Season 15

Series Negative Dubs
Shit I left the oven running.
Shit I left the oven running.
About Time
Began 3 September 1977
Ended 11 March 1978
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Season 15 was the start of the Williams Era, but it's sort of a gradual evolution rather than a radical change. The stories are still pretty dark, but not as violent. Each story is still mostly focused on one idea, and when they do the storm-of-too-many-ideas things they're more Robert Holmes style ideas than Douglas Adams style.

Tom continues to be Based af by disagreeing with directors and telling them to fuck off, K-9 gets introduced, and Louise Jamiematheison's Leela finally changes her clothes (and her eye colour).

Also, RIP wooden TARDIS.

Sadly this season has some of the worst production values of the entire show.

Serials of Season 15

Episode Title Written By Description
Horror of Fang Rock Terrance Dicks Introduction (and last appearance ever) of the Rutans. Base under siege in spooky Hammer style. Everybody dies. Wait, is this not the Hinchcliffe-Holmes era?
The Invisible Enemy Bob Baker & Dave Martin The Invisible Enemy is a virus, get it, because they're too small to see? Except when you they're not and they look like a weird prawn thing. Meanwhile, the Doctor and Leela fail to save a brilliant scientist, so they steal his robot dog instead.
Image of the Fendahl Chris Boucher A whole bunch of new lore which would never appear again until the novels, centered around a skull that's actually Death Itself and his Lovecraft-style worshippers. The Doctor fails to save a lot of people, but does give one guy a gun to commit suicide. Are we sure this isn't the Hinchcliffe-Holmes era?
The Sun Makers Robert Holmes Bureaucracies are bad, especially bureaucracies that want to audit Robert Holmes' taxes. Also, the only thing worse than governments is unchecked corporations. Fuck it, man, let's listen to the Sex Pistols and smash shit up.
Underworld Bob Baker & Dave Martin For generations, a secret war has been waged between Vampires and Lycans. No, wait, Minyans. Anyway, it's basically Jason and the Argonauts, set underground to unsuccessfully disguise the fact that they'd used up the whole season's budget before they got to this one.
The Invasion of Time Graham Williams & Anthony Read Gallifreyan intrigue. Time Lords are all a bunch of idiots and the Doctor has to outsmart them to save them. Leela leaves because she's fallen in love with a guy she spent 5 seconds on-screen with, in typical Doctor Who fashion. Manages to reference and then contradict just about every detail from The Deadly Assassin. Are we really sure this isn't the Hinchcliffe-Holmes era?


Really doesn't feel like the big shakeup it was meant to be. People tend to die off-camera instead of on-camera, and K-9 is there, but you can imagine why that wasn't enough to make Mary Whitehouse happy.

Horror of Fang Rock is Dicks' best Hinchcliffe-Holmes story, even better than State of Decay (which was still a few years away). It's a pure gothic pulp story disguised as Base Under Siege. 9/10

The Invisible Enemy is not the abomination many fans like to claim it is, but it's not really great, either. It's just mildly diverting filler entertainment, and a nice tribute to 1950s sci-fi. 4/10

The Image of the Fendahl is a Satanic horror film where the Doctor basically plays the comic relief, which really shouldn't work, but it does. 9/10

The Sun Makers is weird. Most people on /who/ seem to focus on how they can twist it to endorse their politics, because they're idiots. And as a typical Holmes story, it's a complete failure at what he usually does well. But forget all that and just watch it on its own merit, and it's a solid story. Besides the fact that Leela is the best she's ever been outside of Boucher's stuff, and K-9 is actually entertaining instead of annoying, Holmes manages to build a world by actually showing us the world rather than representing it with a pair of double-acts, and it somehow works despite the small scale and low budget. 8/10

Underworld tries really hard to overcome the bad production values, but it fails. Also, it pretty much blows its wad with all the interesting stuff in the first episode, after which there's really nothing to watch. And it doesn't help that the script (or maybe the director) lets Tom Baker vent his opinion that Leela isn't necessary to the show, multiple times, pretty much ruining the great interaction built up in the last two stories. 2/10

The Invasion of Time is where the Williams Era really begins, especially because of the comparisons it invites with The Deadly Assassin. (It was supposed to be Holmes' sequel to that story, but he pulled out, so Williams and Read scrambled to write their own sequel.) There's just so much crammed into this story that there's no way all of it will be good. And the biggest problem with it is that instead of building bigger and bigger it goes smaller and smaller until the last two episodes, it's hard to care what's happening. It's kind of like many NuWho finale in that it's a lot more fun if you just watch the first 45 minutes and imagine the rest. 5/10

As a whole, the season doesn't stand up at all--but individually, the good stories are really good, and they're half the season, and nobody's forcing you to watch the other half. 7/10

Eras of Doctor Who

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