Ok so I’m three stories into Troughton’s run.
Power of the Daleks is a bloody masterpiece, as it’s both an amazing Dalek story and possibly the best post regeneration story wrapped into one.
Having watched and listened to Hartnell’s stories over the the last few months, I think I do get a vague taste of just how strange Troughton taking over the roll was on broadcast. While he dose display characteristics of Hartnell, he is also so alien in comparison. He talks of the Doctor as if they are different people at first, he at times seems more childish but also smarter, or at least quicker of mind. A great example is when he accurately deduces Vulcans environment before he’s even stepped through the Tardis’ doors.
A point I don’t recall anyone mentioning is the First Doctor’s ring, which is discarded once it falls from Troughton’s finger. Many modern fans are used to NuWho using the Sonic Screwdriver as a crutch that they are unaware that in the classic series many incarnations of the Doctor barely used it or never had it at all. While only used a handful of times, it’s a cool little trinket unique to the Doctor’s first incarnation.
As a Dalek story story, Power dose something very smart. In each story the Daleks have progressively grown a a threat until they were one of the greatest power in the galaxy and have always been portrayed from a position of strength. Here that is turned on it’s head as the Daleks are weak and disarmed, forcing them to outthink the humans and play wits against the Doctor. It as a whole new level of menace to the old pepper pots.
Animation wise this story is ok though I think it improves as time goes on.
The Highlanders is a hard one for me to review as the only reconstruction I could find was of rather low quality. The over all story is very basic, elevated only by Troughton’s performance and along with Frazer Hines as Jamie. That said, while Jamie dose stand out from the crowd it’s hard to judge Hines performance based solely on audio so I’ll knock off half a point. Also Polly has a lot more agency in this story which is a plus for her character.
As we all know this was the last pure historical until the 80s and unfortunately they didn’t go out on a high note. While better then Gunfighters and Smugglers, Highlanders still lacks the spark that made the first two seasons historical stories so memorable.
The best thing I can say about it is that it gave use one of Doctor Who’s most remembered companions.
The Underwater Menace is an odd story. On the one hand The Doctor and Jamie are very good here, in fact I can better understand why Hines was approached to be a main caste member. Yet on the flip side, focus is taken from Ben giving him less to do, though he and Jamie have a good sense of comradeship, while Polly loses the agency she had in highlanders and spends most her time in peril or in hiding.
Likewise the plot of the story is equal parts interesting and barmy, Zaroff is cartoonishly evil but is so hammy that he’s enjoyable, the sets look good but some of the costumes look awful, yes the fishmen and priests.
It so all over the place that can only give it 5/10.