakest in the season as far as I’m concerned due to the fact that the adult and ultimately grim concept contained in the script clashes very considerably with the pantomimic tone. And generally speaking, although I enjoy many of the stories separately, I’d probably hate it if all of Who was like this, and I think I’d be turned off by a lot of it if watching it on transmission as many others were. But I certainly prefer it to season 16 and the latter two stories of season 15 (which are pure shite).

Season 18 is more interesting conceptually and has more going for it in terms of cerebral content. The Leisure Hive is rather mediocre but not as bad as some say- it’s just rather dry, although well directed and does feature an interesting change to Who’s style and format through the music and visual aesthetic, even if it is a little too much in this case. Meglos is disposable fluff, but watchable enough. All three of the E-Space stories are very good, with Warriors’ Gate being a particular favourite. Keeper of Traken is OK, but Logopolis always frustrated me in just how dour, dull and aimless much of it is in the lead-up to Tom’s actual regeneration. The regeneration itself is spot-on, but the rest of the story is laden with shite acting and direction even if the ideas are there. Bidmead probably needed reigning in occasionally as he did get mildly indulgent, but I do admire his austere and cerebral approach as a whole.
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Rob Filth
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Rob Filth »

I'm a bit kinder to Season 17 than I used to be these days.

Destiny, City and Creature all have fairly good production values for Williams era scripts, the only thing which grinds my gears is Tom Baker acting like it's the Tom Baker celebrity Show throughout.

Nightmare actually has a pretty good script but shit acting and casting and poor direction with Tom Baker in cunt overload.

Nimon is panto rubbish, worthy of Season 24 and Shada really just a padded out City Of Death, it's okay in places but a bit smug, silly and drawn out.

Season 18 I think is a definite if somewhat shaky improvement with mixed results.

Leisure Hive is visually good, but dull scriptwise, Meglos is largely pants but Full Circle very nearly cuts the Classic mark, it has great sci-fi concepts, imagery, monsters, Tom Bakers actually acting for the first time in 3 years again. It's only really twatty Adric which lets it down and the silly concept of using the tardis like a boulder battering ram against the starliner.

State of Decay is interesting and visually good but suffers from acting worse than a ham sandwich.

Warriors Gate I love, it was the first story to really pull me in again since probably "Horror of Fang Rock" even if parts of it are a bit baffling.

Keeper is a little too talky and slow, but the dialogue is pretty classic and it's more thespian than panto if a little stagey.

Logopolis is disappointing, it has it's moments but one would have expected a more dynamic story for Toms final.

All in all, I DO prefer Season 18 by far, but I guess for casual viewers Season 17 is perhaps more accessible.
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Ludders
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Ludders »

I worked out the percentages from my scores, and S17 comes out slightly ahead of S18.

S17 - 57.5%

S18 - 55.7%

Not much in it to be honest.

But yeah, both seasons are better than S16.
Last edited by Ludders on Wed May 20, 2020 9:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bertrand Marx
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Bertrand Marx »

Ludders wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 8:48 am

Keeper of Traken

Definitely one of the better stories of S18. Admittedly a bit slow to get going, but a good outing overall. Good performance again from Tom, and Geoffrey Beavers makes a good Master in following on from The Deadly Assassin version of the character.
Good guest performances and atmosphere. I've never been keen on Ainley's Master, (more on that later) but he was good as Tremas, and nice to see John Woodnutt in Who again.
No score for Traken, Ludders?
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Ludders
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Ludders »

Naughtius Maximus wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:18 am
Ludders wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 8:48 am

Keeper of Traken

Definitely one of the better stories of S18. Admittedly a bit slow to get going, but a good outing overall. Good performance again from Tom, and Geoffrey Beavers makes a good Master in following on from The Deadly Assassin version of the character.
Good guest performances and atmosphere. I've never been keen on Ainley's Master, (more on that later) but he was good as Tremas, and nice to see John Woodnutt in Who again.
No score for Traken, Ludders?
Sorry, I'll edit that in. It's a 7/10.
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Rob Filth
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Rob Filth »

Ludders wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:17 am
But yeah, both seasons are better than S16.
Yeah I agree with that.

Season 16 is probably my least favourite Tom Baker season,

In fact it's probably my least favourite one from the whole decade.
Last edited by Rob Filth on Wed May 20, 2020 9:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Bertrand Marx
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Bertrand Marx »

Rob Filth wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:27 am
Ludders wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:17 am
I worked out the percentages from my scores, and S17 comes out slightly ahead of S18.

S17 - 57.5%

S18 - 55.7%

Not much in it to be honest.

But yeah, both seasons are better than S16.
Yeah I agree with that.

Season 16 is probably my least favourite Tom Baker season,

In fact it's probably my least favourite one from the whole decade.
Seconded. Seasons 9 and 15 are probably closest behind it for me in terms of least favourite 70s seasons (though I still enjoy chunks of them).
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Rob Filth
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Rob Filth »

Naughtius Maximus wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:29 am
Seconded. Seasons 9 and 15 are probably closest behind it for me in terms of least favourite 70s seasons (though I still enjoy chunks of them).
I agree in regard to Season 9, it's probably the weakest Pertwee Season, but I find it a tough call between Season 15 and 17.

In many ways I prefer Season 15 purely because it has "Horror of Fang Rock" in it which is head and shoulders above ANYTHING in Season 17.
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Re: S17 and 18 thoughts?

Post by Bertrand Marx »

Rob Filth wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:39 am
Naughtius Maximus wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 9:29 am
Seconded. Seasons 9 and 15 are probably closest behind it for me in terms of least favourite 70s seasons (though I still enjoy chunks of them).
I agree in regard to Season 9, it's probably the weakest Pertwee Season, but I find it a tough call between Season 15 and 17.

In many ways I prefer Season 15 purely because it has "Horror of Fang Rock" in it which is head and shoulders above ANYTHING in Season 17.
That is a good point. I prefer the tone of season 15 as well. Invisible Enemy and Fendahl are pretty good too with a few caveats, and The Sun Makers has its redeeming factors. However, the last two stories of that season I find insufferably dull and probably worse than anything in season 17.

As over the top and infamous as Nimon is, at least you can get a laugh out of it, which I plainly can’t do with Underworld or The Invasion of Time.
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