7th Doctor – Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989)

Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989)

Sylvester McCoy (1987-1989)

Sylvester McCoy brought a lot of the careless humor back with his turn as the Doctor, and so much of his performance was physical as well.  Much as Patrick Troughton before him, Sylvester McCoy befuddled his adversaries with his seeming incompetence, and yet his mind was razor sharp.

He also had a short run as the Doctor, and his story arcs were some of the most bizarre and frequently the weakest of the series, but yet his performance rates amongst some of the best.

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                    Best Companion: Ace                                Worst Companion: Melanie Bush

Ace

Ace

Melanie Bush

Melanie Bush

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BEST EPISODES (STORY ARCS):

Happiness Patrol

Happiness Patrol

NUMBER #1

Happiness Patrol (#149)

Why it’s the best: It’s likely there will be some dissent on this one. Another dystopian future world, this one is set in a place that is dark and dreary like a 1930s film noir, but that is ruled and regulated by The Happiness Patrol, insisting on regulation that forces the men to look like clowns, the women to look like overloaded Barbie dolls, and everyone to “be happy” or suffer the consequences, this is truly a frightening place. Add to that The Kandy Man, (pictured) who is some sort of living candy made creation that has a very disturbing idea of executing punishments for offenses and it becomes one of the oddest and creepiest stories of the series.  Some people might find it too silly or strange, but for me it really works and is a very fun adventure.

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Battlefield

Battlefield

NUMBER #2

Battlefield (#152)

Why it’s the best: The Doctor is Merlin in some parallel universe? Yes, please! As characters from Arthurian legend descend upon Earth and use it for the setting of a modern battle between Morgana and Arthur’s forces, with the Doctor as Merlin, although he has no memory of being Merlin (a hazard of time travel, things do not always happen in the right order), we get one of the most enjoyable, well acted, and funniest stories of the seventh Doctor’s time. As an added bonus,  actress Jean Marsh returns to the series, {first portraying Sara Kingdom in The Daleks Master Plan (#21) with the first Doctor} this time as Morgana, and faces off against Nicholas Courtney reprising his role as Brigadier Allistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart {Nicholas Courtney originally portrayed Sara Kingdom’s brother, Bret Vyon, alongside Jean Marsh in The Daleks Master Plan, as well.} Have I mentioned that every story arc is better if it has the Brigadier in it? Yes? Well, let me say it again, anyhow: Every story arc is better with Nicholas Courtney in it, every single one, so this one automatically gets bumped up by his presence. A truly fun adventure and certainly one of the best from the seventh Doctor.

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NUMBER #3

The Curse of Fenric

The Curse of Fenric

The Curse of Fenric (#154)

Why it’s the best: Set with a backdrop of WWII, The Doctor and Ace investigate a machine for decoding message, that seems according to its creator can decode any message. An ancient text found in a church is examined by the machine and the Doctor is worried by the implications of the ancient writing.  Then there are the Soviet soldiers who have landed outside the English base camp who have seen a being from an old Welsh legend and this story starts to get slightly more complicated. This is a great story that has some pertinent revelations about Ace and the setting and themes all contribute to make this one of the best, more mature and focused than some of the other stories during the seventh Doctor’s run. This is one that is creepy, dramatic, and memorable.

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Remembrance of the Daleks

Remembrance of the Daleks

NUMBER #4

Remembrance of the Daleks (#148)

Why it’s the best: Set in a time prior to the Doctor’s first arrival in 1960s London, this story uses the city as a back drop for a battle between warring divergent factions of Daleks. What is terrific about it though is the characters the Doctor encounters are very reminiscent of some of his UNIT companions from his time with it during the 60s, indeed he keeps referring to people by the wrong names, a throw back to that earlier time, but unfortunately these characters are not quite of the caliber he was once used to dealing with. This is an explosion extravaganza episode as well (Michael Bay like almost) and it is fun to see the Dalek war zone that is created. Finally, Ace really steps up in this story and proves her value as well as her scruples when she falls for a less than worthy guy.  All this make this story one of the best.

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Dragonfire

Dragonfire

NUMBER #5

Dragonfire (#147)

Why it’s the best: Dragonfire was the last story to feature the companion Mel and introduces the companion Ace to the Doctor. In addition to this it brings back the shady character Sabalom Glitz, who was first featured in The Trial of a Time Lord (#143), and the story is better for it. Sabalom Glitz is not a good guy, but he is a great character so it was nice to see him involved in the story. Set in a place called Iceworld on a planet called Svartos, the story involves a search for a mysterious object and has one of the more fascinating plots, settings, and alien beings. For all these reasons it nudges its way just past some other good arcs for a place here.

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WORST EPISODE (STORY ARC):

Delta and the Bannermen (#146)

Why it’s the worst: Some people might have expected to see Paradise Towers(#145) in this spot, but compared to this, Paradise Towers is brilliant. It’s not that Delta and the Bannerman is really terrible, it’s just that there is nothing good about it.  Let me repeat that, there is NOTHING good about it. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what this story is even about, but it seems to involve a lot of running around, car chases, and a muddled plot wherein two warring alien races end up on 1950s  Earth after one faction commits genocide on the other.  The Doctor and Mel take a trip on a  space travel agency tour.  (Why? I am honestly not sure, but it is meant to be some sort of holiday.) The tour is on what appears to be a rickety bus,  and the ship is in poor shape.  They do not quite make their destination, but instead break down and end up at a camp resort somewhere in small town America. There is also a rather ridiculous and completely unbelievable love triangle in the story, but it makes little to no sense. Honestly, this arc is completely boring, the setting is a 1980s vision of the 1950s and the story, well there really isn’t one, but it involves a surviving member of this alien race stowing away on the travel ship carrying another alien that she is trying to protect and hiding from the aliens that are committing the genocide.  The story is poor and seems more like a bad 80s sitcom of small town American life in the 50s with some aliens thrown in, rather than a real Doctor Who story. My opinion? It’s ninety minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

Delta and the Bannermen

Delta and the Bannermen

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