I ended up skipping last night, but I now continue today at 9:30 AM PST with The Deadly Assassin (episodic version.) Our first real look at the world of the Time Lords finds the Doctor being set up for the assassination of the outgoing president of the high council. Of course it’s not just that, but also the ultimate showdown with the Master – and Gallifrey will never be the same again! Nice moody sets, with the world in the matrix wonderfully realized, and the music fits perfectly. The disfigured Master mask is a little ill fitting, but that’s really my only complaint. Good to see Bernard Horsefall again. 4/5.
11:15 PM PST The Face of Evil (episodic version.) The second time that something the Doctor’s done that’s come to bite him back (the first being the Metabelis crystal, though the seventh Doctor would be full of them…) and this one’s a doosey. At some point the fourth Doctor left his personality in a super computer, and now it’s gone mad. The mystification of technology into religion is a nifty approach, and Chris Boucher’s debut is written superbly. Most of the effects of well done (though I don’t like the blaster rays, but they always tend to look silly…) especially impressive is the “inside” of Xoannon. Great introduction for Leela as the new companion. 4/5.
1:20 PM PST Robots of Death (episodic version.) Along with Ark in Space I had wondered why this was one of the first Tom Baker DVD’s, but not having watched it in a long time I can now see why. It’s a good story (the second in a row for Chris Boucher) and is your basic mystery where everyone has possible motive and where no one would be willing to accept the truth. The art deco style is a little bit out there, but gives a different look to this story. 4/5.
I’m skipping Talons of Weng-Chiang, because I’ve seen the DVD of it recently (well, about 6 months ago…) Definitely lived up to my memories of it, and on DVD it looks better than ever. It would have been a perfect match for the stories of series 13, but provides a great “swan song” for the Hinchcliffe/Holmes years of the series. It’s length is not a hindrance, and the design is excellent (well, the BBC does period pieces extremely well.) Also had the possibility of setting up a Jago/Litefoot spin-off, but that was not to be… 5/5.
Taking a break for now, but will return with the start of series 15 (the Williams years begin…)