In January 2018 I began watching every episode of Doctor Who in chronological order, at the rate of one per week. I wrote reviews of the first two seasons for Whotopia, supplementing my concise comments on individual stories in the Doctor Who Ratings Guide. Whotopia is no longer around so I have decided to make some brief comments on Season 3 in this blog.
This is Doctor Who’s longest season with forty five episodes comprising ten stories. They include shortest and longest stories, one being a prequel to the other and not featuring any of the TARDIS crew. Everything else is four episodes, the ideal length, suiting the reduction to three regular characters. There is a wonderful diveristy in scope and format, ranging chronologically from Ancient Egypt to 700 years after Earth’s destruction and stylistically from comedy to gritty drama.
More than the first two seasons it is noticably influenced by society. There are strong female characters, more adult messages, and criticism of apartheid plus a greater reliance on television and film sources. One of the themes is challenging perceptions and this is apt because of a view that William Hartnell was in poor health. Nonsense. He gives some of his strongest performances towards the end of this season.
Season Three shows the infinite possibilities of the show’s premise. Unconstrained in its ambition, despite sometimes being unrealistic and inconsistent, it is both engaging and entertaining.