Category Archives: season 2

The second season of Doctor Who, airing between 1964 and 1965, and starring William Hartnell as the Doctor. Not to be confused with “season 2” of the revived series in 2006.

The Time Meddler

New guy Steven snuck aboard the Tardis at the end of The Chase, so he’s now the second companion. He’s amusing, but he’s no Ian. He just doesn’t have that “Science Teacher With An Adventurous Spirit” thing going on. It’ll never be the same again. (Sad face.)

New bloke Steven is not impressed by the Doctor's helmet.

New bloke Steven is not impressed by the Doctor’s helmet.

Still, that now means the Doctor isn’t travelling with any present day (well, 60s present day) companions anymore – both Steven and Vicki are from the future.

The Meddling Monk tries to tamper with the Tardis.

The Meddling Monk tries to tamper with the Tardis.

Anyway, I enjoyed The Time Meddler. I did not expect it to be another Time Lord with his own Tardis, even though he’s never referred to us such. In fact, much of the Doctor’s back story (regarding his species and planet) is a mystery at this point.

The Monk's own Tardis undergoes an unfortunate transformation, leaving him stranded.

The Monk’s own Tardis undergoes an unfortunate transformation, leaving him stranded.

It was fun to see the other Tardis disguised as something else, referencing the Doctor’s “inferior” version, etc. The character of the meddler was enjoyable to watch, and the “what if” scenario of a time traveller breaking the rules was enjoyable. The 1066 setting allowed for a bit of history, and as the story didn’t rely on special effects or complex props, it has aged relatively well compared to something set on an alien world.

The Chase

It starts off fine, if a little silly. Time-travelling Daleks, giant octopodes, and Ian dancing around the Tardis to the Beatles – what’s not to love?

The Doctor's new time scanner picks up the Daleks. And the Beatles on Top of the Pops.

The Doctor’s new time scanner picks up the Daleks. And the Beatles on Top of the Pops.

Moving onto parts 3 and 4, we get an episode set on the Empire State Building in New York (complete with bad accents) and then on the Marie Celeste… fine, silly but fun.

Daleks board the Marie Celeste as they chase the Tardis through time and space.

Daleks board the Marie Celeste as they chase the Tardis through time and space.

But then there’s haunted house. Oh dear god WHAT?! This story definitely takes a turn for the weird. It was a theme park attraction? So, they were actors? But they were invulnerable to Dalek laser? What? WHAT?!!

Poor production, too. Cameraman shadows all over the set, audio cutting in too early.

And then robo-Doctor at the end, for some baffling reason played by a different actor even though he’s the only one in shot (and they’re saying he’s indistinguishable from the original). Wow.

A frankly bizarre turn of events in a haunted house. A low point for the series so far.

A frankly bizarre turn of events in a haunted house. A low point for the series so far.

But anyway, aside from the ridiculous haunted house episode, I thought ‘The Chase’ was pretty good, particularly the final part where the Daleks and the robo-spheres have a massive shootout and their whole city explodes. And then Ian and Barbara leave and go back to London. Sad times.

On the final planet of the Tardis’ escape (they land on a planet originally set for human colonisation), one of the robo-spheres’ captives is Steven, whose survey ship was damaged and couldn’t leave, and he’d been held captive by the robotic inhabitants for many years waiting to be rescued. When the robot city is destroyed, Steven escapes, lagging behind the Doctor, and sneaks aboard his Tardis shortly before it departs.

The planet Mechanus, where Steven is held captive. This place goes BOOM!

The planet Mechanus, where Steven is held captive. This place goes BOOM!

As Ian and Barbara depart, I will summarise and comment on their role.
I can’t talk about one without the other; they arrive together, they leave together. Both Susan’s teachers at school, Ian is probably the best character so far; he handles the serious and the silly perfectly. His natural curiosity as a teacher of science lends itself well to the stories, and he manages to tackle the physical roles too. Barbara is similar, and she plays off of Ian and Susan very well, but she doesn’t get many good roles or chances to shine. She is briefly an Aztec goddess, which is about the most she gets to work with. She’s the sympathetic voice, kind and caring, but can handle herself well too.

They end up back in 1960s London, luckily! At the end of The Chase, they convince (eventually) the Doctor to rig up the Daleks’ time machine to send them back home. It’s the only chance they’ve had, since the Tardis could not be so accurately controlled. They arrive back in present day, the time machine self destructs, and they presumably get back to their normal lives… although not before a delightfully silly montage of snapshots of them both touring around the sights of London.

The Space Museum

A serial in four parts, the first of which is quite a cool creepy sci-fi thing with a “timey-wimey” time travel twist. Starts pretty well. Slow, but mysterious.

The Doctor and co see themselves turned into museum attractions, having jumped a time track into the future.

The Doctor and co see themselves turned into museum attractions, having jumped a time track into the future.

After that, it becomes a more standard fare, with our heroes trying to figure out how to escape their fate of becoming museum attractions. They touch upon the futility of escaping a fate they’ve already witnessed, how choice is pointless without knowledge (something the Matrix sequels went on about in a more bloated and wordy fashion) and it all ends rather anti-climactly with the planet’s original inhabitants (with really silly eyebrows) launching a coup and taking over the place with ray guns that make screaming sounds.

The Doctor is captured, interrogated and even tortured for a while.

The Doctor is captured, interrogated and even tortured for a while.

Fashion disasters aside, it was reasonably entertaining, and ends with a teaser clip of the Dalek story coming next…

The Crusade

Parts 2 and 4 reconstructed. The glacial pacing and melodrama make for some hard watching sometimes. This is just yet another “Doctor meets famous person from history” story (Richard the Lionheart this time), nothing especially interesting and a bit formulaic now.

Barbara is captured. Again.

Barbara is captured. Again.

Really, there’s little more to say about this one. It was very, very dull.

I have noticed the Doctor is getting more and more giggly with each passing story. I shall call him the Chuckling Doctor from now on – quite a change from his first appearance when he was a grumpy old man smacking cavemen over the head with rocks.

The Doctor meets Richard the Lionheart.

The Doctor meets Richard the Lionheart.

I am getting slightly irritated by his constantly adding “hmm?” to the end of every single sentence. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of his acting, but I’ve still got another ‘season’ before his first regeneration happens, so… hanging in there and hoping for some better stories soon.

The Web Planet

The Doctor and co are stuck on a really fake-looking planet of really fake-looking insect people for six episodes and it’s frightfully dull.

The giant ant-like Zarbi roam the surface of the planet. That background is totally not painted on. Nope.

The giant ant-like Zarbi roam the surface of the planet. That background is totally not painted on. Nope.

Not great. I couldn’t take it seriously. The costumes looked like kids’ pyjamas, the set was badly shot and you could just hear the constant creaking of the stage boards and the hollow ant suits hitting things.

"Let's bee friends."

“Let’s bee friends.”

It was ambitious, I’ll grant. A whole planet of giant insects, a war between the new ant-like occupants and the original bee-like inhabitants (who can fly). But goodness me, did it drag on.

The Optera, underground insect people, evolved differently from the bee people due to living underground.

The Optera, underground insect people, evolved differently from the bee people due to living underground.

No interesting characters outside of the main cast, since they’re either mute or speak in drawn out alienese, which is just dull to watch. I did like the glow effect whenever they were on the surface, and the distinctive electronic noises the Zarbi made.

The Romans

This is four episodes set in ancient Rome, unsurprisingly. As per the norm, a light-hearted holiday turns into a fight for their lives, as Barbara and Ian get captured and made into slaves. By astonishing luck, the Doctor and new girl Vicki just happen to be heading to Rome (well, all roads lead there – it’s the name of part 2) and both groups manage to get themselves out of trouble again without actually running into each other.

Any excuse for fancy dress.

Any excuse for fancy dress.

Seriously, Barbara becomes a servant to the Caesar where the Doctor is pretending to be his new musician, Ian rescues her without the Doctor or Vicki seeing either of them, and they all escape separately! The Doctor even gets into some fisticuffs this time, although his half of the adventure is rather more light-hearted on the whole. I lost count of the number of times he laughed hysterically in this story. Every other line seemed filled with giggles.

"Do you know Freebird?"

“Do you know Freebird?”

Oh, then he gives Nero the idea to burn down Rome.

Overall, a weirdly mixed tone, more jovial than normal, but a fun romp.

The Rescue

The Hartnell era continues with ‘The Rescue’, a two-parter about a crashed Earth spaceship on an alien planet, but all is not as it seems!

The crashed Earth ship on planet Dido.

The crashed Earth ship on planet Dido.

I rather enjoyed this one, I must say. Keeping it to two parts meant it was tight and to the point, didn’t overreach itself or drag on, and had a good twist at the end, when a terrorising alien threat is not what it appears to be.

The alien Koquillion regularly threatens the two surviving crew members.

The alien Koquillion regularly threatens the two surviving crew members.

They also pick up a new sidekick, Vicki, who is basically Susan’s replacement, but not annoying.

Vicki calls for help from nearby rescue ships.

Vicki calls for help from nearby rescue ships.

Vicki was an orphan prior to joining the crew of the ship that crashed, and she leaves on adventures with the Doctor because she has nothing to stay behind for.