Category: Gabriel Morton versus Doctor Who

I don’t write these any more because it’s a dumb idea to pick two 30+ year long shows to write about at once.

The Sensorites

The Sensorites

Science fiction is a lovely genre because it can wrap great moral questions and challenges to social order up in stories about fuzzy, telepathic scrotum men. The Sensorites, named after said scrotum men, is a largely well meaning,  archetypal sci-fi story, burdened by counterproductive minor conflicts and plot points. There’s something about Doctor Who, outside of it’s more standard 4 part structure, that always seems to have either too much story or not enough. This isn’t to say the 4 parters were all well paced gold, but the series has the nearly unique habit of rushing things when there’s not many episodes (or the modern single), and then dragging heavily when there’s more. So many other programs, particularly in the modern era, hit a basic but effective formula that fits the 45 or so minutes they have to work with but Doctor Who regularly strays one side or the other. The Sensorites is one of those others. It’s split into two main parts, half on a ship and half on the planet of Sense Sphere, and while each could have complimented the other, the writer almost willfully avoids this.

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The Aztecs

The Aztecs

The Aztecs is a great example of a lost form of Doctor Who story, the purely historical. The last one to ever be broadcast was season 19’s Black Orchid and the one prior to that was season 4’s The Highlanders. All other stories set in known human historical periods have all had some other sci-fi element like an alien piss-farting about where it shouldn’t be. There’s a good reason for this abandoning of one of the show’s core educational directions and The Aztecs highlights this well. This is not to say that the story itself is bad. The Aztecs is actually one of the highlights of the first season, featuring a well realized setting, understandable and almost sympathetic villain, great character moments, and even some historical accuracy.

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Delete. Delete. Delete.

Delete. Delete. Delete.

So here’s the thing about Doctor Who, only old people can say they’ve watched all of it. These people have to be in their mid 60s now. No, you can’t have been a baby sat in front of a TV. You were a cannellini bean with a face on it who remembers nothing, shut up. Only old people can say they’ve watched it all because large chunks of the series are missing. Ten whole stories are gone, and a total of 97 missing episodes means there are 26 stories affected between seasons 1 – 6. Season 4 is the worst hit, with only ten episodes surviving across a series of 43, meaning things like the Second Doctor’s first story Power of the Daleks and companion Jamie McCrimmon’s first story The Highlanders are missing in their entirety. These are brutal losses to the canon of the show and an incredibly frustrating part of being a Doctor Who fan.

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The Mutants

The Mutants

I’m going with the classic title here as I think it fits the episode better and I sorta prefer when the title retains a bit of mystery. There’s enough Occurrence of the Daleks titles that I will argue the original should always be referred to as The Mutants. It’s a better story than I remember, could probably stand to be an episode shorter but otherwise there’s a solid logical flow of events until the end and some reasonable discussion of pacifism in the face of irrational killers.

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An Unearthly Child

An Unearthly Child

It’s the 22nd of November, 1963 and President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, removing the final obstruction to the BBC launching a subversive fictionalised science programme designed to bring about the pansexual, socialist utopia. Doctor Who, started when my dad was 7 and cancelled when I was 6, has delighted viewers, listeners and readers for 54 of your Earth years. Given how it is going now, this could very well continue for another 50. Doctor Who has a combined run time of February, and a big chunk of that is material a large portion of the modern viewership has not seen given that they were either not alive for the original run or old enough to watch it on VHS during its 16 year hiatus. This has created a gap in the fan community, between those who have seen all the old lore and the modern, or Nu-Who, fans. There’s a cohort of Nu-Who fans who operate under the impression that a decade long glimpse into the 54 year canonical clusterfuck that is Doctor Who gives them some level of authority upon which to speak. A full Cyber-Conversion wouldn’t give these shrieking cretins the logical capacity to fix that error. The rest are simply a bit daunted by the idea of catching up.

GOOD NEWS! I’m here to do it for you.

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