In part 1 we compared the character of the Doctor from Classic and New Who and his colourful rogues gallery across both series to determine which was superior. It was a victory for the Classic era. In this article we shall be looking at the companions, as well as what I feel are the greatest adventures from both series, and also the most comparable, to see which series is ultimately better.
Will it be another victory for the Classic Series or will New Who manage to claw its way back? Well lets find out in the second and final part of this series.
Companions and Friends
The basic purpose of the companion is to fulfil the role of Professor Watson to the Doctors Sherlock Holmes. They are the ordinary everyday person in awe of this genius hero, yet at the same time they also help bring him down to earth too. From a practical point of view the companions role is to ask the Doctor what is going on, and allow him to explain to the audience through them what is happening.
Over the years there have been many different types of companions, ranging from helpless damsels in distress, to savage warrior women, to aliens from outer space, to pansexual, immortal time travellers.
Now obviously there were far more companions in the classic era than there were in the revival. I will not therefore be comparing all of the companions side by side. Simply the companions from New Who, who I feel are the most comparable to a character from the Classic era.
Best Mature, Strong Female Companion: Donna Noble vs Barbara Wright
Both Donna and Barbara represent a different type of female companion to what we normally see. Most of the female companions tend to be younger and look up to the Doctor in some way. Whether that’s in a fatherly way, or because they are in love with him. Donna and Barbara however, who are more mature, are less enamoured with him and at times tend to have a more confrontational relationship with him.
Russell T Davies has even said that Donna is how the character of Barbara would be portrayed in the 21st century.
Now I am definitely giving this to the Classic era. I am not the biggest fan of Donna. I don’t dislike her or anything, but I hate her story arc.
Donna’s story see’s her get the Doctor’s powers and use them better than he does. Now as I have said before this in my opinion is a massive insult to the character of the Doctor. Its basically saying that he is useless and only a hero because of his time lord intelligence, but give that power to somebody else who is competent and they will be a better hero.
I think a lot of people like Donna because she is the only companion that doesn’t fancy the Doctor in the revival. As a classic era fan however I am used to that so Donna doesn’t really stand out for me.
Also Barbara and 1’s relationship was much better than 10 and Donna’s. It felt more natural. Not only did Barbara not keep going on about how she DIDN’T fancy William Hartnell, but it also didn’t feel like their interactions were overwritten. At times it feels like Russell T Davies was wanting us to love how cute Donna and the Doctor were together like the bit in Partners of Crime where they meet again.
Its a shame as Tennant and Tate had a perfectly fine chemistry on their own as they were both friends in real life. Never overwrite characters interactions with one another as it does just feel too smug and aware.
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Best dashing man of action best friend of The Doctor: Captain Jack vs The Brig
The Brigadier and Captain Jack Harkness are basically the same idea. On the surface they couldn’t be more different. Jack is a very emotional, over the top character (well he is John Barrowman after all!) Whilst the Brig is very much an old fashioned stiff upper lip type of character.
However at their core they are the same type of character. They are the Doctors friend who is the head of an organisation that tracks down alien threats.
Both offer up a different type of hero to the Doctor. The Doctor is a more cerebral hero like Sherlock Holmes. He uses his mind to solve problems and though he will resort to violence if he has to, he doesn’t carry weapons on him. Jack and the Brig in contrast are big action heroes who do carry guns on them and whose first reaction is to shoot. Initially they come into conflict with the Doctor as a result of their different methods, but over time the Doctor, and Jack, and the Brig come to realise that they balance each other out.
Jack and the Brig need the Doctor to work things out for them as obviously the Doctor has a greater general knowledge of the universe than any one else. However the Doctor at the same time needs them to be more of a direct hero at certain other points too.
Jack and the Brig have faced most of the Doctors worst enemies, Daleks, Cybemen and the Master and they have also saved the earth from a gigantic Demon too.
Jack’s Demon was bigger, but to be fair he just kind of let it kill him over and over until it tired himself out as opposed to blowing the shit out of it like the Brig.
Both Jack and the Brig also know the Doctor through multiple lives. In the Classic era it was almost a rite of passage for the Doctor to meet the Brigadier. I was kind of hoping that it would be that for New Who Doctors to meet Captain Jack, but sadly Jack didn’t appear with the 11th Doctor. There were actually plans for him to appear in A Good Man Goes to War but John Barrrowman was busy.
Still I think its a shame he didn’t get another story with 11, particularly as Matt Smith and John Barrowman were such close friends in real life. I reckon their chemistry would have been great on screen. I can imagine they probably would have kissed, since Jack and the 11th Doctor kiss or want to kiss everyone!
I would have loved to have seen Jack pop up in the 50th to help UNIT deal with the Zygons. John Barrowman and Ingrid Oliver who plays Osgood, are also close friends with one another too in real life.
Jack and 11 technically
Jack and Osgood technically.
Okay now who is better Jack or the Brig? Well this is a lot harder than Donna and Barbara as I absolutely love both of these characters. They are both unbelievably likable and such good foils for the Doctor in every way because they are so different to him, yet they know him so well at the same time.
Whilst I love both characters I am ultimately going to have go with the Brig here.
The Brig has a far bigger history in Doctor Who than Jack at the end of the day. Even though Jack got his own spin off series, the Brig is definitely a bigger figure in the Who mythos. He has met far more Doctors and been in far more stories of the series itself after all.
Also I feel that the Brig is actually a more interesting character anyway. The thing about the Brig that I felt made him really effective was how rigid he was. Again in contrast to the Doctor who is very much an anti establishment character, the Brig is a very by the book character who is completely and utterly devoted to the military. He always obeys orders and always thinks of things in a very militaristic way.
Sometimes this is used for comedy such as when the Brig sees a living gargoyle and states “Don’t worry we’ll soon fix him. Chap with the wings there five rounds rapid”. Or in The Three Doctors when UNIT HQ is transported to another universe and the Brig is so close minded, he can’t get his head around them not being in London never mind another universe!
At other times however his rigidness could be used to much darker effect. In Inferno we see an alternate reality version of the Brig called the Brigade Leader. Now this version of the Brig has been born into a fascist society, but he is ultimately no different to our Brig. He is the same type of man, someone who follows orders without question, except that now he is working for a corrupt regime.
We see other alternate counterparts of people who are still decent people even in this society, but the Brig is the worst of the worst. He happily murders and even tortures people just because those are his orders. It shows you how under some circumstances, someone like the Brig who never questions orders and is very close minded can be a colonial blimp, a harmless, pompous military buffoon, but under different circumstances he can be a total monster, who does the most heinous things simply because those are his orders.
Even in our universe there are moments where we see the Brig do questionable things. In Doctor Who and the SIlurians the Brigadier destroys the Silurian base. To be fair the Silurians had previously attempted to wipe but humanity, but still only a few of them had been awoken. Several thousand were still asleep in the base and had nothing to do with the few who had attempted to destroy humanity. Even among those few, there were decent ones. In fact ironically their leader who was overthrown actually saved humanity. It was he who let the Doctor go free, he who gave him the virus the Silurians were using to exterminate the human race, and it was from that sample that the Doctor was able to develop a cure.
Still the Brig slaughtered all of them because a few of their leaders had been evil. He killed thousands of innocent men, women and children whilst they were sleeping.
In this moment its not hard to see how the Brigadier could easily become the Brigade Leader if things had been different in our reality.
At the same time whilst the Brig starts out as very rigid, over the course of the series we gradually see the Doctor have a positive influence on him, to the point where he does begin to think for himself more and question orders. In the New Who this is shown to have affected his daughter who, following in her fathers footsteps, is actually able to make a positive change in how UNIT is run.
Kate Lethbridge Stewart says that her motto is science leads which she learned from her father, who in she in turn says learned it from an old friend.
Captain Jack meanwhile I don’t think had nearly as interesting a character. He wasn’t a boring character by any means, but I think he was more of a standard 90’s anti hero. Someone with a dark, mysterious past who had people who wanted to lure him back to the darkside, and people who wanted to punish him for what he had done when he was evil.
We had seen all of these kinds of things already in characters like Angel and Xena both of whom Jack was very heavily inspired by.
I think that the Brig aside from being a more important character was also a more unique and interesting character than Captain Jack too.
Having said that though I do love Jack’s theme.
Still I am going to go with the Brig here.
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Best Lovable Bumbling Idiot Companion: Mickey Smith vs Harry Sullivan
These two companions fulfil a similar role in that they are more bumbling, somewhat comical, secondary male companions alongside a more intelligent female companion who has a much closer bond with the Doctor.
Whilst these companions are often the butt of jokes from the Doctor and even looked on as being something of a moron by him at times, “Mickey the idiot” “Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!” the Doctor still nevertheless has a lot of affection for them and the two are at the very least shown to be brave, and often despite their bumbling nature, play an important role in saving the day. We see this dynamic repeated again somewhat with Rory during the 11th Doctors era.
Now once again I like both characters, but I am going to have to go with New Who here. I think that Mickey was one of the most well developed characters in the entire history of Doctor Who. When we first saw him, he was a miserable coward who was happy to leave the Doctor to die. He was utterly pathetic the way he called the Doctor a thing and clung to Rose like a child. Neither the Doctor nor the audience had much time for him, and even Rose herself looked down on him.
However by his second appearance, we see how he has become a lot stronger to the point where he risks his life to save Jacki Tyler from the Slitheen and even helps to save the world. Gradually over the course of his time on the show, we see him become a lot braver until eventually he becomes a hero in his own right, having saved a parallel earth from Cybermen all on his own. He also fights the Daleks in the climactic season 4 finale and even holds Davros at gun point.
The Mickey in “Rose” is almost a completely different character from the Mickey in “Journey’s End”.
At the same time we also see his relationship with the Doctor improve. Though the 9th Doctor and Mickey never really become friends, they do develop a grudging respect for one another. They still remain rivals however over Rose. Nevertheless by the end of the 10th Doctors era, Mickey has come to terms with the fact that his relationship with Rose has come to an end, and he and the Tenth Doctor are actually able to become friends.
In fact ironically the Tenth Doctor appears to have a very special affection for Mickey. One of my favourite moments is in Journey’s End when all of his companions are running into the TARDIS, and the Doctor is actually more pleased to see Mickey than anyone else.
Its also nice the way that when 10 is dying he decides to visit all of his best friends, and among those he visits is Mickey, showing how far the two men have come.
Harry meanwhile really had no development at all. He was really a spare part more than Mickey was. The character of Harry had only been introduced in the first place because the producers weren’t sure if the next actor to play the Doctor after Pertwee would be young enough to handle the physical aspects of the character. After the 40 year old Tom Baker was cast, then Harry it was felt was no longer needed and so he was quickly written out without much of a send off.
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Best UNIT Doctor Companion: Martha Jones vs Liz Shaw
Okay now I admit this is a very minor link between these two companions. Still I think that their characters are similar to some extent. They are both non sexualized, strong intelligent female characters who are a lot more rationale, and level headed, and resourceful, and generally tend to talk to the Doctor on a more equal footing.
Now as for which I prefer, well I am going to have to go with Martha here. I do like Liz but I think her run on tv was too short. Though in actual fact both Martha and Liz where only really there as a companion for one year, but Liz’s single season only consists of 4 stories.
Martha I think much like Mickey was simply more well developed than Liz, as we saw her change gradually throughout her time with the Doctor. I am not a fan of Doctor/Companion romances, but I think that Martha’s was definitely the best as they did not have the Doctor be in love with her.
I am not sure if I am so happy about her ending however. It was a bit much to see her with Mickey, only in the sense that it made her a Rose rebound again!
Still overall I’d say that Martha was a much better character than Liz and definitely the best companion of the revival.
I also love Martha’s theme. Its my favourite companion theme of the revival. Its just so hauntingly beautiful.
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Best Feisty Cockney Female Companion: Rose vs Ace
Ace and Rose are very similar to one another. They are both teenagers, both come from London suburbs and both are head strong and practically fearless. But which is better?
Well this is obvious for me. Its Ace all the way.
I will give Billie Piper her credit. I think that her performance and the character of Rose played a huge role in the revivals success. Piper and Davies did create a character that many young viewers, both male and female could relate to and who was in the first series very likable.
Still Rose in my opinion was a trendsetter in a bad way. She started the whole companion romance, and the companion undermining the Doctor, being the most important person in the universe and taking over the show.
Ace meanwhile was everything a female companion in Doctor Who should be. She is not a damsel in distress at all. Look at this scene where she takes on a Dalek with a baseball bat!
Lets see Jenna Coleman or Rose smash their way through a window!
Ace is also a very well developed and fleshed out character too. We see her mother and grandmother, find out about her delinquent past, see her friends, and visit her home town. However the key difference between her and a New Who companion like Rose is that she doesn’t undermine the Doctor, nor is she made out to be the pivot of the universe either.
Her home life also doesn’t drag Doctor Who into tedious soap opera territory like Rose, Donna and Clara all did either.
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Best Time Lady Companion
Of these two time ladies I am going to say that Romana was the better character. I actually quite like River. A lot of people despise River Song because they felt that she was too immature. You had Alex Kingston a woman in her 50’s, playing a character who acted like she was a 20 something.
That however was the point. River got shot in her second incarnation when she was in her early 20’s and then regenerated into a much older looking body. Thus she was a 21 year old in a 50 year old’s body. In this respect River is the opposite of the Doctor.
With the Doctor he lived to being an old man in his first incarnation so when he regenerated into a young man, he was an old man trapped in a young man’s body.
With this in mind you had quite a surreal situation when River came on to Matt Smith. At first glance it looked like an older woman chasing after a young man, but in actual fact it was a 20 something year old woman throwing herself at a man in his 70’s.
River with the 11th Doctor. But this actually the ages they really are underneath.
Still despite this River did bug me at times. I hated all of her dialogue about having mad bondage sex with the Doctor. It felt inappropriate.
Romana I found to be a much better character and whilst River’s story arc was tied up entirely with the Doctor, Romana ultimately left him to go exploring her own universe and has since been proven to be capable of carrying her own series on audio.
I think they should definitely bring Romana back on tv, and give her her own spin off. Would be a much better idea than turning the Doctor into a woman. I do wonder though if Romana did get her own spin off show we would have a string of male companions who undermined her for 8 years and even took her place in the opening credits?
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Best Victorian Era Crime Fighters: Paternoster Gang vs Jago and Litefoot
Jago and Litefoot and the Paternoster Gang are both allies of the Doctor who help him take on alien and paranormal threats in Victorian London.
Jago and Litefoot only made one appearance on television, though the intention was always that they would recur and indeed they would go on to appear in further audio adventures and even be given their own spin off series.
Of the two of them I am going to say that the Paternoster Gang were superior. I think being a Silurian and a Sontaran they were more unusual characters. I don’t think that the Silurians and the Sontarans are two that you would have ever thought to put together, but they work quite well and I feel that the Paternoster gang helps to flesh both races out as it obviously shows us another side to the Sontarans and the Silurians.
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Best Member Of The Doctors Family: Jenny or Susan
Both of these companions are the only members of the Doctors family we have seen throughout the entire 50 plus years of the shows history, though other members of his family have appeared in spin off material. Its also worth noting that the Master was supposed to be the Doctors brother originally too.
Susan is his biological grand daughter, whilst Jenny is a clone of the Doctor who is female and who is later referred to as his daughter.
Now I am going to say, as controversial as this may sound, that I vastly prefer Jenny to Susan. Most Who fans love Susan whilst a lot of people I have spoken too don’t much care for Jenny at all. Still I am going to say that Jenny is better, as Jenny actually has more of a character than Susan.
Susan is far too useless for me. Like I said there is a fine line between a Wesley Crusher, Rose Tyler and Donna Noble who undermines the lead character, and a useless wimp, and Susan just goes too much in the latter direction. I am not saying its sexist as I think the reason Susan was portrayed that way was because she was a child. Still the character didn’t really do much other than scream and cry, and Carol Anne Ford herself left the role because she felt the character was dull.
I will say that Susan’s departure from the Doctor was one of Doctor Who’s most moving moments and arguably the first Doctor William Hartnell’s best performance in the series. Every who fan knows Hartnell’s poignant goodbye speech to Susan.
Ten’s goodbye to Jenny however has sadly become notorious as an example of the Tenth Doctors hypocrisy instead. Everyone does know the “I never would” speech but its for the wrong reasons.
Still I am going to go with Jenny her as she simply has more of a character to me than Susan. Susan was surprisingly unimpressive for a time lord or time lady rather.
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Best Action Girl: Journey Blue vs Leela
Journey Blue and Leela are both more physical companions who carry weapons and use them as a first option.
Much like the Brig they are often in conflict with the more cerebral Doctor as a result of this.
Now I am a big fan of Journey. I think she would be a brilliant companion for 12 and I have suggested her as a replacement for Clara.
Still I am going to say Leela was better. Leela and the Doctor I feel was a slightly more unusual set up. With Tom’s Doctor you basically had Sherlock Holmes and with Leela you basically had Xena going on adventures together. Journey Blue on the other hand is just a generic space soldier.
Also don’t forget Leela has a character from Futurama named after her too.
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Best Robot Pet Companion: Handles vs K9
Both of these characters are really nothing more than a toy advert. Still they have their charms none the less. Of the two I am going to go with Handles however. It goes without saying that K9 is one of the biggest icons in Who history. Ironically despite the level of hate he gets, K9 is probably the thing from Doctor Who the general public would recognise the most after the Daleks, the TARDIS and the Doctor himself.
Still K9 to me really was nothing more than a novelty. Handles surprisingly I think had more depth in the sense that Handles eventually came to be the Doctors only companion during his hundreds of years of solitude. When Handles finally breaks down its a surprisingly touching moment, as the Doctor is brought to tears whilst his only companion dies. Its amazing that someone crying over a prop can actually move you rather than make you laugh. A testament to what great writing and acting can do.
K9 I don’t think ever really had a moment like that. As I said he really was just a novelty.
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Best Fiery Scots Companion: Amy Pond vs Jamie Mccrimmon
Okay I know very slight link between these two characters but what the hell.
Of the two Scots to travel with the Doctor I think that Jamie was the better character.
The only reason I am rating Jamie higher is because I think he was perhaps a bit different to the usual Doctor/male companion set up. He was more like the Doctor’s brother. Most male companions like I mentioned earlier follow the Harry Sullivan template of being a younger, more somewhat, oafish companion on the surface who plays second fiddle to the more intelligent female companion, and who is perplexed by the Doctors odd behaviour. The Doctor still has affection for him however and knows he is brave underneath. Mickey and Rory obviously follow this template to a T. Others meanwhile tend to be in conflict with the Doctor in some way like Ian, The Brig, Danny Pink.
Jamie however like I said was more like the Doctors younger brother. I think this was due to the real life friendship between Patrick Troughton who played the Second Doctor and Frazer Hines who played Jamie. It was refreshing to watch the Doctor and a male companion not squabble or fight for the attention of the female companion, but actually just be best friends.
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Doctors Best Friend: Clara Oswald vs Sarah Jane Smith
Now some people might disagree with me on this, but I’d say that across both series these two companions are the closest thing at least the Doctor as to a best friend
Sarah is there the longest out of the classic companions (though Jamie is in more episodes, Sarah is in more seasons) and the Doctor clearly has a stronger bond with her than he does with other companions too. She is in fact the first he refers to as his best friend. Clara meanwhile I think in all fairness has to take this position in new who simply because of the importance she has had in new who. She has saved him in every life, inspired him to undo the ending of the time war, convinced the time lords to give him new regenerations etc.
Now out of these two characters well its obvious that I prefer Sarah. I do like Jenna Coleman, but I think that Clara is the epitome of everything I don’t like about new who companions. Too smug and always has to undermine the Doctor.
Sarah Jane on the other hand I think is in many ways the perfect Doctor Who companion. She is brave, smart, has an undying loyalty to the Doctor and was a strong enough character to carry her own series decades later, The Sarah Jane Adventures. She also I think had brilliant chemistry with the 4 Doctors she worked alongside from Jon Pertwee to Matt Smith.
Sarah Jane and the Brigadier are really the two definitive companions. They have met the most Doctors after all, and I mean have actually worked alongside the actors, rather than just being inserted into old footage with them like Clara.
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As there are far more stories in Classic Who’s 26 year run than in the revival’s 10 year run so rather than match all of their stories side by side I am going to look at the most comparable stories and judge which is superior.
The Daleks are the Doctors greatest enemies and have appeared dozens of times across both old and new who. However which has the better Dalek stories?
Best Daleks Invade Earth Story: The Dalek Invasion Of Earth vs The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End
To be fair there have been many stories about the Daleks invading the earth over the years, but I’d say these two are by far and away the most famous, and they are also by far and away the two most comparable.
Russell T Davies even based The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End on The Dalek Invasion of Earth to some extent. Both stories involve the Daleks not only invading and conquering the earth, but actually stealing it! In The Dalek Invasion of Earth they try and remove the magnetic core of the planet and replace it with a giant motor so that they can pilot the planet anywhere in the universe, whilst in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End they catapult the entire planet across the entire universe, to use as part of an engine alongside other stolen worlds, that will allow them to destroy every universe.
Both ideas are pretty wild even by Doctor Who standards and to be honest its best not to go into these two stories expecting them to be serious science fiction. They are really both just good B-Movie type fun. They have a completely ludicrous premise, but embrace it and still manage to be entertaining not in spite, but because of their ridiculousness.
Which is better however?
Well I am going to go with New Who here for many reasons.
To start with the Daleks I think are more effective in this story. Yes okay they are dispatched far too easily at the end, but still up until that point they have never seemed more dangerous. They take over the earth effortlessly, they butcher millions of people, they dispatch UNIT with no effort, they reduce all of the Doctors companions to tears, they kill a supporting character Harriet Jones, they cost the Doctor a regeneration they overpower and outsmart and capture the Doctor, Captain Jack, Sarah Jane, Martha and Rose, they threaten every single universe and they ultimately only lose because one of their own kind, Dalek Caan turns against them. Even then the cost is huge, with millions of innocent people dead, the Doctor one incarnation down, Harriet Jones dead and Donna losing her mind.
I remember when I watched this episode with my mother who normally doesn’t have time for New Who, she still nevertheless said that the Daleks had never been scarier than they were in The Stolen Earth.
Also Julian Bleach who plays Davros is truly exceptional. Its funny the way that New Who has managed to get Davros’ character completely right in terms of performance and the writing, but with the Master they have given us a string of villains who are the Master in name only.
See for yourself
Its quite a nice touch that in Davros’s first story we see that if given the power he would happily destroy all life in the universe, whilst in Journey’s End he finally manages to do just that. The Reality bomb is the hypothetical virus the 4th Doctor talked about with him. Journey’s End brings Davros full circle.
Another enjoyable thing about Journey’s End is that it brings so many different companions together. It fun seeing the likes of Jack and Sarah two big characters share the screen, I might add that this was their only meeting too.
The Dalek Invasion of Earth meanwhile though its a fun story, it’s sadly let down by its production values. Now normally with a thing like Doctor Who, particularly Classic Who, poor production values are something you have to get used too, and they usually don’t bother me at all, but sadly this story is the exception.
This story is supposed to be the big crash, bang, wallop story where we see hundreds of Daleks blasting the shit out of buildings and big battles between humanity and their cruel, metal invaders. Sadly however we see a few scenes of people knocking Daleks over and that’s it. It feels so underwhelming and even more so now that we have seen subsequent stories about the Daleks invading the earth that really do deliver like Journey’s End and Doomsday.
Having said that the Doctor and Susan’s goodbye is far more moving than the Doctor and Rose’s, but still overall I’d say that Journey’s End is more fun.
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Best Dalek Who Saw The Light Story: Into the Dalek vs The Evil Of The Daleks.
The Daleks are all portrayed as bloodthirsty psychopaths who wish to exterminate all other life forms in the entire universe. However occasionally we will see a Dalek that has turned against the rest of its kind and is capable of emotions like compassion, and mercy. Of course none of these Daleks ever get this way simply by themselves, its always through a mutation of some kind, or even because they have been driven insane.
New Who seems to be more fond of these stories than the classic era. The only time that the classic era really ventured into that territory was with The Evil of the Daleks. Still of all their good guy Dalek stories I’d say that Into the Dalek was probably the best, but is it better than The Evil of the Daleks?
Well I’d say yes. Into the Dalek I think has actually been the best Peter Capaldi episode so far.
I do like The Evil of the Daleks and in all fairness its probably one of the most influential Doctor Who stories ever made, as it does mark the first time that we see the Daleks be capable of being benevolent.
Still I think it has a few problems compared to Into the Dalek. To start with I think at 7 episodes its a bit too long. Unlike Troughton’s other Dalek story The Power of the Daleks which I find to be pretty much perfect, Evil I think begins to drag in the middle when Jamie is having to go through all of the Daleks traps.
Into the Dalek however I think has a perfect structure. It doesn’t really drag at any point.
Also I do love the twist they put on the good guy Dalek in Into the Dalek. With other benevolent Daek stories we have simply have Daleks that become infected with humanity and get feelings. Its a bit of a cliche to have a monster become human and thus automatically nicer as a result. With this adventure however we have a Dalek that doesn’t actually become benevolent, just simply learns to hate other members of its kind.
Its a great moment when the Doctor links his mind up to Rusty thinking that the Dalek will see all of the wonders of the universe that he has seen and be moved by them, but instead all it sees is his hatred for the Daleks.
Overall I’d definitely say Into the Dalek is better so that makes this another victory for the revival.
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Best Dalek vs Dalek Story: Asylum of the Daleks vs Rememebrance of the Daleks
This time I am going to go with the Classic era story. I love Asylum of the Daleks I think it is a very underrated Dalek story, but Remembrance is still superior.
My only main problem with Asylum is that I think it forgets that the Daleks are meant to be Nazi’s. This story however has the Daleks keep the mentally ill members of their kind, the broken down, and the unstable locked up in special care on a far away planet. That kind of destroys the Nazi parallel, as the Nazi’s brutally butchered the mentally ill and the disabled in order to (in their twisted minds) keep their gene pool clean.
Remembrance meanwhile reinforces the Nazi parallel as we see the Daleks try and exterminate one another, because one group of Daleks have made improvements to their basic design and are now seen as impure by the original Daleks. On top of that, we also even see the Daleks work alongside a former Nazi collaborater who is drawn to the Daleks ideals and beliefs of racial purity.
Remembrance of the Daleks takes the creatures back to their roots as frightening allegory’s for the Nazi regime and race hatred in general, and therefore I would not only rate it above Asylum but also as one of the best Dalek stories ever made.
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Best Story With Just a Few Daleks Causing Massive Damage: The Power of The Daleks vs Dalek
Once again I am going to go with the Classic era here. The Power of the Daleks I think is one of the greatest Doctor Who stories ever made. Its depiction of the Daleks is much better than Dalek, as Dalek I feel simply portrays the Dalek as being physically powerful, but that’s it. We don’t really see how cunning they are other than in its one scene with Rose. With Power however, we see how they are able to twist the minds of everyone on the colony, both good and evil, and pit themselves against each other. I also find the Second Doctors interactions with the Daleks to be the most interesting of any Doctors, better than even the 9th Doctors.
So this another victory for the Classic era.
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Best Daleks Turning Human Beings Into Daleks Story: Bad Wolf/The Parting of The Ways vs Revelation of the Daleks
This time I am going to go with New Who. I do like Revelation of the Daleks but I feel it suffers from a number of problems. To start with the Doctor is hardly given anything to do. It is true that at the end of The Parting of the Ways, it is Rose who defeats the Daleks, but still at the very least the Doctor is a part of the story right the way through.
Also the Daleks themselves are pushed to the background a bit too much in Revelation too. They are really nothing more than grunts. In Parting of the Ways we get plenty of excellent Dalek action. This is really them at their most destructive as we see them slaughter close to 98 billion people on the earth, and of course hundreds of thousands on the station, including even Captain Jack. This marks Jack’s first death of course, after this when Rose brings him back using the power of the time vortex he always comes back to life whenever he dies.
The only problems with this two parter are the dreadful pop culture references. This was always the weakest aspect of Russell T Davies as a producer. The tedious references to, tedious reality shows that have horribly dated the show a mere 10 years on.
Still despite this I am going to say that The Parting of the Ways is the better story overall.
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Best Dalek Story Overall: Genesis of the Daleks vs Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
Personally I think that these two stories are easily the best Dalek stories in their respective series. As for which one is the best well I am going to say Genesis.
Army of Ghosts/Doomsday is Russell T Davies’s masterpiece. Its really the perfect story that has something for everyone, a great imaginative parallel universe plot, great invasion earth story, cool monster fights and even a bit of romance. Okay I am not a fan of the Doctor and Rose being in love at all, but I can’t deny that it is both well written and acted, and is a very important and iconic moment for that particular generation of Doctor Who fans.
Still I think that Genesis is really THE Dalek story and indeed the best Doctor Who story ever made. Its one of these stories where everything about it works. The sets are brilliant, the direction courtesy of David Mahoney is effective, the script is one of the best the show has ever had, the acting is all around excellent. Tom Baker is on top form here as the 4th Doctor, but I think it might be Michael Wisher as Davros who really steals the show.
All around an excellent piece of television and a real sci fi classic Genesis I don’t think will ever be topped.
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Best Low Key Dalek Story: Death to the Daleks vs Daleks in Manhatten/Evolution of The Daleks
The Dalek two parter in Manhatten for some reason is often slated as one of the worst Dalek stories ever made. Personally I like it. Yes the pig men are a bit naff, but still its a good story and the setting is very effective.
Still I am going to go with Death to the Daleks instead. To me its better as it has a very imaginative back story for the aliens the Exillons and it puts the Daleks in a somewhat unusual position of having to work with the Doctor, despite still being evil.
I also love the character of Bellal who helps the Doctor battle against the Daleks. Bellal is definitely one of the best companions we never had.
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Best Master Stories
The Master is the Doctors archenemy and in the Classic era he was among the shows most recurring enemies, topping during the 70’s and the 80’s both the Daleks and the Cybermen. There are more Master stories during the 3rd Doctors era alone than there are Dalek or Cybermen stories in the entire 70’s and almost as many Master stories during the 5th Doctors era as there are Dalek or Cybermen stories combined in the entire 80’s.
Despite this during the revival he has been used very sparingly.
We will only be looking at three Master stories from the Classic era as a result of this and compare them with the three revival Master stories.
Best Master on a barren World story: Survival vs Utopia/The Sound of Drums/ The Last of the Time Lords
Okay I admit a rather slight link, but still out of these two stories I am going to go with the classic era story Survival.
Survival is an all time classic. Its easily the best Master story of the 80’s. Anthony Ainley is allowed to play the role the way he wanted to from the start, and as a result he is more restrained, calm and menacing than in previous stories. The adventure does play a little bit fast and lose between science fiction and fantasy, with the premise being that a planet is able to possess people including the Doctor and the Master, and transform them into savage animal creatures.
Still I don’t mind that quite as much as some other people as to me Doctor Who has always walked a fine line between fantasy and science fiction anyway.
Utopia/The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords sadly is a mixed bag. The first part of the story where we are introduced to the Master played by Sir Derek Jacobi is fantastic. Of all the old villains in New Who I think that the Master was given the best introduction. Even though you knew it was coming, its still a real edge of your seat moment when Yana becomes the Master. The second part of the story meanwhile though guilty of some Davies’s annoying celebrity cameos, is still a good episode that shows us the Master at his manipulative best. He manages to not only turn the Doctors companions family against him, but also dupe the entire United Kingdom into voting for him as prime minister.
Sadly however it all falls apart rather spectacularly in the third part. When we see the Master shrink the Doctor and stuff him in a bird cage, it just becomes a total parody. Worse still however is when everyone actually prays to the Doctor and he rises through the air as a space Jesus.
I honestly don’t know how no one during the production thought “hang on a minute this looks a bit naff”.
Its possibly the most unintentionally hilarious moment in who history and that is saying A LOT.
I also think Simm’s performance is a bit too over the top in the final episode. He is great in The Sound of Drums and I do like the Simm Master overall, but sadly in the last episode I think Davies writes the Master as being too much of a pantomime villain at times. The worst bit is when the Master is mincing through the streets searching for Martha Jones screaming “come out little girl come and meet your lord and Master” though in all fairness I think some of the other characters dialogue is worse “He never walks upon the ground, he walks among us our lord and Master.” Who honestly talks that way?
Ultimately whilst it would be wrong to completely dismiss the season 3 finale just because the final episode is weak, Survival overall is a much better story.
I think you can see a key difference between old and new who in these two scenes here. In New Who everything has to be so big all of the time.
In New Who, the Master vs the Doctor has to have the Master age the Doctor, wreck devastation upon the entire earth, involve millions of people in the crossfire, have the companion go on the run.
Old Who just has the Doctor and the Master fight one another in the quiet London suburbs, where no one is watching, and then on a far away alien planet with virtually no one else around.
Personally I think this is a big advantage Old Who has over New Who as I think that New Who, as seen with “The Last of the Time Lords” often writes itself into a corner because everything has to be so big. At the end of “The Last of the Time Lords” because the Master has virtually wiped out the earth, everything has to be undone leading to the awful Deux Machina ending. With Survival however we don’t have to do that, as its all very low key.
Best Final Doctor Story With The Master: Logopolis vs The End of Time
Now this is a hard one to choose as I am not particularly fond of either of these stories to be honest. They both have ludicrous moments, whether that is the Master threatening the entire universe on a tape recorder, or the Master turning everyone on earth into copies of himself.
I will say that I think the Master is a better villain in The End of Time. Even with his ridiculous plot to turn everyone into his clones, he is still a more nuanced character. In The End of Time we find out that he was driven insane by the time lords themselves, who when he was a youth implanted a signal in his head that he wasn’t aware of, that was the source of the drumming in his head that tormented him and drove him insane.
At the end of the story when the Master discovers this he turns on the time lords and actually sacrifices himself to save the Doctors life. Sadly this was not followed up on when Missy returned many years later, but still its a brilliant moment even with that.
In Logopolis the Master is just a psychopath and his plan really makes no sense at all. Simm’s actually does. Okay its ridiculously over the top, but still turning everyone on earth into his clone would give him an army at least, where as Ainley’s Master’s plan in Logopolis is just plain silly.
Still at the same time Tom Baker’s Doctor’s death is certainly a lot better handled than Tennant’s Doctor who goes out in a sea of self pity, whining and crying.
So on the one hand the Doctor is better written in Logopolis, but on the other the master is better written in The End of Time?
Well I am going to call this for the first time ever a draw.
Best Controversial Master Comeback Story: The Deadly Assassin vs Dark Water/Death in Heaven
Now both of these stories which marked the first appearance of the Master after a long absence provoked extreme outrage from both the fans and mainstream audiences for many reasons.
In the Deadly Assassins case it provoked outrage among mainstream audiences for its violent content, whilst fans were angry at the way it rewrote certain aspects of Gallifreyan lore. Death in Heaven meanwhile provoked outrage from mainstream audiences, due its controversial ideas about the dead still being aware and able to feel pain, whilst fans generally hated what it did to the Master and the Brigadier.
Obviously I despise Dark Water/Death in Heaven. In my opinion its the worst Doctor Who story ever made. It turns the Master into a kinky Mary Poppins, the Brigadier into a Zombie Iron man, and it panders to third wave feminism as much as Ghostbusters 2016.
Even if the Deadly Assassin wasn’t an all time classic, it would still be better than this story, as its virtually impossible to be worse than Dark Water/Death
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Best Cybermen Invade The Earth Story: The Invasion vs Age of Steel/Rise of the Cybermen
Again to be fair there are many stories about the Cybermen invading the earth but I think these two are probably the best.
Both are such excellent stories though sadly, whilst they are not hated, they are in my opinion criminally overlooked. Both feature the Cybermen at their best and fantastic human villains for them to play off of too in the shape of Tobais Vaughan and John Lumic.
Ultimately however I am going to go with the Invasion. Vaughan is a better villain than Lumic and I think this story has a certain 60’s charm about it, plus the scene where the Cybermen march out en masse in front of St Paul’s Cathedral is truly one of the most iconic moments in Who history.
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Best Cyberman Story Set In The Past/ Silver Nemesis vs The Next Doctor
Okay I realize this is stretching it a bit as Silver Nemesis is only partly set in the past. I suppose another similarity these stories both have is that they both feature a female villain who undermines the Cybermen greatly.
Of the two of them I’d definitely say that The Next Doctor was better. I love the Next Doctor I think its great fun and even though the Cybermen are undermined for miss Hartigan at the end. Up until then I think that they are effective villains in The Next Doctor, such as during the scene in the graveyard.
Sadly however the Cybermen are just complete doofuses throughout Silver Nemesis.
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Best Low Key Cybermen Story: Closing Time vs Tomb of the Cybermen
This is an obvious victory to Tomb of the Cybermen. I actually don’t mind Closing Time. As a story its quite fun because of Matt Smith and James Corden’s chemistry, but as a Cyberman story its falling a bit short. They basically do nothing and then get beaten up by a baby. I am not sure if that, or being Missy’s mooks is the low point of the Cybermen’s career?
Tomb on the other hand is the high point of their career. Its a fantastic, atmospheric, story that portrays the Cybermen as they should be, eerie almost cybernetic zombies that attack people in packs, never saying anything, and are fiendishly clever and determined. This story also plays up the horror of Cyber conversion too and we even see someone partially converted.
Definitely a victory for the classic era here.
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Best Multi Doctor Stories
Best Anniversary Story: The Three Doctors vs The Day of The Doctor
Now this is a very hard one to choose as I love both stories. Both not only do their job as a wonderful celebration of the past, but also actually manage to move the show forward at the same time, as The Three Doctors resolves the story arc about the Doctor being exiled to earth, whilst The Day of the Doctor resolves the story arc of the time war and sets up a new one of the Doctor trying to find Gallifrey.
I will say that the Three Doctors has a better central villain in the form of Omega, but still Day of the Doctor has to take this I think the scene where all 13 Doctors save Gallifrey is possibly the best scene in the entire history of Doctor Who in my opinion. It just sums up the character of the Doctor better than anything, showing how he never gives up, never plays by the rules, and always finds a way out that eludes everyone else. The fact that we see all incarnations of the Doctor from Hartnell to Capaldi act this way only reinforces this idea.
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Best Two Doctors Story: The Two Doctors vs Time Crash
Once again I am going to give this to the New Who. I like Time Crash better as I think it gives the two Doctors a chance to interact with one another more. In The Two Doctors Colin Baker and Patrick Troughton are barely in it together which is a shame. I do still enjoy The Two Doctors as it has one of Colin’s best performances. Here I think we get to see a more compassionate side to his Doctor and also Jacqueline Pearce as always is an excellent villain.
Still Time Crash takes this as it allows its Doctors a chance to interact with one another much better.
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Classic Who takes this and its not even close 22-16 when you count the scores of both articles together. Shame as whilst I always knew that Classic would probably win, I hoped it would be closer.
Of course I still love New Who and remember that New Who has only been on for 10 years, and has actually only had 8 seasons so far. We wouldn’t even be at Tom Baker’s era by now.
Still so far for me the best Doctor Who series is definitely the original.