Doctor Who: The Two Doctors (Story 141)
Oh, what the hell. I do have one VHS tape for sale, so it's semi-relevant to this blog. Also, I don't read much.
A little backstory: I really liked the 2005 version of Doctor Who when I finally got into it. So much so, I decided to start at the beginning (1963) and watch the classic series in chronological order to its cancellation in 1989, and the one-off TV movie in 1996. Including the new series, currently going into its seventh year, it all adds up to over 294 hours of surviving serials.
It's the Appalachian Trail of marathon television-watching.
Someone suggested that I blog about the project, but it doesn't meet my blogability threshold. I can't imagine the details of my little journey being interesting to anyone else but me. I have, though, compiled a spreadsheet breaking down every episode's status and running time, with pictures of each character indicating their first appearance.
So this is a random sampling, but I found "The Two Doctors" a fascinating gem in the wasteland of 80's Doctor Who. It brings back the great lost second Doctor, Patrick Troughton (most of the original tapes of his episodes were tragically recycled in the 70's). And he brings along Jamie McCrimmon, one of my favorite early companions and favorite doppelgangers, for that matter.
The sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, gets a bad rap. He was only on for two seasons, and in his first two serials has some "regeneration issues" giving him an absurdly manic-depressive personality. He was also saddled with my
least-favorite companion, Peri. She spent her first outing in a bikini being ogled by the camera and bleating in a wandering American accent that makes her sound like an ersatz Judy Garland in the uncanny valley.
I don't blame Baker, he had to work with what he was given, and at the center of the black hole of Doctor Who in the eighties is the bane of my existence for the last month, John Nathan-Turner. He announced his arrival on the scene by ruining the opening and closing sequences (the latter ends with the screen going white in an enormous cringe-inducing explosion), and gave us nearly a decade of companions that spend most of their screen time complaining.
After several false starts that represent some of the least watchable episodes of the series, Baker finally finds his stride as a serious-minded but self-centered genius, and he more or less maintains the persona for the remainder of his two short seasons before regenerating into the seventh and final Doctor of the original series.
"The Two Doctors" is all over the place. The bad guys in this outing are the Androgons, a society of advanced Epicurians. The muscle of the Androgon faction is Shockeye, a creepily-gluttonous monster, an intergalactic foodie fixated on tasting human flesh. Troughton's Doctor gets his DNA mixed up with Shockeye's, resulting in a pair of ravenous culinary aesthetes on a quest to sample Earth's finest delicacies, resulting in the following exchange:
Shockeye: "Do you serve humans in this establishment?"
Waiter: "I believe 100% of our clientele is human, sir"
Shockeye: "Human MEAT, you sniveling imbecile!"
Perhaps it was the relief of a surprisingly watchable episode after Baker's first few miserable episodes (again, not his fault), but I actually enjoyed "The Two Doctors." It was funny and weird, but most of all, I was actually able to pay attention to almost all of it.
P.S.- Real Time Lords shop at Time Lords Vintage