Tag Archives: Doctor Who

Doctor Who Serial 016 – The Chase

Farewell Barbara and Ian, hello Steven.

Synopsis: The Daleks chase The Doctor through time and space.

After a repeat of the finale of the previous story, we get a piano introduction that feels like it came out of Mr. Dressup.

The episode opens with The Doctor tinkering with a “Time-Space Visualizer,” trying to get it to work. Essentially it’s a TV that shows images from any time and space. Ian suggests they watch Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, while Barbara wants to watch Elizabeth I and Shakespeare who The Doctor will eventually meet again… and marry one of them, too.

Elizabeth I and Shakespeare

Whereas Vicki wants to listen to some classical music, and thus we have the only surviving footage of The Beatles on Top of the Pops. “Of course I know about them, I’ve been to their memorial theatre in Liverpool.”

The Beatles

With the exception of a few seconds of “Ticket To Ride,” it’s 11 minutes of useless garbage at the beginning of the a six-part story.

The TARDIS lands on a planet in a binary star system and The Doctor gives Ian a magnetic compass1 while Barbara and The Doctor suntan. Eventually Barbara finds the visualizer to be showing The Daleks. The Daleks are discussing that their time machine now works, and that they’ve found the TARDIS. They’re going to chase The Doctor and his companions. *GASP!*

God, let’s just listen to more Beatles. Damn, I love Ringo’s drumming on this song.

While that was good music, whoever scored this episode should be shot.

While Barbara and The Doctor are looking for Ian and Vicki to warn them, Ian and Vicki find an opening with a ladder, they head down, and having never learned from their mistakes in the past, make their presence known. After a sandstorm, The Doctor and Barbara are lost from the TARDIS, and a Dalek rises from the sand… ooo eee ooo.

Dalek rises from the sand.

Whoever on the production team okayed Daleks in sand was an idiot. If the monsters can’t move effectively, they become a joke.

So this planet was a lush ocean planet, and only two species survived, one humanoid species with gills and the squid like creatures. The humanoids are going to kill the squids.

Oh my god! This soundtrack is TERRIBLE.

So according to this episode, The Doctor built the TARDIS… I think he’s a liar.

Again, they’re doing that horrible thing where Daleks talk amongst themselves. It doesn’t work!

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They’re going to New York… I was just there. This guy’s New York accent is terrible.

The obnoxious Alabaminain (is that what they’re called) is apparently Peter Purves who will be a new companion as Steven Taylor in episode six.

Yes! The Daleks are invading a clipper ship. I only know that term because of Guinan.

Jeez, if the Daleks invade your boat, you don’t jump into the ocean, you push the Daleks into the ocean.

Apparently the ship is the Mary Celeste, whose wikipedia page has this to offer…

The Doctor Who serial The Chase (1965) suggested that the arrival of time-travelling Daleks caused the terrified crew of the ship to jump overboard.

Thank you, internet.

It’s been a week, now onto part 4. Will I ever finish this serial? I want cereal.

Oh, that’s a place to fight Daleks, in a Scooby Doo house.

They find Frankenstein’s monster, yet behind Ian is a Dalek. They never mention it… what’s going on?!?!

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Oh, this time the Dalek moves, and apparently Frankenstein’s Monster is immune to Dalek weaponry. Oh, and so is Dracula.

Uh oh! The TARDIS left Vicki in the Scooby Doo house, but she’s hitching a ride with the Dalek TARDIS which is running away from Frankenstein who took out one Dalek. It turns out it’s just a haunted house.

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God, more Daleks talking amongst themselves. They’re going to clone The Doctor.

HAHAHA! The Doctor clone is amazing! He’s so laissez-faire towards his Dalek masters. “Yes, yes, I know, infiltrate and kill.”

If Vicki was smart, she would’ve smashed the robot Doctor. AND OMG he’s not even played by William Hartnell.

Watch out Barbara! He’s a robit!

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They wake up. They’re surrounded. The Doctor pretends to be the robot, the Daleks see through his ruse, he runs away. They’re cornered. A door opens and the aliens say something robot-like and indecipherable. The Doctor and his companions go with the aliens.

Have you noticed that we haven’t seen any life other than the robots… as if on queue out comes Steven Taylor, new companion.

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The Doctor now has four companions. That’s a busy TARDIS.

They decide to break out of the zoo they’re captured in by lowering themselves down thousands of feet from the roof.

The Mechanoid vs. Dalek battle scene is horrible.

Stay awake, Adam. Only five more minutes.

They’ve found the empty Dalek TARDIS, and Barbara quickly realizes that they can go home. The Doctor helps them go to London in 1965, and Barbara and Ian have the cheesiest montage, ever.

The Doctor is not so happy they made it safely back, because he “shall miss them.” What a selfish jackass.

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  1. Facepalm []

Doctor Who Serial 015 – The Space Museum

The last story, The Crusade, is missing episodes two and four. We shall be skipping that for obvious reasons. 

The episode begins with The Doctor and his companions frozen while the TARDIS lands. Ian makes note that they’re wearing their normal clothes, and not the 13th century garb from The Crusade. The Doctor seems rather non-plussed about it, but why?

Vicki has a look in the TARDIS wardrobe.

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It will change a bit in the centuries The Doctor will spend…

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and later…

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Vicki breaks a glass, then the film reverses and it rejoins, water and all!

Curious.

They’re walking on dust, but not leaving foot prints.

Curious and curious.

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I don’t remember this story at all, so it looks like I’m live tweeting it like I did the last one. I love that they hide from the people for no reason, and then Vicki goes to sneeze. Fortunately Barbara got there in time!

Oh god! She sneezed, but the people didn’t hear! Phew!

“Those two men must’ve been guards.” Why, Ian? Why would they be guards? Perhaps they’re curators of said museum? Perhaps they are ticket agents? Perhaps they are guides? Perhaps they are in charge of payroll?

MORE PEOPLE! GOTTA HIDE! THEY DIDN’T PAY ADMISSION!

MORE PEOPLE! More hiding!

They found the TARDIS in the museum! Oh my! And now they’ve found themselves.

So…

Synopsis: The Doctor and his companions arrive on a planet with a museum. In said museum they find another TARDIS and themselves in glass cases. They are peaking at their future and must prevent themselves from being caught.

This is kind of an interesting concept. It does go against some ideas that were presented in “Angels Take Manhattan,” but that episode won’t happen for 47 years, I can forgive them of that. I think the beginning was done quite cheesy, but it got interesting in the last half of episode one… now on to episode two.

Damn! I pulled up a transcript of a line. Thought he said something about Mork (as in Mork from Ork). He actually said “Yeah, I know, I volunteered, you were ordered. If the truth were known, I was just as bored on Morok.”

Why do they think it’s strange for anyone to visit this planet. It houses a museum, it’s a tourist destination.

That was the best kidnapping, I’ve ever seen. Go rebels!

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OMG! The Doctor pleased with himself by fooling the rebels and hiding in a Dalek shell is AMAZING!

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Ian, leaving a trail of thread is dumb. D-U-M dumb.

“Welcome to Zellers, a planet in the Morok empire, where the lowest price is the law.”

I love the interaction between the rebels and the Morok. It’s almost as if the Morok think they’re naughty boys but wish they were able to act like that.

Why would a museum with very little tourism (something they addressed) need soldiers?

“We hate the Moroks, we want them dead. You can see we’re nothing like them!” Yes, the Moroks wear white, we wear black. Night and day.

Tee hee hee, the rebels are wearing Converse.

“There are no tricks in science, only facts.”

These people get captured pretty quickly.

This is actually an interesting episode. They question whether destiny or our actions determine our future. The Doctor and his companions are able to find a way to change their predetermined future. The episode then ends with the Daleks saying, “Our greatest enemies have left the planet Zeros” and that they will pursue them through time and space.

Doctor Who Serial 013 – The Web Planet

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Synopsis: The TARDIS is trapped without power on a planet occupied by giant ants who make an annoying sound.

Stream of consciousness blog post for this serial.

Vicki seems to still be wearing the skin of a dead Muppet while reclining on her beach lounger.

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My favourite part is where Barbara decides to clean up in the TARDIS for The Doctor, I assume because she’s a woman.

My god, this story is boring.

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The vaseline on the lens to give the feeling of otherworldliness doesn’t work.

History doesn’t mean anything when you travel through space and time!” – The Doctor

Ugh! That quote is so horrible, especially after a historical story!

The sound effects of this story are TERRIBLE!

The Doctor miming to the giant ants is AMAZING!

That’s the end of episode two. Do I have to watch the rest? The sad thing is there’s nothing else to do here in icemageddon 2013.

My lord, it’s like they’ve never tried to keep anyone’s attention.

The crater of needles sounds like a drug den. I wonder if they’ll find Mayor Ford there. He’s obviously not managing this emergency.

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Come along, drop this hair dryer, or whatever it is!” – The Doctor…. BEST. LINE. EVER!

I don’t know what’s going on. I think they’re at Red Alert™, but I don’t remember Picard yelling it out, and I don’t see any reason why. However, it seems our buddy Ian is panicked.

I think the way to win this war is the classic Weird Al stratagem “Look up, look down, now look at Mr. Frying Pan.”

OH MY GOD! This story is so painful. The ants have necklaces they can barely hold which puts The Doctor in a a trance. For some odd reason the broken one doesn’t work on either Vicki or The Doctor, but it does on an ant?!?!

They’re talking, but nothing is happening. At least the four main characters are back together. That means it’ll be over soon.

Final episode. I can do this!

There is something weird about William Hartnell’s hair.

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Did they just shout “KAILI!”

“If we go up, we meet the blinding hard on.” I think I misheard that.

The sound designer on this story should be shot.

At least this episode with a giant insect was vaguely enjoyable… and only one part.

Vicki is proving herself to be terrible. Her acting is almost as bad as season 1 Deanna Troi.

Did they just kill the queen?!?!

YES! IT’S OVER!

The next story, The Crusade, is missing episodes two and four. We shall be skipping that for obvious reasons. Join me next time for Serial 15, The Space Museum. That probably won’t happen until 2014, though.

Doctor Who Story 012 – The Romans

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Synopsis: The crew are split up as The Doctor and Vicki are headed to Rome, while Ian and Barbara are sold into slavery.

At the end of The Rescue we had the TARDIS standing on a cliff and falling over. The Romans picks up a month later. This is the first time we see The Doctor and his companions just enjoying themselves and taking time off from danger and adventure. The Doctor and Vicki seem to want to run for some adventure, while Ian and Barbara want to lounge and enjoy themselves.

The Doctor will eventually return to the Roman Empire.

This episode is one of the best comedic episodes of Hartnell’s run. Barbara, The Doctor, and Vicki are all in the same house with Nero, except The Doctor and Vicki don’t know Barbara is there and vice-versa. They keep on comedically missing one another. In addition, the actor who plays Caesar Nero, Derek Francis. Francis’ comic timing is wonderful and makes for a great story.

Doctor Who Serial 011 – The Rescue

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Synopsis: An Earth space rocket from the 2490s is crashed on Dido. The only surviving crew are Vicki Pallister and the injured Bennett. They’re being terrorized by Koquillion (pictured above), or is it Coquitlam? One is an alien, one is a city in British Columbia.

This is the first story with our new buddy Vicki. Her equipment picks up the TARDIS in the distance, and she’s excited to think it’s the rescue ship. We learn that the ship is still three days away, and Koquillion is unaware of their intended visit to Dido.

This is the first time The Doctor has visited a planet before the series began. He refers to the people of Dido as a pleasant people but Koquillion has tried to kill Barbara and locked The Doctor and Ian in a cave.

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The Doctor and his crew are arrogant and sure they know right. They insist on rescuing Vicki and Bennett from Coquitlam, even after the warnings of danger and worry of jeopardizing their rescue. Here we see Vicki sobbing while wearing a dress inspired by the fashion of Kermit The Frog.

Vicki’s not going to be an easy one to take. If this story is any indicator, at least she won’t scream as much as Susan, but she’ll sob more.

The Doctor, however, is a condescending asshole.

Maureen O’Brien is 21, while Carol Ann Ford was 24 at the time. Ford looked 14 when she left the show as Susan, while O’Brien looked 18 when she started. Apparently Doctor Who likes girls who look younger than they are. Maybe Michael J. Fox from the 1980s should be the next companion.

OH MY GOD! THIS STORY HAS A SCOOBY-DOO ENDING!

Well… a Scooby-Doo episode with genocide.

We can travel anywhere and everywhere in that old box as you call it. Regardless of space and time.” – The Doctor tells Vicki

Doctor Who Story 010 – The Dalek Invasion of Earth

Dalek ship flies through the sky

Synopsis: The TARDIS lands in London. Barbara and Ian are excited to be home, but The Doctor is hesitant, he doesn’t think they’re in the 1960s. Instead they find themselves in the year 2164 and the Daleks have taken over.

This is the episode everyone had been waiting for, the return of the Daleks, but it’s kind of horrible. You have an Earth conquered by the Daleks, a Doctor Strangelove-esque scientist who creates a grenade to kill Daleks, which doesn’t seem to work, brainwashed humans under the control of Daleks, and so many ridiculous ideas.

This story is also a proof of how slowly a Doctor Who serial can move. This six episode story is painful to watch, especially the moments where Daleks are talking amongst themselves. I think that two Daleks conversing might be the worst means to provide motion for a story, it seems to come to a complete stop when they talk.

We seem to get introduced to a monster at the end of the fourth episode which serves no purpose other than a cliff hanger. The monster appears for a few minutes for suspense, and then is killed by Ian.

The third episode features a long scene of dramatic film inserts of Barbara, Dr. Strangelove, and a rebel woman running through the abandoned streets of London, and shots of Daleks patrolling those streets. It’s all set to a soundtrack of percussive music that makes me want to kill myself.

What you need is a jolly good smacked bottom.” The Doctor to Susan

Amongst all this is a love story between the rebel David and Susan. Susan seems to like him, but he seems indifferent to Susan. They talk about rebuilding Earth together after they defeat the Daleks. They have romantic walks in the sewers of London. They abandon an unconscious Doctor and go for a stroll. It’s really quite pukey.

This is the first time a companion leaves Doctor Who, but also the first time the companion is abandoned by The Doctor, a theme that would recur. From Sarah Jane Smith to Jamie McCrimmon to Donna Noble.

It’s hard to believe that The Doctor would leave his granddaughter and travelling companion to try to survive on her own in a post-apocalyptic world.

Dr. Constantine: Before this war began I was a father and a grandfather. Now I am neither. But still a doctor.
The Doctor: Yeah. I know the feeling. – Story 164, “The Empty Child”

Doctor Who Story 009 – Planet of Giants

Ah, thus we begin season two of Doctor Who. Our Doctor is still William Hartnell and his companions are Ian (William Russell), Barbara (Jacqueline Hill), and The Doctor’s granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford).

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Synopsis: An accident lands the TARDIS in England again, but this time, they’ve shrunk to be an inch tall.

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This has to be the worst episode ever. The drama of the story revolves around a murder over a pesticide, but because The Doctor and company are shrunk to tiny sizes they’re completely uninvolved in the story. Thus the viewer has no interest. Oh, and also the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids trope is well over played.

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Doctor Who Story 008 – The Reign of Terror

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May I first say, it’s ridiculous I have to add a leading double zero because Doctor Who has hundreds of stories?

“The Reign of Terror” is the final story of the first season. We’ve been through 42 episodes, broken down into 8 serials. Until “The Reign of Terror” we’ve only had seven missing episodes. Those seven episodes make up the entirety of “Marco Polo.” “The Reign of Terror” is missing two episodes (“The Tyrant of France” and “A Bargain of Necessity”).

When I was a kid, I would record episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on VHS, and then all other versions of Star Trek. It seems that British kids had a similar idea, and recorded episodes of Doctor Who with a reel to reel, capturing the audio. Also, there was no great way to create a demo reel if you work in television, so industry people would set up cameras to take shots of a TV every few seconds. Fans have combined the two together to create reconstructions.

If a story is incomplete and only available with reconstructions, I won’t be watching it. Most of the missing episodes are season three through six, but “Marco Polo” is available in this type of reconstruction, and I just find it SUPER BORING to watch those.

The BBC had a better idea, they commissioned an animation company to animate a few select episodes, and release those now complete stories on DVD. “The Reign of Terror” is the first (chronologically) of these animated episodes. They started with Troughton’s “The Invasion” and recently released Hartnell’s swan song “The Tenth Planet” with an animated final episode.

For the episodes that have been animated, I will watch them, hence the writing of this review.

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Synopsis: The Doctor and co. arrive in France during the Revolutionary War. They get taken prisoner.

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I don’t like the animation style, it’s as if they covered the cast in a layer of vaseline. It’s a Flash based animation where it’s slow moving an awkward. It just plainly doesn’t look very good. The audio quality varies throughout the episodes, and often it’s miserable. Oh well. At least it’s better than nothing.

The actual story is quite good. I don’t know a lot about the French Revolution, The Doctor never seems to visit Upper Canada, a history a know much better. Oh well. We have this story that seems to follow the structure of the revolution quite well, and puts our heroes and heroins into the middle of this historical time period.

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The characters are constantly being separated. They don’t know if their friends are living or dead. I’m not quite sure what side they’re fighting on. The republicans have gained power, and they’re fighting against it, but are they monarchists? I think the episode assumes a level of knowledge that I cannot bring to the story. I guess it’s a European-centric view that everyone knows their history, when I’m more interested in Canadian history.

Our destiny is in the stars, so let’s go and search for it.” – The Doctor

That wraps up season one. There was about a six week break between “The Reign of Terror” and the oh so horrible “Planet of Giants.” I won’t take that long, but I’m not looking forward to this upcoming three-part story.

Doctor Who Story 007 – The Sensorites

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Synopsis: The Doctor and his companions arrive on a spaceship to find a crew sleeping. They wake up to warn The Doctor to flee as soon as possible as the Sensorites are keeping them prisoner. The Doctor and his companions return to the TARDIS to find the locking and opening mechanism for the TARDIS has been removed. They can’t get in.

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This is one of the weirder ones; not because of the story. In 1997, a new TV channel launched called Space. They decided to show episodes of Doctor Who, and they started right from the beginning. They only showed complete serials, and they had the rights to air episodes from the beginning of series one through to the seventh. That means all of the remaining Hartnell and Patrick Troughton episodes and a handful of Jon Pertwee stories. I watched the episodes every morning before school. Space was so new, and running in the tradition of CityTV that they weren’t afraid to take risks, so they aired the episodes like they originally aired, with no commercials. They never renewed it so I was on my own to find more of Pertwee and the following Doctors.

What I don’t recall is ever seeing “The Sensorites.” I knew there would be stories I haven’t seen, but I thought the first would be the next story “The Reign Of Terror” which is missing two episodes and the BBC recently released it with animated episodes. So here I have a brand new story (to me), unfortunately it’s not the most compelling, and it’s six episodes long.

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The story quickly separates Barbara and Susan from Ian and The Doctor. They enter a part of the ship with a trapped crew member who has lost his mind. John is feared to harm the women, but in reality he tries to help them.

Why don’t you let these space people go back to their Earth?” – The Doctor

They encounter the Sensorites who are keeping the spaceship prisoner. They have encountered humans before. Discovered the humans had a desire to mine their planet, and left them in a state of disease. Basically, the Sensorites were facing what the First Nations faced 500 years ago. The creatures are supposed to be intimidating The Doctor and his companions, but they fail to convince the audience of this. This is where the First Nations argument falls apart. We only see the creatures as they are, timid and scared of the humans. We have no idea why they are like this at first, and we don’t understand why The Doctor is acting in such an aggressive manner.

Interestingly, Susan sees The Sensorites for what they are, but The Doctor shuts down her attempts to negotiate with the scared creatures. This is the first time we see Susan becoming a character more than screams. She’s willing to stand up for what she believes in, until a need to respect her (wrong) grandfather comes to the forefront, and makes her abandon her will. This could’ve been an interesting Susan to travel with; she could have given us what The Doctor would become, the saviour of the universe. Instead, the woman had to learn her place.

Ian finds The Sensorites’ class system to be disgusting, which is odd, coming from a British man in the ’60s.

They soon find out that The Sensorites have been dying since the humans departed. They are facing a disease that is slowly killing the Sensorite people. The Doctor earns the trust of the first elder, and the city administrator in turn decides that this is not acceptable; he plots to kill The Doctor.

The story gets better and better as it goes along, and it’s actually quite entertaining. I watched the last three episodes in one sitting, thus proving that it’s not as tedious as I was expecting earlier. We also have a brief description of Susan’s and The Doctor’s home planet. We’ll later learn it’s called Gallifrey, but this is the first mention of it.

At night the sky is a burned orange, and the leaves on the trees are bright silver.” – Susan

Doctor Who Story 006 – The Aztecs

Synopsis: After leaving the TARDIS, Barbara emerges from from the tomb of Yetaxa, a priest of the Aztec people. The Doctor, Ian, and Susan are mistaken for Yetaxa’s servants.

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This is second1 historical story. The original plan for Doctor Who was to have The Doctor finding themselves on alien worlds and in Earth’s past. This isn’t something that lasted longer than William Hartnell.

Pretty early on, the party discover that a human sacrifice is about to take place. Barbara refuses to allow it. In her words

If I could start the destruction of everything that’s evil here… then everything that is good would survive when Cortez lands.”

But The Doctor has a different point of view, one that doesn’t last through much of his travels…

You can’t rewrite history! Not one line!

Whether her simplistic outlook on human sacrifice or her simplistic outlook on the Aztec chance of survival if their culture were slightly modified is ridiculous, especially as it comes from a history teacher. I do have to remember, though, that she is British, and it is the ’60s. The British still have some belief in their defunct empire, and it fits that she would look down her nose on the Aztecs, and know what’s best for them.

However, she and her deception are going to be caught by Tlotoxl who is adamant that Barbara is not actually Yetaxa, but instead an impostor. In one of the most ridiculous moments in Doctor Who history, Tlotoxl breaks the fourth wall, stares into the camera, and tells the audience that he knows of their deception.

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While the regular cast of the show seem to be very comfortable with acting for a camera, the supporting cast in this story are very theatrical. They project large and they play to the back of the house. It creates a very different style of television, but it oddly works in this story due to the theme. Being an historical play, the characters take on this very Shakespearian style. I think it helps that the show was shot live to tape. As in, they rehearse for days, then record the episode pretty much in order and live. At the time, the director is in a booth switching cameras and editing live. I don’t think that these actors could make it on current Doctor Who where it is shot like a film.

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One of the more interesting aspects of this story is that it is the first time, and until the 2005 relaunch, the last time we see The Doctor with a love interest. One of the old ladies who is retired takes a liking to The Doctor and he to she.

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As someone who doesn’t know much about the Aztecs, I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of “The Aztecs.” Perhaps someone can in the comments. What I find interesting about this story is how well they weave education into the story. It’s truly and entertaining and fun story. Perhaps the best of the show, so far. In addition to its entertainment value, it shows a really good, and brief outline of Aztec culture.

  1. First surviving serial. []