6th Doctor – Colin Baker (1985-1986)

Colin Baker (1985-1986)

Colin Baker (1985-1986)

Possibly one of the most difficult Doctors to love, when Colin Baker took over the role, his Doctor had extreme and manic behavior, which was written with the explanation that it was caused by his regeneration.

Despite this, Colin Baker brought back some of the arrogance of the early Doctors and had a very strong, showy performance. He had a short run as the Doctor, and his arcs contained some of the darkest themes of the show to date, yet he handled them splendidly.

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Best Companion: Melanie Bush                      Worst Companion: Peri Brown

Melanie Bush

Melanie Bush

Peri Brown

Peri Brown

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BEST EPISODES (STORY ARCS):

Vengeance on Varos

Vengeance on Varos

NUMBER #1

Vengeance on Varos (#138)

Why it’s the best: Have I mentioned I like dystopian stories? Well, let me mention it again, anyhow. Vengeance on Varos is one of the darkest stories in the Doctor Who history and one of it’s greatest (possibly THE greatest) dystopian stories. In a future colony planet on Varos, the planet is reliant on the people to vote on every decision, which makes voting about doing what is popular not about what is right. There are also games played for ratings with prisoners that depend on how the prisoners are going to be punished or executed based on what is going to get the most audience approval. The Doctor and Peri turn up here and quickly become embroiled in the local politics and end up on the television show . With some really violent moments and some great traps and challenges, this story really amps up the excitement on the 6th Doctor. This is a very socially aware story and one of the finest political commentaries on socialism and democracy of the series.

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Revelation of the Daleks

Revelation of the Daleks

NUMBER #2

Revelation of the Daleks (#142)

Why it’s the best: Set on a planet that is essentially just a funeral home, the Doctor and Peri arrive at the funeral home for the supposed service of one of the Doctor’s old friends, but discover that the place is being controlled by someone with some very dark intentions for the recently deceased and is doing some disturbing experiments, with some of the creepiest visuals of the series and an intricate plot filled with conspiracies and betrayals amongst characters galore, this is one of the greatest of Dalek stories, and one of the more bizarre stories. (Let’s not forget it also has a DJ that plays classic Rock from the 50s and 60s and dresses to match it – for the deceased.) It is also one of the most creative in plot as well. A very crazy and terrific story. 

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The Two Doctors

The Two Doctors

NUMBER #3

The Two Doctors (#140)

Why it’s the best: Another story that brings the current Doctor into a story that crosses timelines with the 2nd Doctor, this was actually a really fun story. Bringing the 2nd Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon into any story automatically improves it, but this one was quite good in its own right. When the 2nd Doctor is sent on behalf of the Time Lords to stop a scientists time experiments, he takes the Doctor captive and escapes with his genetically altered Androgum to Earth in 20th century Andalucia, Spain. The setting, the story, Sontarans, and two Doctors all contribute to make this a really great story arc, but what sets it a cut above is the supporting performance of John Stratton as Shockeye, a particularly bloodthirsty Androgum chef who is equal parts scary and humorous. Like much of the rest of the 6th Doctor’s stories, this one is particularly dark, but certainly one of the best. 

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Timelash

Timelash

NUMBER #4

Timelash (#141)

Why it’s the best: One of the things that is intimidating for  viewers of Doctor Who (and this is  particularly true of the classic series) is that the costumes and effects often appear very cheap or poor, and the stories are so intricately woven that the casual viewer coming across a story would feel disoriented in trying to understand what is happening. What is great about Timelash, however, is it has really terrific sets and costume designs that would probably actually appeal to new viewers. This is one of the best episodes of the classic series for set, costume, and makeup design, and that goes a long way with me.  It also has a very solid story set in the future, with a character who falls through time back to Earth in the 19th century and bumps  into H.G. Wells, who then gets wrapped up in the plot with the Doctor. Not a perfect or completely original plot, but definitely one of the 6th Doctor’s best.

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Mark of the Rani

Mark of the Rani

NUMBER #5

Mark of the Rani (#139)

Why it’s the best: Turning up in 19th century England with Peri to investigate a time distortion, the Doctor encounters a new character that is one of the more fascinating of the series. Her name is the Rani, and she is a Time Lady who has been exiled by the Time Lords due to scientific experimentation she has done, that the Time Lords found ethically objectionable. As the Doctor faces off against the Master once more, the Rani becomes an unwilling accomplice in their feud and provides an interesting perspective on their relationship. This is another great episode for showing the complexities of the Time Lords and the Rani is terrific. {She returns in Time and the Rani (#144) for another fantastic performance.} All around one of the strongest stories for the 6th Doctor.

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WORST EPISODE (STORY ARC):

The Twin Dilemma (#136)

Why it’s the worst: The 6th Doctor got off to a very bumpy start, and that is putting it mildly. This episode could be considered the definitive episode where the show seriously started to decline. Colin Baker was a very stagey actor. He had a tendency to play the Doctor with lots of stage flourish and bombast, and in this particular story arc, he is borderline manic in his performance. He turns from one emotional extreme to another in the blink of an eye. (Indeed see him attempting to strangle Peri in the  scene below.) No Time Lord transformation prior to it could prepare us for this, and there has not been one so bad since,  {until River Song in Let’s Kill Hitler (#219), although this episode does somewhat explain her behavior in that, if it does not excuse it.} As if that was not bad enough, Peri Brown takes two steps back in this episode. She was already a weak character, but then she stays with the Doctor here…why exactly? HE IS TRYING TO STRANGLE YOU. There is no logical explanation for her behavior in this episode and she has about as much emotion as a tuna fish sandwich. The character was always pretty poor, but this is one of her absolute worst performances. Add to that some weird plot line involving genius twins being kidnapped for their mathematical skills by an alien species of slugs (yes, slugs) and you have an arc that is competing for the worst Doctor Who episode of all time, not just the sixth Doctor. Honestly, I cannot find one redeeming thing about this episode. Take my advice here. Skip it.

Twin Dilemma

Twin Dilemma

One comment on “6th Doctor – Colin Baker (1985-1986)

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