I ran across a cache of Doctor Who episodes from the first Peter Davison season. He’s always been my favorite, and it was a treat to think about watching his adventures from the beginning.
Oh, I was so misguided. The first, Castrovalva, was terrible. I remembered them getting trapped in a town square that became wrapped around itself like an Escher image. That was still there, briefly, but I had to get through an awful lot of “oh, my regeneration is failing, I must clutch my head and pretend to faint” and “what will we do without the Doctor?” and “Adric’s been captured and tied up in a metal spiderweb” first.
The second, Four to Doomsday, was an improvement, because it at least had a story behind it. Three frog-like aliens are travelling to Earth to turn them all into robots as an improvement on humanity. They’ve captured various representatives of ancient civilizations over periods of thousands of years, providing an interesting cross-cultural view of history and lots of things for the group to discover and investigate over the four episodes that make up a storyline.
Adric’s taken in by the aliens, thinking that they really do mean to help, which made me think him incredibly stupid. Especially since he just got done being captured by the bad guy, you’d think he’d be a little more cynical. It was also surprisingly creepy to see Tegan sketch modern Earth fashion (for 1981) and then have two of the aliens show up looking just like them in the next scene. It’s the little oddnesses that create a spooky atmosphere.
I’m afraid to try the next one, Black Orchid. That was my favorite of Davison’s stories, and I would hate to lose my pleasant memories of it. It’s only two episodes, though, so I don’t think it can be too bad.
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