Thursday, March 24, 2011

Serial 115: Logopolis

Doctor: Tom Baker (4th Doctor)
Companion: Adric, Nyssa, Tegan

Written by: Christopher H. Bidmead
Directed by: Peter Grimwade

Background & Significance: After seven long years, Tom Baker had finally decided to move on.

Most interesting is the prospect that this might not have been his final season.There's a thing I heard once upon a dream that he totally would have gone and done an eighth had the opportunity arisen, but as it stands, the introduction of producer Johnathan Nathan-Turner as guy with a specific vision (for better or worse) and the variety of changes Nathan-Turner imported to shake up the show proved to be too much for Tom Baker.

So he left.

Personally, I find that strange. Well, sorta. The early Nathan-Turner years were something of a creative renaissance for Doctor Who (especially Davison's three seasons. Woof). As we saw in "The Keeper of Traken" earlier this week, that story is leaps and bounds ahead of most things in the Graham Williams era (certain exceptions notwithstanding), and "Warriors' Gate" (which we'll talk about eventually, I promise!) was no slouch either. But it's interesting that Tom Baker was pimping out of there in a season that was far from awful, especially because he didn't mind sticking around even when the stories got really, really, really awful (I'm looking at you "Underworld", "The Armageddon Factor", "Destiny of the Daleks", and "Horns of Nimon" just to name a few). It feels to me like Tom Baker had come across a producer who wasn't going to take any crap from him, someone against whom Tom Baker couldn't win any fights. And from what I understand, Nathan-Turner really did want Tom Baker to pimp out of there, tossing out the old and re-inventing the show from the ground up. So from a Nathan-Turner perspective, this really is a good thing.

So... Tom Baker decided to leave. And that gave rise to a whole 'nother mess of issues. How would people react when the most popular Doctor, the one who had been around for so long, left? They had to bridge the gap and ease people into this new transition that would be... difficult.

One of the ways they did this was by incorporating both The Master (re-introduced in the previous story "The Keeper of Traken" and continuing onto the next story "Castrovalva") and the introduction of several new companions to help guide The Doctor through his forthcoming regeneration to bridge this totally new gap. It's a very "An Unearthly Child" approach, to be honest, and terribly smart (if flawed; it would take almost three years for the show to shake this "Party in the TARDIS and everyone's invited" mentality).

Not only that, but how in the world do you provide an adequate sendoff to the most popular, longest lived Doctor there was (and so far is)?

What we're left with is "Logopolis," a story with big sci-fi ideas and huge stakes (someone once called them in the vein of Russell T Davies but to them I say harumph!) and... an ending. It's certainly aided by the knowledge that this is Tom Baker's final story, but... It's difficult. You can tell that Tom Baker's glory days are long over and done with. The peak and height of his powers is long gone and the quality of his reign had been in an eddy for at least two seasons (possibly more). So sending off such a beloved character required... Well... I guess we can talk about that as we go through it...

And it turns out Tegan is still the worst companion and that's true from minute one.

So let's get to it!


Part 1:

If there’s one thing that "Logopolis" capitalizes on, it’s the culmination of a season long arc that forms… well… a true finale.

It’s rare to see finales for Doctor Who work as well as I think this does. It’s definitely the tonal fulfillment of where this entire season has been going. I even love that the opening is this… Well not the opening, but the first thing in the whole story (and the excuse for it, really) is The Doctor pacing the Cloister Room focusing on The TARDIS and its chameleon circuit and all the things he wants to/needs to do to make it function and work again.

What makes it interesting is how utterly useless it is.

It’s a basic story issue: why now? Why is this story happening now? Why is The Doctor so completely obsessed with something as minor and basic as The Chameleon Circuit? He’s been living through it not working for four entire incarnations. So why does he spend a while in this episode explaining the dynamics of it and giving the most minute and specific dimensional measurements of the TARDIS he can in order to fix the chameleon circuit and blah blah blah the blah blah blah on Logopolis so he can’t blah blah.

To be honest, I don’t know why he needs to do any of this or what he’s trying to accomplish.

What I do know is that he’s avoiding the topic at hand:

He’s about to die and he knows it.

It’s one of those things where you know something imminent is coming and you do whatever you can to shirk the responsibility of the inevitable. You put your mind on other things. You try and find a tie that perfectly matches the shirt you want to wear, something that isn’t too sad and mournful but isn’t too bright and rosy and cheerful because you’re going to a funeral.

This is much the same way. You can almost tell that The Doctor knows what’s coming and he’s doing everything he can to distract himself from the problem at hand.

In that, this part works and works marvelously, though I find it’s a little slow. But if there’s one thing that strikes me about it, it’s how grounded it feels despite being so full of big ol crazy loopy sci-fi ideas and Bidmeadisms. His explanation of the Chameleon Circuit is inspired and his fascination with the TARDIS is pretty neat, even though it is… flawed? I think it’s awkward watching him puzzle out actual science on the page (or at least, that’s what it feels like to me), but hey. What do I know.

I will say, it’s definitely cool in the way sci-fi things are cool. It’s always kinda balls crazy to see one TARDIS inside the other, and while it is totally Bidmead doing something that’s completely self-indulgent, I find I don’t mind it so much.

I just wish it made some more sense. I mean, so The Doctor materializes around another TARDIS? Or is it a Police Box? And whose is inside whose? And how does The Doctor pop out the back? That doesn’t make sense to me. Nor does it make sense how they’re all porcelain dolls inside each other or whatever. But for everything that’s like that, it also has the Cloister Room and I love the Cloister Room and all that. The Cloister Bell is totally iconic and I like that it shows up here.

This part is also significant for the arrival of Tegan, which… well…

If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you probably know this already, but allow me to elucidate for those who might be new: I’m not a huge fan of Tegan. I think she’s poorly handled as a character and not very well executed on the whole. I find her whiny and moany, and I often don’t know why she travels with the Doctor because she’s so often up in his grille about most things and she doesn't even seem to enjoy it. I mean, I can understand the whole thing about her wanting to get back and that whole deal, but at the same time, she comes back and I don't even know why because she never seemed to have a great time. It's just a weak character because she's around and insanely contradictory in the way poor writing is contradictory.

But I don’t hate her here. At least, not yet. That’s probably coming later (like next week).

What I don’t like is how much time they spend shoving her character down our throats. “I’m an airline attendant and I like flying not driving!!!!” It doesn’t sit right with me. And she’s forgetful and kind of a ditz. And she stumbles into the TARDIS. I just find that I have little interest in her character overall. But it’s still a decent start, really. I mean, it does introduce the character and does it about as strong as you can (but it’s a bit slow, so there it is).

And then there’s the interesting development of the shrinkage of both Tegan’s aunt and what is, essentially, her murder. Which adds a nice little layer to her character that’s NEVER really touched on again.

And throwing him something modern like Tegan helps to ground this story in a very real place. The Doctor’s spent SO much time away from modern earth that coming back and having him be almost arrested by the police is a rather… stark thing to do, isn’t it? It feel so real and ominous in the best of ways and it emphasizes the importance of The Doctor. No one can go around trying to save the day. It’s The Master. This is a job for The Doctor.

Finally, The Watcher. No. Wait. We can talk about him/it later, right? I dunno. I think The Watcher is better discussed later probably. I dunno. Whatever. IT SHOWS UP. THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS. Right? I don’t know. Golly, I’ll have to talk about him eventually. BUT I DON’T WANT TO. Ugh. Fine. I will. But not now. Let’s defer that.

Know what we shouldn’t defer, The Doctor looking at The Watcher and realizing what it is and then running away. Great stuff and a killer performance by Mr. Baker if you ask me. And yet, the best Doctor/Watcher scene is coming up…

Part 2:

One of the complaints leveled against "Logopolis" is that it’s really not Tom Baker’s best vehicle for departure. It’s a decent vehicle, and well done, but certainly not his best or the most ideal one for his departure.

Two episodes in, I’d have trouble arguing against the fact. Despite being good in this episode, this is hardly Tom Baker at his best. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still doing good in this, his final adventure, but it’s a far cry from his early work when he was all full of life and adventure and bouncing with that great, almost human urge to go see the stars and to explore as a wandering bohemian.

Now he’s old and tired, and it works for this story, but I don’t think… as a story that’s the way I think he should necessarily go out as a Doctor, because it's not exactly his character and what he's remembered for.

But it gives a whole lot to play with in the story. It’s interesting how this entire thing between Adric and The Doctor feels like a giant run around farce that’s aimless and wandery (more on that in a minute), but I like the chemistry and dynamic. It very much feels like Adric is The Doctor’s protégé in ways that… well… no one has since Hartnell. It reminds me almost of Susan in a way, with the way The Doctor was teaching her how to do things.

It’s strange then, given that Davison is all about teaching people (like, say, Nyssa) that this Doctor-Adric realationship goes away once Davison takes over in just a story.

They do work together, though. I love the way Adric is constantly questioning The Doctor just to make sure The Doctor knows what’s going on and Adric’s inquisitive mind is constantly on overdrive, trying to keep up with someone who is his vast intellectual superior. And then there’s whole way they block the doors once they think the TARDIS is submerged. It’s a really nice team they end up making, which is ironic because of supposed behind the scenes whatever. And yet given the behind-the-scenesness that you kinda hear about over the years and knowing how much Tom Baker couldn’t help his performance being coloured by the behind-the-scenes, it’s a testament to him that he works on making this work.

But enough about what makes this great, there’s some stuff I gotta break down here.

Okay, first off, all this talk about the TARDIS is totally useless. I have NO idea what this story is about and we’re two episodes in. Is it about The TARDIS and fixing the Chameleon Circuit or whatever? Or is it somehow about The Master returning, and if it is? Why hasn’t he shown up yet? Insult to injury, part of the reason that someone like The Watcher is around (more on that in a minute) is to throw off the scent of The Master to make you think The Watcher is The Master, but I think that fails horribly. It’s The Master, just let it be The Master. You’re allowed to let us know. You accomplish nothing by hiding it, only to reveal it uselessly in the next episode (but more on that when we get there).

Also, Tegan is already totally useless in this thing.

Now I understand her complaining, but good god. All she does in this is run around like a crazy person through the TARDIS completely lost and then finally meets up with Adric and The Doctor (who in her defense can’t even be bothered to give her an explanation) only to whine and complain more, which is understandable, but it doesn’t engender me to her cause any. It’s not just enough to have someone kidnapped, I have to actually legitimately care about her and stuff, which I don’t really.

But it’s totally worth it just for Tom Baker’s DISGUSTED expression when she meets him and starts talking to him.

There’s also additional confusion when it comes to what EXACTLY The Doctor’s doing about the situation in the TARDIS. I question the feasibility of flooding the TARDIS and seeing what floats out. Wouldn’t that feasibly make EVERYTHING float out? And why, exactly, does he have to jettison Romana’s room when, really, any room would do. It’s almost like The Doctor is trying to dump all the stuff his ex-wife just left with him in an effort to forget her.

... Wait.

And then there’s The Watcher…

Okay, so, here’s the thing. The Watcher makes no sense to me. I mean, I know that he’s a [spoiler] projection of The Doctor’s next regeneration, but… how? Does it have something to do with the eventual mass of entropy or… what? It just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe someone can explain? But I feel like any explanation should exist on the screen, not in some interview someone plucked it from. That’s lame and bad writing.

But even in this dark patch, there’s a magnificent silver lining as The Doctor glances into the future and meets up with his future self and realizes that he’s on the dying path (if he didn’t suspect it already). So my question? Does he flee to Logopolis as a result? Or does he go there because he told himself to go there? I love that they never tell us, but it’s profoundly changed The Doctor. When he comes back, he’s something of a changed man. He’s much more staid and stoic and in control, almost like he’s dealing with his own death rather rationally…. I love that. It's a great performance by Tom Baker because it's all subtle and beneath the surface in ways I feel is rare. Then again, maybe that's my Tom Baker bias. I could be wrong, though.

Know what I don’t love? The Master’s TARDIS in this. There’s no use in it just materializing and de-materializing all that much. Really? All you’re showing us is that THIS TARDIS has a functioning chameleon circuit. Well la dee do for it. I’m so proud.

And finally, Nyssa’s appearance is totally lame and totally cheap. Totally completely. Oh no! Nyssa’s here! They don’t even bother giving her a reason to show up. “The Doctor’s friend brought me here!” Oh really? Which friend. Please tell us. You just showed up halfway across the universe for next to nothing. Hope you’re having a good time, because Logopolis is a terribly random place to be, methinks.

Oh. By the way. This cliffhanger of The TARDIS shrinking is totally lame.

Part 3:

I love big sci-fi ideas.

It’s with that, that I think I should say that I love Logopolis, the planet I mean, and at least in concept. Bidmead really does come up with a totally great idea about mathematics capable of transcending and altering the bounds of reality. The Logopolitans themselves (who sit in chairs and work on abacuses) are actually a very interesting species, egalitarian folk the lot of them, all working towards the higher power/point of preventing entropy from taking over and destroying the universe; an inevitable thing to be sure, because the total entropy of the universe is pretty all-destroying at the moment. Also, abacuses. Which are awesome.

That, in itself, is good. But it’s clear that Bidmead is very much in love with his own ideas rather than he is in giving The Doctor a proper sendoff.

For one thing, The Doctor spends the first half of this episode (Tom Baker’s penultimate episode as The Doctor, I might add) stuck in a shrunken TARDIS. Why is it shrunk? I dunno. Just is. Was there a point to it? Not really. The Master wanted to play a practical joke and this is the result, even gloating that he’s “cut The Doctor down to size”, which is an awful joke/pun, but whatever. This new Master is supposed to be campy, methinks. Which is a problem in my eyes, but I’ll talk about that in a little bit. What matters is that when The Doctor joins the fray, everything gets back to normal, although I’m left wondering what the point of the shrinking thing was. Time killer, I suppose?

It’s also in this episode that we learn of The Master and get our own first proper shot of him.

The change is stark. Ainley’s Master is a huge departure from the rotting corpse we had in “The Keeper of Traken” and “The Deadly Assassin”; not only that, but he spent all of episode two chuckling and here he is again with more of ‘dem chucklin’s. It’s stupid and lame and completely ineffectual. Just have him twirl his mustache and wring his hands. It’s more interesting to watch. How pointless is it that you’ve also got a Master who’s played such a small and insignificant part? Kinda maddening, no? I mean, even his first appearance is in one of those alcoves and of him laughing as the TARDIS crew etc. walk by and he just gives a nice long “heh heh heh”, which is… I dunno. I love Ainley as an actor, but being The Master is weak.

Not only that, but The Master seems to have no conception of Logopolis as an institution. He’s making this shit up as he goes along, stopping things and making the silence (which, granted, is effective), but he’s already totally botching up his whole plan by not going in prepared. Normally bad guys have a scheme, but no. The Master marches in and starts jacking with things (which, to be fair, effective) but he gets in WAY over his head already and this is (if you count it as a new villain, which, in many ways, he was), the SECOND Master story for a ton of people. And you’ve already got him blundering around like a fool and destroying the universe. Which is totally on accident.

Oh, and they totally botch Nyssa.

It’s none too surprising, really. This coming from the show that in the next season will give SO MUCH emotional fallout over Adric’s death (total screen time spent on it: less than five minutes) is not exactly surprising. But lemme throw this into perspective and show you how it woulda been written today (and, for that example, shoulda been written). Can you imagine if, say, Amy Pond’s father was a big presence in a story, and then he’s killed. Oh, and now he looks like the friggin Master and is running around having stolen the companion’s father’s body? And how is that treated with Nyssa in this?

What say you? Maddening, no?

It’s nice that they at least address it in some way (to the point where The Master places the bracelet on her arm and uses it to have her amok and causing havoc in the rooms of the place), but seriously. The Master murdered Nyssa’s father. So Nyssa’s father must needs be avenged (by Klingon law, which, granted, Nyssa is not a Klingon... JUST GO WITH IT). Add that to the fact that The Master is now running around committing mayhem and getting involved in universe destroying plans and it all LOOKS like Nyssa’s father’s doing it. Family honor breached! Nyssa’s father must be even more avenged! I mean, I know Nyssa’s a sweetheart, but it’s not beyond the realm of believability that Nyssa would eventually kill him rather than say “Oh my god what a douche.” Because ummm…. Yeah, Nyssa. No shit he’s a douche. He killed your father, stole his body and now every time The Master does something it is, in a way, like your father’s doing it.

Kinda dark, no?

So they don’t *really* deal with that aside from Nyssa trusting The Master and The Master using and abusing that trust (which, granted, is well done). I just think that The Master is poorly handled in this story. I mean, even the very end of the episode, in which The Doctor shakes hands with The Master and vows to partake in dual partnership that will save the planet of Logopolis and, by extension the universe and the day. But… it doesn’t quite work as well as you might want it to work.

See, this woulda worked with Pertwee. If it were Pertwee’s finale, Pertwee shaking hands with Delgado and the two teaming up to save the universe woulda been a total wobble mind-bend. But here…

I find I fault Nathan-Turner for this. Pertwee shaking The Master’s hand as they all go into the final episode of his particular iteration of The Doctor? That’d be more impressive and it would matter more. We’d just gotten four seasons of The Doctor and The Master duking it out and butting heads and going back and forth. AND THEN PERTWEE SHAKES THE MASTER’S HAND AS HE GOES FOR ONE LAST HURRAH?! Genius face. Utter genius face. But here, Nathan-Turner suffers from that eventual trap of insular continuity. This handshake only matters because The Master has been The Doctor’s enemy going back two incarnations and they have a long history of rivalry and now they’re finally teaming up. But in the context of this story and this Doctor, The Master hasn’t shown up for almost four years, and that was the ONLY other time The Doctor faced The Master (not that “Keeper of Traken” didn’t matter; but that’s hardly painting the best picture of The Master and giving him that long running pathos).

But now we’re supposed to care about this guy and the alliance formed by these two long and very bitter enemies? I mean it makes sense to me, but it’s a long shot if you don't have Master background up the wazoo. I don’t care how god damn iconic “The Deadly Assassin” is. It does not create a thorough line of Doctor/Master confrontation to be finally paid off here. And yet, they treat it like it is a big deal for this Doctor and always has been so what we're left with is, essentially, a very fake and very hollow payoff no matter how much they want it to be the real thing. And I’m all for treating your audience like they’re actually smart, but you can’t expect an audience to know something simply because you know it.

Now all that said, teaming up The Doctor and The Master is a totally sweet and badass move. I just wish it had been done in such a way that we’d care more about the ramifications of said agreement (which is much less arguable now that we have DVDs and stuff BUT THE POINT STILL STANDS) rather than making it sound like it’s supposed to be all encompassingly awesome and “oh shit”. Take, for example, The 5th Doctor. The 5th Doctor went up against The Master five times (and once in his first story, no less), so having The Doctor say, team up with The Master in THAT finale is much more crazy, badass, and high stakes than they are here. Here, they just feel false.
Also, real quick. There’s nothing more boring that Adric and some old dude walking around reading off numbers. Which totally happens here. And is about as exciting as you’d expect it to be.

Part 4:

Okay, before I start going off and being all critical (because I was in the last part), I should probably say that I really enjoy this final part.

For one thing, I really like the energetic direction of Peter Grimwade. I think he does a fine job here and he’s a fine director. He really manages to capture Logopolis as a thing and the final end of Tom Baker is competently shot. There’s also energy. Did I mention that? Oh right. Energetic. I suppose I did. But yes, he’s good and he does a solid job presenting a great story.

Also on form is Tom Baker.

Granted, it’s not his best, but he does turn in a really strong final performance. There’s something strangely comforting about that smile that he gives right as he’s about to regenerate. It feeds into this underlying theme of bravery, where The Doctor is aware that he’s going to die and he’s trying to put on as brave a face as he can, but you can tell it’s weighing on him. And yet he faces it strongly and faces it saving the universe. I’m trying to think if he’s the only Doctor who did that, and I think not. I suppose Pertwee’s Doctor did. But it’s only fitting that this Doctor who did so much saving went out saving The Universe. There’s something awesome about that.

Also, I friggin love the scarf trip. Great final call for his Doctor, I think.

Even on the topic of flashing back through The Doctor’s run (as a good finale should) I even find I like the call backs to all the bad guys and companions Tom Baker’s Doctor met up with. I know it’s been talked to death as hokey and schlocky and kinda hammy and whatever the hell, but I find it works in this own weird way. Is it perfect? No, but I think it does capture the feel it’s meant to capture. I think if there’s a fault with it, it’s that it moves too slow. All the “Doctor. [beat]” is… not working so much for me. But if it was just a bunch of people saying “Doctor” really fast, as though it really was flashing before his eyes… Something a bit more… forgive the phrase: MTV. But I do like it. I think it works for what it is, because it’s not intrusive to the story, but it does enhance his impending regeneration.

Also, his missing face from the final credits is a nice touch, something that would be refined in "Caves of Androzani" when Colin Baker's face is shown after Davison regenerates. I like it here, more. A bit more reverential.

But enough of pretending this final part is perfect.

For one thing, remember that Master/Doctor team-up that we were promised at the end of the last part? Well that’s gone. And gone early. The Master takes the first opportunity he can to just pimp the hell out of their once The Monitor is evaporated by… entropy? Dunno. But The Master pimps out of there and then re-teams up again and it just… I dunno, it feels slight and makes that last cliffhanger even cheaper and more stunty than anything

I do like The Master’s role in this, though. His plot to take the universe hostage is… decent, but… yeah…

See, maybe this is just me, but I honest to god do not understand what the hell happens in this part. I mean, okay so the Entropy Station on Logopolis fails so they have to go to Earth to contain the entropy but the entropy can’t be controlled forever because it took a whole planet of Logopolitans. And then there’s like… three cables? One of which is the final cable which The Doctor has to unplug to stop The Master’s nefarious scheme. Which is… yeah, I guess that’s okay. But… yeah.

Also, why is Tegan hanging around with The Doctor? There’s someone who promises to take her home. Just go with that guy. I don’t care if he’s all wrapped in white and creepy. He’s going to take you home, which is what you want. It feels like they’re shoving her down my throat and I don’t like it.

But my biggest problem with this? The Traken problem.

See, okay, so in the last story The Master rejuvenates on Traken, murders Nyssa’s parents, and then gets away. And that’s all good and well. But…. Okay. We’re turning Nyssa into an orphan and we’re wiping out her planet in this. Why not just destroy it in its own major story? You’re going to destroy it anyways. Make that your ending for Traken. The Master does anything, LITERALLY ANYTHING to regenerate into this new body of his, even going so far as to wipe out an entire planet. Also, The Doctor totally loses in the battle he’s trying to win. That’s so much stronger than it being a random casualty in this story if you ask me.

And then there’s…. The Watcher? Which is… I’m sorry. You can tell me about this thing all you want, but I don’t understand it. It’s just a nifty plot device more than anything. Let’s be honest. It’s just a cheap way to get things to happen and to have them move. How do I know this? Because The Watcher literally just tells people things and then the person goes and does it and the story can continue. It’s not like it derives from any of this entropy field nonsense or any of that. It’s supposedly a projection of The Doctor's future self, but umm… really? Come on. It’s lazy and doesn’t QUITE make any sense at all.

Le sigh. Well. I guess we can’t all be perfect.

And before we go, I shall show you his ending, because how can I not?

Final Thoughts?: Now all that said, I really enjoy this.

Tonally, it does bring Tom Baker's final season to a nice conclusion. All that melancholy and pretense of mourning is bubbling up to the surface and finally breaks as The Doctor falls to the ground off the tower. It's as good as you can ask for given that you were in the role for seven years.

And yet I can't help but feel that it was too late. I know it's been said in probably billions and billions of other places (I'm not so good with numbers), but imagine him going out in a blaze of glory at the end of his third or fourth season, when it would have been much, much easier to bring out a final end or whatever, as opposed to trying to sum up seven seasons across three different producers and four script editors.

The truth of the matter with it falls to his glory days being past him, and his not vacating the role made his departure something of a lackluster experience.

That said, I can't imagine Tom Baker in the next season because Davison brings a whole new game to the table. It's the little things, really. I like that this is a Master story, but it feels a little messy or something. We don't learn a lot of things until late in the game, and there's so many misdirects and weird tangents that it ultimately distracts from the task at hand: to bring the 4th Doctor's story to a close. In that, I'm not sure it works perfectly, but after seven years, ending on a strong, "Mmm yeah that's the stuff" note is... well, it's rather difficult, isn't it? I think Tom Baker knew that in the end, but he did the best he can.

I find it messy, far from perfect, and kinda sparse. It definitely could have been richer and more useful when it comes to utilizing Tom Baker's Doctor, which is a shame, because this is supposed to be his last hurrah. There's certainly things I would have done differently, and I know the view is always easier on the other side of the television, but it doesn't change the fact that the writing on the show had been rather weak for a long time leading up to this and this, while still ultimately good, is nowhere near the creative zenith of either the show or the Tom Baker era. And merely passable is hardly what I expect you'd want from Tom Baker's final story if he's your favourite Doctor.

Then again, I can't really speak to that mentality. After all, my favourite just showed up.

Next Time!: 5th Doctor! EVEN MORE MASTER! Two halves of one whole story! Event One! More TARDIS exploration! Celery! Outfits! And youtubes! We wrap up this anniversary celebration of ours with the next in sequence: "Castrovalva!" Coming next Tuesday!


  1. There are a lot of problmes with this story, but it really is stylish!

  2. I definitely agree with your take on Logopolis. A good story, and I hate to say it but I was glad to see Tom Baker go, and not just because Five is my absolute favorite classic Doctor. However, the stuff with the Watcher and a lot of the action on Logopolis itself felt strangely pointless. It just can't hold a candle to Caves of Androzoni, The End of Time, or even Planet of the Spiders as far as regeneration stories go.

  3. Or even The War Games, I'd argue. Always going to be in my top five.

  4. MyGeekLife, do you think that The End of Time and Planet of Spiders are good stories?

  5. GungaDin, if you buy the Season 6B theory, then The War Games does not count as a regeneration story.

  6. @Fundy - Canon is completely made up and fake. As such, I have no problem considering "The War Games" a regeneration story while still subscribing to 6B. Besides, as a final end-all, "The War Games" is pretty much across the board phenomenal and a glorious send-off for any Doctor, but it works best for Troughton.

    So uhhhhhh... yeah. I choose to have my cake and eat it too.

  7. Oh man, I totally forgot to mention War Games! It's one of my favorite Second Doctor stories, and I love the Second Doctor.

    @Fundy, I thought End of Time, though not without its flaws, some of them rather jarring, had a lot going for it. It was everything right, and wrong, about RTD, so as an endcap to Tennant and RTD's overall incredible run, I rate it quite highly.

    And Planet of the Spiders had some wonderful elements, though I wouldn't consider it one of the best regeneration stories. I just prefer it over Logopolis.

  8. The story in Logopolis is a hot mess, but there are certain things I love about it. I love how the Doctor is dealing with his death the whole time. I love the idea of the Watcher, because it would be creepy as hell having this spirit just silently follow you around, but they could have done so much more with it. I think the series suffered a lot from half baked ideas during this time.
    And @MyGeekLife, I completely agree about End of Time: It was like RTD threw every last idea and character he could think of into a blender and out came that serial. Utterly confusing but totally entertaining at the same time.

  9. LOL at the notion of the mindnumbingly boring Traken being better than most of the Williams era. Tee hee. If you say so, dear, personally I like to be entertained rather than bored senseless, but that's Who fans for you!

  10. I've been watching Doctor Who now for about 40 years, saw most of the classic series live on TV (3rd Doctor and beyond), and just recently came across this line by Baker's Doctor in Logopolis Episode 3, around the 21:14 mark, which I don't think has been talked about enough:

    DOCTOR: We passed through one of your voids, Monitor.

    THIS line that is barely said out loud by the Doctor explains the whole flippin' E-SPACE Trilogy and how The Doctor and Romana got lost in the first place (Full Circle, State of Decay and Warrors' Gate), which is then explained in Logopolis, 5 stories later while all that companion nonsense was going on in the background.

    I've said it time and time again, some of the writing on this show was ahead of it's time in regards to a main story arcs lasting through a season. Didn't like the execution of this dialogue, but the idea...


    And yes, the story was not a great sendoff for Tom Baker....poorly executed ideas, with the ludicrous panto Master evil plan ruining it. Baker deserved better. But hey, we said the same about Colin too right?