Since we’ve explored the worst of the Second Doctor, we can now explore his best!
Welcome to the seventh instalment of WBW Tops! After much consideration, I have decided to do another Second Doctor list. After all, I could only find five bad Troughton stories, so which ones do I really enjoy? Well, I’ll pick ten and we’ll go from there. This might be harder than I thought because the Second Doctor is my favorite.
#10: THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN (1967)
When I originally did my maxi review of this serial, I praised it for it’s “unusual setting; huge and threatening monster; creepy malefactor; clear storytelling; and that killer concurrence of personal peril with widespread jeopardy.” It’s so unfortunate this serial is almost completely missing from the BBC Archives. If I had more of the visuals, this story would be so much higher on the list. But as it stands, it just barely makes my list.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Abominable Snowmen!]
#9: THE ICE WARRIORS (1967)
While this story is more complete, I feel it sags in the middle. I recall dozing off at some point during episode 2 or 3. This seems to be the trouble with a lot of stories longer than four parts. Still, I will praise the Ice Warriors themselves, the TARDIS Trio was on form as always, and I’ll even say that the animated episodes look alright (though compared to earlier and especially later productions, the animation does look a little cheap). It’s the length that really kills this one.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Ice Warriors!]
#8: FURY FROM THE DEEP (1968)
Fury from the Deep is a bit of a tough one to talk about. Mainly the issue is that the entire serial is missing. But the late Victor Pemberton penned a very interesting tale. Aside from creating the Sonic Screwdriver, we got seaweed creatures and one of the creepiest 60 seconds in the show’s history. I would really love for at least episode 6 to turn up some day, just so we can see Victoria’s departure. But as it stands, I can’t give it too much of a fair shot against other stories.
[Check out the Who Back When review of Fury From The Deep!]
#7: TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN (1967)
Here’s a fantastic Cybermen story. Tomb of the Cybermen is my third favorite Cybermen tale from the Second Doctor’s era. I even considered this to be the ultimate Cyberman serial. Why the change in opinion? Because at this point, I have seen everything. I suppose one reason I thought that was because this is the only 60’s Cybermen story that is 100% complete. I love the scene in episode three between the Doctor and Victoria. It’s a bit sad but gives a ray of sunshine and one of the best Doctor Who quotes of all time. It’s so good it was reused almost word for word in the most recent series of Doctor Who when the Thirteenth Doctor was asked about her family.
[Check out the Who Back When review of Tomb Of The Cybermen!]
#6: THE INVASION (1968)
The Invasion is probably the best Earth Invasion plot Doctor Who had done up to that point. We have no clue who the enemy is here. Sure, we have Tobias Vaughn and his crony Packer as very good villains on their own, but the reveal of the Cybermen halfway through the serial must have been a shock to those who had no clue that they were returning. Add that this was the first proper UNIT prototype story, and you have a recipe for success.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Invasion!]
#5: THE WEB OF FEAR (1967)
This sequel story to The Abominable Snowmen was one of the early prototypes for future stories that involved UNIT on Earth as it introduced Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (a Colonel in this story). Even though Episode Three is still missing, that doesn’t take away from the story at all. It does what Doctor Who excels at: it makes the ordinary creepy. The writers made the London Underground creepy! Heck, the sets were so real-looking that the people who run the Underground thought the BBC filmed down there without their permission! Now that’s good set design.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Web Of Fear!]
#4: THE MIND ROBBER (1968)
Now this story was just out there. It went balls to the wall with its concepts and wasn’t afraid to do so. They decided to throw in just about everyone from Princess Rapunzel, Sir Lancelot, Gulliver, and even Blackbeard! Heck, even the way they wrote out Frazer Hines for a couple episodes was a brilliant way to do so. With cliffhangers that boggle the mind and ideas that are so far out there, it’s no wonder this little oddity makes it to my list. Who can resist this candy coated heart of darkness wrapped in the pages of classic literature?
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Mind Robber!]
#3: THE ENEMY OF THE WORLD
In a season filled to the brim with odd monsters and bases under siege, we got this story where it’s almost like Doctor Who tried to do James Bond. With Troughton pulling double duty playing the sinister Ramon Salamander, you really couldn’t go wrong. This story was missing for so long, people didn’t begin to praise it heavily until the whole story was recovered in 2013. I would still say this is the black sheep of Season 5 because it’s not a base under siege story like many of the other ones from that year.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Enemy of The World!]
#2: THE POWER OF THE DALEKS
This serial takes the #2 spot on the list simply because of what this serial did for the show. It needed to be a Dalek story and the first post regeneration story. But at this point, we have no clue who this new Doctor is yet. Is he loopy? Is he musical? Does he love hats? But I’m sure you’re probably wondering why this serial appears here and The Evil of the Daleks does not. This serial features subtle Daleks while Evil of the Daleks has more loose Daleks. The Daleks were absent for a bit of Evil (namely when they were testing Jamie) and their plan didn’t really make practical sense there. This story features Daleks who are cunning and discreet about their true motives. A subtle Dalek is a way more dangerous Dalek to me. I’m sure I’ve droned on enough about this story in past lists, so let’s move on.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Power of The Daleks!]
#1: THE MOONBASE (1967)
This is what I consider to be the best Second Doctor story. In the tales previous, we have no clue what this Doctor is really like. He seems to love his hats and disguises, not to mention his recorder. But here, we finally get the more serious Second Doctor. The Second Doctor is finally out of his growing phases when faced with the Cybermen for the first time. Speaking of the Cybermen, I love the redesign and I consider them the definitive version of the Cybermen. Though the story itself is a basic base under siege one, it does something different with the concept. It’s on the moon. Most base under siege stories happen on Earth. They can range from the mountains of Tibet to the far frozen future. The moon is a place where you have limited options. With no help and no rescue rocket, the situation seems pretty bleak. It’s my favorite Second Doctor story and I consider it to be the best to feature the Cybermen in the Classic Era.
[Check out the Who Back When review of The Moonbase!]
HONORABLE MENTION: THE QUEEN OF TIME (2013)
While this list is mainly for my favorite TV stories featuring the Second Doctor, his appearances in the Big Finish Lost Stories range should be mentioned. My favorite of his Lost Stories appearances has to be in The Queen of Time. This right here is The Celestial Toymaker done right. That is, if the Celestial Toymaker was a woman obsessed with clocks and time. With Frazer Hines doing a very good impression of Troughton and Caroline Faber as the Queen of Time herself, this story should have been realized on TV.
What are your favorite Second Doctor stories? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time!