Season 21

Series -5
Davison, wishing he had as little screentime as Kamelion did.
Davison, wishing he had as little screentime as Kamelion did.
About Time
Began 5 January 1984
Ended 30 March 1984
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Season 21, just like Series 8, was the first complete season to come out after a momentous standalone anniversary special the year before; only major difference is that JNT wasn't so pretentious to claim that it was "a brand new chapter in the Doctor's life" like Moffat did. Also like Series 8, it was one of the biggest roller-coaster rides of quality in the entire TV canon, and was partially the cause of the show's declining appreciation among the general public and fans alike.

Peeturr Dayvison returns as the Doktah here and makes his departure in the penultimate story, with his successor Colin "No one liked me until Evelyn Smythe made me her bitch" Baker getting his hands on the role for the final story of the season. Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Turlough (Mark Strickton) reprise their roles and also depart at varying points throughout the season, with Peri's boobs (played by Nicola Bryant's) filling in both their roles by the final two stories.

Serials of Season 21

Episode Title Written By Description
Warriors of the Deep Johnny Byrne There's a seabase in the far future that is under siege by both Silurians and Sea Devils, who want to use it to start a nuclear war that they hope will wipe out the humans once and for all and make the Earth free to claim dominance over once again.
The Awakening Eric Pringle A stone version of the Face of Boe is hiding out in a church and feeding on people reenacting historical events, or something like that.
Frontios Christopher H. Bidmead Members of a sole human colony are being sucked under the ground by giant beetle thingies, and only the usually-useless-and-cowardly-but-suddenly-and-conveniently-deranged Turlough can help now.
Resurrection of the Daleks Eric Saward The Daleks are back bitches, and they've come to awake Davros from his cryogenic imprisonment as they need his assistance in order to help overcome a virus which has impeded them in their war against the Movellans. Davros however is suffering from Rose Tyler syndrome as he's pissed that he got replaced with a new Dalek leader, so he wants to make a new race of more obedient Daleks.
Planet of Fire Peter Grimwade The Master takes back telepathic control of Kamelion and uses him in an attempt to restore himself to full size, as he has been shrunk for... some reason... Also Turlough leaves. K bye.
The Caves of Androzani Robert Holmes The Doctor and Peri arrive on Androzani Minor where they:

A) Become infected with a deadly poison known as Spectrox Toxemia

B) Get caught up in a war between a bunch of corrupt shitheads

C) Get raped by Sharaz Jek

D) Die (Well, in the Doctor's case... SPOILERZZZZ)

The Twin Dilemma Anthony Steven The newly regenerated Doctor gets off to a crappy start by gagging his companion (if leather didn't turn her on last time, I doubt she'd be into choking either) and fighting against a humanoid space slug that has kidnapped two genius children for evil purposes.


Christ, this season's all over the bloody map. Series 8 is a pretty apt comparison; just when you think it's going great with two Flatlines and a Dark Water, suddenly there's three Kill the Moons. It's incredibly inconsistent.

Warriors of the Deep begins the season and HOOOOOOO BOI, this one. You wanna know why Doctor Who was put on hiatus and subsequently cancelled in the 80s? Look no further; this story was the very inspiration for Michael AIDS' increasing disdain for the program. The filming of this story was on hold for two weeks when Margaret Thatcher called a general election, and this resulted in the final production being obviously rushed to shit (the show would ultimately get its revenge on Thatcher four years later). The Silurians' pet, the Myrka, specifically comes under heavy scrutiny because it looks like a lumbering piece of shit. The Doctor also acts like a twat in this story, and the actors are criminally uncharismatic. The only pluses are the fact that the base itself looks pretty nice (if a bit unusually clean for a place that's meant to be on the seabed), and Turlough acts like he actually cares about his friends for once. Also the final scene is fittingly melancholy. Other than that, absolutely dire story, AVOID at all costs. 1/10

The Awakening is a pleasant little gem. Nothing mind blowing though; don't go into it expecting anything Earth-shatteringly good (or just plain Earth-shattering), just enjoy it as a comfy little romp. It's also the perfect length of just 50 minutes, which makes it easily accessible to NuWhovains who complain about Genesis of the Daleks because "ITZ 2 LOOOOOOHHHNNNGGG". 8/10

Frontios is pretty good - the plot is workable, the Tractators are decent villains, it has a nice bleak tone to it and a GOAT soundtrack. It does go on for a bit too long though - we spend about 110% of episode one watching Tegan, Turlough and some bitch in the colony collect a portable generator and slowly push it along the floor. It probably could've done with the Planet of Giants treatment. Still, not bad. 7/10

Resurrection of the Daleks is a mixed bag. Almost every positive aspect can be instantly countered with a negative one. The body count is mouth-droolingly high, but the death acting is shit. The spaceship exterior shots look phenomenal, but the Dalek death rays are pants. Davros is back, but he barely does anything of note. Davros meets the Fifth Doctor, but only for about five minutes. That companion flashback sequence is nice, but where da fuck is Leela? Etc, etc. That being said, the sets and props look fucking incredible, and Tegan gets a good exit. I think those are good enough reasons to bump it up to a 7/10 (also this was my first Classic story and I'm damn well gonna be protective and nostalgic as fuck about it)

Planet of Fire is Peter Grimwade's final writing contribution to Doctor Who and THANK FUCK for that. He'd previously written Time-Shite and Boredryn Undead, and his writing ability didn't improve much with this one either. Any pluses are from the production side of things, as the location filming in Lanzarote looks gorgeous (and no, not for that reason you pervs) and Anthony Ainley is back as the Mattress, yay! Turlough also gets a surprisingly well-handled goodbye scene, especially for a character that barely had any development until his final story. Still, all that can't save an overall pretty boring and shite script. 3/10

Then we get The Caves of Androzani, often heralded as one of the GOATEST Doctor Who stories of all time - if not THE GOATEST - and yes, it certainly does deserve its reputation. The way that the Fifth Doctor, who has lost so much along the way, strives to overcome all odds and runs across a battle-scarred, volcano covered quarry just to save a girl he's only just met is truly awe-inspiring, and the direction/cinematography/acting from all involved/music, not to mention the regeneration scene itself, are all utterly superb. Davison has noted in years since the original broadcast that he considers this his best performance, and he is truly right. Don't get me wrong, Davison was a perfectly functional Doctor, but Androzani seemed to be the time when his incarnation was actually on 100% top form. Certainly the best story of his entire era. 10/10

The Twin Dilemma finishes up the season while simultaneously beginning the Colin Baker era, and has gone on to earn the reputation of being the absolute worst Doctor Who story of all time. While its poor quality is highly exaggerated, it's still a shameful embarrassment of a story. The only real plus is Colin Baker himself, who is truly magnificent in the role. Everything else in the story? Bin it. While it's not as bad as say, Timelash, it's still pretty abhorrent; the storyline is pretty poor, the acting is some of the worst to ever grace the franchise, the cliffhangers are astonishingly weak, and of course... that scene. Poor Colin deserved a much better start than this. 3/10

So overall... Yeah, Season 21 is all over the shop. On one hand, it has some of the greatest gems you'll find in the show's catalog. On the other, there are also a few big stinking turds that likely clutter up the bottom of the DWM fan polls. 6/10

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