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  1. #1
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    Default Season 14... is it all that?

    Season 14 is often held up as the pinnacle of the classic run of Doctor Who. Better than all the rest, apparently. As good it as it ever got.

    Now why? What does it do that's so much better than the rest? What is about this season to explain its enduring appeal to Doctor Who fans?

    And do you agree?

  2. #2
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    This was the one that had DWAS more or less up in arms at the time wasn't it? I know Iain (Logo) once very kindly sent me a copy of the article written in their newsletter at the time, criticising The Deadly Assassin.

    It would be interesting, if anybody has them scanned in, to put up the DWAS 'official opinions' for this season, to see what we think. From memory, the now well-regarded Robots and Talons were not very popular (officially) at the time.

    For me, it's where I can start to remember watching Who from - the end of Hand of Fear, Assassin's cliffhangers, and Robots and Giant Rats.

  3. #3
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    Personally, while there are several great stories in there I think it's the patchiest of the 3 Hinchcliffe seasons. I've never been a huge fan of Face Of Evil, and as for The Deadly Assassin...well, I suppose that depends on my mood; I'd rate Mandragora over both of them. Overall the season pales in comparison to S13, which is the greatest one of them all imo.

  4. #4
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    I've always found S14 to be a bit of a mixed bag - it has some fantastic stories (Deadly Assassin, Robots of Death), one extremely overrated story (Talons) and several that I feel fairly "meh" about (Mandragora, Hand of Fear, Face of Evil)

    IMHO, it's by no means the fantastic season that many people seem to rave about

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  5. #5
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    The only story I don't rate all that highly is Masque but the season just gets better after that and is top notch.
    Last edited by duncan; 14th Sep 2011 at 8:42 AM.
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  6. #6
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    I don't think it's necessarily about the stories in particular, but about the feel that the series was generating. Season 13 perhaps has more consistently good stories, but Season 14 begins with a Doctor/companion team that is riding the success of the previous year and quite obviously at the absolute top of their game. You then have a slightly disappointing story that is nonetheless always going to be well-regarded as this particular companion's swansong, then the first and only Doctor-only story in the entire classic run (not counting stories where the Doctor arrives alone and the 'companion' only becomes such at the end of the four episodes), followed by the introduction of another brilliant companion, played by possibly the best actress ever to have had a regular role in the series, and generating a whole new Doctor-companion dynamic, and for three stories their story becomes the most important thing ... but the quality of the stories this little character dynamic happens across is never diminished by the approach (unlike, maybe, in more recent times). So it's probably the fact that the series is maintaining a quality while not resting on its laurels that places it more highly in a lot of people's opinion. I love it, and for what it's worth, I think Talons is the greatest story in the entire 48 years of Doctor Who and Robots isn't far behind.

  7. #7
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    A very poor start to the season; in fact it doesn't get started until Deadly Assassin, at which point you get a decent-enough story (Face Of Evil) and three of the all-time Who classics.

  8. #8
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    I think Season 14 is by and large an excellent season and certainly deserves its reputation. There's no denying it is one of the most consistent seasons of the show and it is on the whole excellently made and there are some magnificent stories within it.

    That said I don't think it should be held up as the pinnacle of what Doctor Who is. I think this is what has always annoyed me about the way the Hinchcliffe years are held up within fandom. This season is the culmination of the Holmes/ Hinchcliffe approach to Doctor Who and while that's on the whole a very good way to make Doctor Who it is worth remembering that it's not the only way or even the best way to do it. They pushed the show as far as they could in one way and this had huge consequences for the history of the show afterwards.

    Now I'm not denying that they made a quality product, but the more I've read about Hinchcliffe's flagrant disregard for budgets worries me. I understand why he did it and why he made Talons such a quality product, but this had huge knock on effects for Graham Williams. It wasn't his most professional moment and seems in hindsight to have a touch of spite in it- I'm moving on, so lets spend all we can and damn the consequences... maybe.

    And then you have fandom, a few years later remembering these shows and wanting all Doctor Who to be like this. We'll never know for sure, but I have a feeling that if Hinchcliffe had stayed on we'd have had him pulling in a slightly different direction the next year. Talons is actually more in the spirit of the Williams era than it is generally given credit for- it's a literary spoof rather than horror film pastiche- in the same way Androids of Tara is and there's a real vein of humour running through it too- maybe not as persuasive as that of the Williams era, but it's getting there.

    So what's my point? Ermm, it's good but it's not the be all and end all of Doctor Who.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    I have a feeling that if Hinchcliffe had stayed on we'd have had him pulling in a slightly different direction the next year. Talons is actually more in the spirit of the Williams era than it is generally given credit for- it's a literary spoof rather than horror film pastiche- in the same way Androids of Tara is and there's a real vein of humour running through it too- maybe not as persuasive as that of the Williams era, but it's getting there.
    Oddly enough, Hinchcliffe is on record as saying he was planning an Allan Quatermain pastiche for his fourth series in charge, had he stayed on. Which would certainly have moved him even further into Graham Williams territory.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    Now I'm not denying that they made a quality product, but the more I've read about Hinchcliffe's flagrant disregard for budgets worries me. I understand why he did it and why he made Talons such a quality product, but this had huge knock on effects for Graham Williams. It wasn't his most professional moment and seems in hindsight to have a touch of spite in it- I'm moving on, so lets spend all we can and damn the consequences... maybe.
    Well as JR points out, the plan was that Hinchcliffe was planning to stay on another year, and aparrently only learned he wasn't when Williams turned up at the Doctor Who office one morning and introduced himself as the new producer.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiHart View Post
    Now I'm not denying that they made a quality product, but the more I've read about Hinchcliffe's flagrant disregard for budgets worries me. I understand why he did it and why he made Talons such a quality product, but this had huge knock on effects for Graham Williams. It wasn't his most professional moment and seems in hindsight to have a touch of spite in it- I'm moving on, so lets spend all we can and damn the consequences... maybe.
    Sounds suspiciously like Gordon Brown's attitude to running the UK

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