Doctor Who – Helping Current Fans with the Classics – Season 2

Another rapid fire catch up from the Whoniverse. This post is for those who would like to know what happened in the early years of Doctor Who, but don’t have the time (or patience) to watch them. So once again, spoiler alert. Frankly, this stuff has been around for almost 50 years. This time I’m tackling season 2, with 10 adventures spanning 39 episodes.

The Doctor

1st Doctor – William Hartnell with Dracula, Frankenstein, and a Dalek

The Doctor is still played by William Hartnell is this season. First off, if this picture seems odd and you think that the Doctor and a Dalek wandered onto a horror movie set than you are wrong. This is a picture from an actual 2nd season episode (more on that later). His portrayal of the Doctor starts to change a bit. His crankiness factor has definitely diminished. There are times where he’ll be doing an aside about his current situation and he’ll start giggling about how extraordinary everything around him is. During these little bouts of giggling I can’t help but think of Yoda when we are first introduced to him. When comparing the characterization of the Doctor to the first season it would seem that he may even be going a little senile and he is quick to anger if someone disagrees with him or gets in his way.

Companions

– Susan Foreman (10 adventures)

Farewell, Susan

The season starts where the last one left off with Susan, Barabara and Ian as the Doctor’s companions, but that quickly changes. At the end of the second adventure of the season we say goodbye to the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan. She stays behind on Earth in the year 2164 A.D. partly because she falls in love. Also, she feels that she hasn’t been able to stay any place or time for that long. She feels like she finally has found a place that she can call home. Once the whole Time Lord information comes to light I would like to see what has happened to Susan. I have no familiarity with much of Doctor Who stories between this season and the current relaunch, so that may actually occur. We’ll just have to wait and see.

– Vicki

Vicki – The Doctor’s 4th Companion

Susan is replaced in the following adventure named “The Rescue” by Vicki. Her and a man named Bennett are the only two survivors of a space crash on the planet Dido. Having no living family members and nothing left for her on Dido Vicki joins our time travelers in the TARDIS. She’s pretty much Susan right down to approximate size. The only difference is that Vicki doesn’t go around yelling “Grandfather.”

– Barbara Wright & Ian Chesterton (16 Adventures)

Back to being school teachers.

I’ve still listed Barbara and Ian in the same section for companions, because they went on all the same adventures together. They make it through most of the second season until they encounter the Daleks for the 3rd time (that’s reason enough for anyone to want to leave) . After the Daleks have been defeated both Ian and Barbara take their time machine since they can actually control where and when it goes (more on that later) and go back to 1965 England.

– Steven Tyler

The Doctor’s 5th Companion

In the same adventure that Ian and Barbara leave, the Doctor is joined by Steven Tyler……. Wait a minute. That’s not right. Let me try that again.

– Steven Taylor

The Doctor’s 5th Companion

In the same adventure that Ian and Barbara leave the Doctor is joined by Steven Taylor. That’s better. Steven was on the planet Mechanus where he was being held captive by the Mechonoids. The Doctor and his companions help Steven escape. He stows away in the TARDIS and becomes the 5th companion to the Doctor. Steven is obviously a replacement for Ian, but is much more independent and bullheaded than Ian was.

The two new companions are both Earthlings, but they are both from our future which is an interesting change. Especially they both are originally from a time in the future after Earth has developed the technology to travel to different planets. I find this choice particularly interesting since all of the regular companions in the current series are all from present time Earth. I’m curious to see if that will ever be the case.

Adventures

The adventures start getting more interesting (and sometimes silly) in this season. The premise of straight up time traveling shenanigans become less frequent. The first adventure involves the TARDIS materializing in the present (1964) at the size of ants. As you may have assumed the Daleks show up again not once but twice in this season. The first time the TARDIS lands in England in the year 2164 A.D. where the Daleks have taken over. Their reasoning was to destory the core of the Earth and replace it with a guidance system to pilot the planet around space (which sounds like a joke on my part, but this is 1960’s TV sci-fi).

In the second adventure, known as “The Chase,” the Daleks have developed their own time machine and are planning to find the Doctor and destroy him….I mean exterminate, exterminate him. This adventure was particularly thrilling because our time traveling characters weren’t in any place/time for that long. They materialized on the Empire State Building, on the ship Mary Celeste, and in the castle of both Frankenstein and Dracula (picture above).  What was funny about the ship, which I didn’t know before, was that the Mary Celeste was found unmanned in the ocean and no one knows why. When the Daleks show up on the ship everyone jumps overboard, this may be one of the first instances in Doctor Who where some event in the show explains a historical mystery. The horror castle of Frankenstein and Dracula turned out to be an attraction where the monsters are actually robots, unbeknownst to any of the  characters (the Doctor thought it was the power of the human mind bringing them to life). All in all it was an actual enjoyable adventure that could have held it’s own in the current series.

There are a few adventure that take place in the past including the Doctor inadvertently giving Nero the idea to burn down Rome and a visit to the Crusades. There is one adventure named “The Time Meddler” where the Doctor and his companions (Vicki and Steven at this point) come across another Time Lord with another TARDIS. Mind you they still have not mentioned Time Lords or Gallifrey yet, but they do admit that he is the same as the Doctor. They only refer to him as the Monk since the year is 1066 A.D. and the Time Lord has disguised himself as such. He apparently travels through time and tries to speed up the prosperity of mankind. The Doctor ends up pulling out the dimensional controller out of the Monk’s TARDIS so that the ship remains too small for him to enter. This keeps the Monk stuck in that time and place.

Lastly, there was one adventure in particular where I thought the show went completely ridiculous and that is in “The Web Planet.” The only part of this story that was bonkers was the alien races. One race  being the ant-like Zarbi:

Ant bodies with human legs and no working arms.

The other main race being the Menoptra:

Man in bee pajamas.

Granted I know that this is 1960’s TV sci-fi but I can still laugh about it. Anyway, my last recap post before I start a daily classic Doctor Who viewing diary coming real soon. Stay tuned after that it’s going to get crazy.

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