The Tardis appears to land in the English countryside, as the Doctor is mad at Ian and Barbara, and wants to return them to their own time. It turns out they are in the France of Robespierre, and indeed we meet both Robespierre and Napoleon during this adventure, and the drama focuses on intrigue and escape (usually from prison cells, but also from the guillotine). Not bad, with some diverse acting and characters.
Here the crew land on a spaceship and think everyone is dead. It turns out they’re not, they’ve been incapacitated, and keep getting incapacitated whenever they try to leave orbit of the planet they’re close to, called The Sense-Sphere. It turns out the inhabitants of this planet, the Sensorites, are afraid because previous humans discovered their planet had huge deposits of molybdenum, and were planning to mine out the planet. However, the Sensorites have psychic abilities and could read their minds. What then follows is a convoluted, unfocussed tale of tribal politics, hidden humans trying to poison the water supply as they imagine themselves at war with the Sensorites, and assorted shennanegins on the spaceship and the planet. It’s a little plodding, and the plot is all over the place, but there’s a really good performance by an actor called Stephen Dartnell (playing ‘John’) who has to convey both terror and confusion as his mind has been turned by the Sensorites. Probably one for the completists.
Some nice touches in this one, with the Doctor and companions landing right in the middle of the Aztec civilization. Barbara gets taken for a reincarnation of a revered high preistess, and starts to declare human sacrifice is unpleasing for the gods. There are power struggles, and the Doctor insisting you cannot and should not interfere with history, and reasonably good set design for such a stagebound, low-budget production, and the lead characters are mostly fine, though some are quite wooden. I also like the part where the Doctor inadvertently gets engaged when he shares drinking cocoa with a woman taken with him, and he indeed feels affection and admiration for her. The final shots in the Aztec kingdom have him put a gift from her down just outside the Tardis, but then pocketing it at the last second before going into the Tardis and leaving.
Rather good story where the Doctor and his companions land on the world Marinus, where a supercomputer once ran everything, but went wrong and was shut down. A scientist has fixed it, but needs the assistance of the visitors to secure 5 keys to start the machine. What follows is a set of contained separate stories as the visitors traverse the world to collect the disks. These range from very good to good, each story holds up quite well – though there’s some weak scenes and the final two episodes are a little overextended, centring on a murder mystery. My favourite is the first substory – where brains in glass jars have mental control over the humanoids in their city, making the visitors think they are in paradise when they are in fact in rundown shabby rooms, until Barbara suddenly sees through it.
In episode 22, Mark and Sam talk about Dr Who, the terrible movie Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hears Club Band, Skyrim, and then their top 5 movie antagonists, and the movie Star Trek 3 – The Search For Spock