Here’s a heeping helping of another half-dozen hopefuls helping to countdown the hierachy of Who. Hooray?
#48 — The Snowmen — One thing which this Christmas Special had going against it was that it wasn’t a stand-alone story not associated with a Series just past but instead was a bridge between Series 7A and 7B. It also has an unusual story weighting featuring Clara (and the Paternoster Gang) early on as much as it did as well as a thoroughly withdrawn Doctor. But when events start moving, it really is one of the most ‘magical’ of Doctor Who stories, and that counts for a lot.
#47 — Spearhead from Space — Unique stories in the history of Doctor Who always deserve a bit of recognition here at THT Towers and this story has it in spades. The 1st Pertwee, 1st in color, 1st all-film. While it is atypical for the Pertwee era, nothing signaled the abrupt turn in style and what Doctor Who could be more than Spearhead.
#46 — Vengeance on Varos — The highest rated Colin Baker story in the list, and isn’t that saying something, has a very clear idea of what it’s all about, like it or not, and given its inclusion on the list, we do. Is it overly nasty and a little too in love with the violence it also decries at various stages? Yes, and that’s the point. Sil is such a unique antagonist that he could only have existed in the mid-80’s.
#45 — The Masque of Mandragora — A charming example of that Doctor Who specialty, the pseudo-historical. Look … Masque is an above average story during one of Doctor Who’s most fertile and creative runs. It’s got Norman Jones, Tim Piggot-Smith, oodles of court intrigue, and just enough Portmeirion to make a fan of the Prisoner a little dusty. It’s also the penultimate story for SJS, need we say more?
#44 — Thin Ice — An unintended twinning with the previous entry, Thin Ice seems to be last great pseudo-historical made, probably in no small part because it feels so damn traditional in the ‘classic’ Who sense. And it’s full of heart, particularly because Capaldi looks great in period dress and has a distinctive glint in his eye.
#43 — The Time Meddler — Again … accident is no feat of design. The Time Meddler was the first pseudo-historical, marking a new direction for the series going forward, and quite nearly a black comedy to boot. Peter Butterworth as the Meddling Monk brought a lightness in tone and William Hartnell responded in kind. Butterworth was so successful, he was brought back the next season to help elongate The Daleks Master Plan to epic proportions.
Thar ye be.