Tuesday 3 February 2015

The Great Doctor Who Poll 2014 - Musing & Moaning - Part Two

Well.. Part One ended up being substantially longer than I bargained for! If you managed to make it through the entire post, you deserve a medal! Sometimes, when the words start flowing, all one can do is embrace them, rattle them off, and hope to high heaven they make sense. I enjoyed wading through the various segments of the poll, covered in part one, and expressing my thoughts on the results. Some have already, and very kindly, commented on Twitter. Some in complete agreement, others disagreeing with some of my comments. And that's great! The fact they are provoking thoughts or inviting commentary is immensely satisfying. There is a comment section on the blog, and I welcome any and all comments, positive or negative. I'm certainly interested in hearing the parts with which you disagree. I love hearing other people's opinions, particularly when they clash with my own. It makes for good, lively debate. Usually! Sometimes it descends into madness, or even rudeness. You'll get none of that nonsense from me. Your opinion is every bit as valid as mine, or anyone else's. There are no "right or wrong" results in a poll. Only opinions. I welcome yours!

And so we come to the second part of the poll, commencing, quite naturally, smack bang in the middle. After all, I started at the last category and worked up!

Episode rankings (classic series only). Taking its rightful place AS THE SUPREME POWER OF THE UNI... Poll, we have, unsurprisingly 'Genesis of the Daleks'. Quite right too! I've seen it displaced in polls, on occasion, by the second placed story, 'Caves of Androzani'. Something I take issue with. In fact, I take issue with 'Androzani' taking second place. Don't misunderstand me; I think it's a bloody good story. Well paced with Davison acting his arse off. But, would I rank it above 'Seeds of Doom' which failed to make the top ten, placing at 13, or above 'Pyramids of Mars', which did manage a very respectable fifth place. The answer, in respect of both stories is a resounding NO. I'd probably have 'Androzani' somewhere in my top 20 (which gives me an idea for another blog post *strokes imaginary beard in Pertwee-esque syle*)..

I'm pleased to 'Rememberance of the Daleks' fare so well, at a very strong sixth position. It's an action packed story, arguably McCoy's finest. I can't really disagree with the placings of other stories in the top 20. It's a positive joy to see 'Power of the Daleks' ranked so highly. For a story missing in its entirety, save for a few snippets, it is much respected (and much desired). That fans have clearly taken the time to read the book, or listen to the audio adaptations, of which two exist, with different narrators. If you aren't amongst those who have, you should be. You'll thank yourself for doing so. Aside from its obvious status as the first post regenerative story, it is also exceptionally good.

I have to confess a real disappointment that the Pertwee stories seemed to fare less well. Only two managed to make the top 20, namely 'Inferno' and 'Spearhead from Space'. Both deserve their high ranking, but that stories such as 'The Daemons' and 'The Green Death' just miss making the top 20 is a pity. Much more disappointing, on a personal level, is 'Ambassdors of Death' which ranked at 58. Really? Only 58? Bettered by stories such as 'Kinda', 'Stones of Blood' or 'The Keeper of Traken'? There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those stories, however I question their place above 'Ambassadors', which I consider to be one the finest stories ever. This will, I have no doubt, provoke disagreement. It is, undoubtedly, long, protracted, but it works. And it works bloody well.

Again, Colin Baker doesn't fare terribly well, with his first entry at 42 with 'Revelation of the Daleks'. Perhaps, however it is unsurprising, as his screened stories are weak when compared to other Doctors. As mentioned in part one of this analysis, he is served much better courtesy of Big Finish. In fact, I'd posit that if a poll were conductedp, ranking all of the Big Finish audios, Baker would do incredibly well. 'Vengeance on Varos', which I, and quite a few others, consider a pretty strong story, manages to rank at a rather paltry 83.

A story which fares much better than I anticipated (or than it deserves, in my opinion!) is 'Greatest Show in the Galaxy'. I have to confess, I've never understood the appeal of this story. I don't hate it, but it would certainly place considerably lower than 65 on MY list (*scratches imaginary beard again*).

Moving down the poll, there isn't much to irritate me until we reach no 84. In a piddling pathetic 84 resides 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs'. I KNOW the dinosaurs look shit, I KNOW the Pterodactyl looks like someone plucked the feathers out of Rod Hull's "Emu", rammed a brush up its arse and waved it about in an attempt to make it threatening. And I don't give a damn. It's a bloody good story. Top 20 material, for this fan. I love everything about it (yes, even the effects!). Fake spaceships, an empty London, UNIT, a traitor, Sarah Jane Smith.. What's not to love? I know all these stories are subjective, but 'IOTD' in 84th place.. It irks me!

The placing of 'Battlefield' at 100 is surprising. I had always understood it to be well liked. I certainly enjoy it, if, for no other reason, it has Winifred Bambera, a character I wish we had seen a great deal more of. Like 'Remeberance', it dared to poke into 'racism' territory, with Morgaine's mind games evoking a racial epithet from 'Ace'.

At 136, I find another story I have come to love. 'Monsters of Peladon' is better than its predecessor, 'Curse'. There. I said it. Sue me! Why is it better, particularly when the majority of the cast seem to be sporting a collection of blow-dried badgers on their heads? I have no idea, is the boring, but brutally honest answer. I just happen to prefer it.

The bottom of the list makes for interesting reading. I find it hard to disagree with much of it, although I do confess a certain fondest for Timelash, which narrowly avoided the bottom spot. I'm also rather fond of Time-Flight, or at least, the concept. It does, I have to admit, go rather bonkers when 'Kaleed' is revealed as The Master. I am, however disappointed to see Colin Baker firmly in bottom place again. Yes, 'Twin Dilemma' is bloody awful. No dodging it. It's crap. Or "cwap"..

But, I'll take 'Twin Dilemma' over the interminably dull 'Dominators' (placed at 150) any day of the week, thank you very much! Squeezing just ahead of 'Twin Dilemma', 'Time and the Rani' manages to take position 155. I can't really say I'm surprised. It isn't a good story, by any stretch of the imagination. But. And here, we come to the conclusion of my analysis of this poll segment. It, and every fucking story listed is better than 'Paradise Towers', which, polled at 147. 'Paradise Towers' is, I believe, the worst classic era story ever. Period. I would have ranked it as the worst story ever, including the Big Finish range, novels, comic strips, New Series, fan written garbage by an illiterate eight year old with the imagination of a small chimpanzee.. But, along came 'In The Forest of the Night'. 'Paradise Towers' is saved from my bottom spot, solely by that steaming, fetid, worthless, scientifically insane, preachy, pointless heap of rotting dung.

That concludes the 'Classic Only' segment of the poll. One or two surprises, but nothing dramatic. With a little shuffling here and there, the elevation of several Pertwee stories, and the throwing out of the window of every dvd copy of 'Paradise Towers' in existence, I am, reasonably content. How 'bout you?

I'm going to continue, briefly, with a cursory look at 'Overall Season/Series' ranking. Largely because it's repetitive of the individual analyses of the two, segregated categories. Pleasingly, Season 7 (Classic) retains top position, which given the lack of enthusiasm for 'Ambassdors' is a testament to the other three stories featured in that season. Likewise, Season 26 places well at no 6. Again, perhaps, due to the quality of 'Curse of Fenric' and 'Ghostlight'.

Series 4 (New) holds a very strong 7th place, though whether I would personally rank it higher than Pertwee's final season (11), which ranked at 18th place, is questionable. That Series 7 (New) is so highly ranked, beating the very first, classic, season of Doctor Who is a mystery. I believe Season One to be considerably stronger than it is given credit for. From 'An Unearthly Child' to the first appearance of the Daleks; the much desired, and sadly missing 'Marco Polo', and two epic, varied stories, 'The Keys of Marinus' and 'The Sensorites', it's place at 19th is disappointing, to say the least.

Unsurprisingly, bottom place goes to the much detested Season 24. Containing 'Paradise Towers' it is bloody well worthy of bottom spot! Disappointingly, once again, Colin Baker fares badly, with Season 23 managing position 33, staved off only by the aforementioned Season 24. I neither know the general consensus surrounding 'Trial of a TimeLord'. Nor do I care. I have never been one for sticking with convention, so I would, personally, rank it somewhat higher. The concept of the season works well, the individual stories are decent enough, and the courtroom scenes alone make the season worthy of a much higher place than second to last.

So, there we are. In the next post, I'll take a look at "the biggie". Until then,congratulations, if you made it all the way through the thoughts that have spewed forth from my tiny brain. Comments are, as always, most welcome!

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