Timestamp: Fifth Series Summary

Doctor Who: Fifth Series Summary

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I am of two minds with this series/season. Before I get there, I do realize that I’ve been using the terms series and season interchangeably. The TARDIS wiki that I use as the reference for Timestamps tends to call the classic years by season and the new years by series. Most BBC shows I’ve watched tended to use series regardless of production year, so I tend to use series more frequently. I may eventually settle on a standard, but I think it’s pretty clear what I’m talking about within the confines of Timestamps, especially since I hyperlink frequently.

On to Series Five…

Starting with the negative, the entire group of stories was in the “base under siege” style. From what I understand, this was a move to save money and time, especially since the show was constantly under the threat of cancellation. This set was also mostly reconstructions, and none of the stories were known to have survived the BBC’s tape purges until the 1990s when The Tomb of the Cybermen was unearthed. Between the repetitive storylines and the visuals of the reconstructions, it was difficult to be motivated to watch. I did, however, try to be fair by judging each story on its own merits rather than judging it against the feel of the series overall.

On a tangent, I do need to revisit The Enemy of the World and The Web of Fear at some point in the future since they have been recently discovered.

On the positive, this was one of the strongest set of performances in the show so far. The scores reflect that, with Fury from the Deep taking the low end with a middle of the line rating. When compared against the Second Doctor’s serials in the fourth series, it’s also a strong improvement. This series received the top average of any series so far.

The top score don’t necessarily mean that I like the Second Doctor more, though. Hartnell’s Doctor was very strong even when his stories were not, and in his curmudgeonly yet caring grandfatherly portrayal, he brought to the show what was needed to get it moving. Troughton’s Doctor has been a different take that keeps the undercurrent of grumpiness with a whimsy and childlike outlook that makes the lead character relatable in what was historically a children’s show. The First Doctor made audiences identify with the companions as they explored time and space, and the Second Doctor (so far) makes audiences identify with the team as a whole. Whether it was intentional or accidental, it is a beautiful formula that I have enjoyed watching develop.

I’m looking forward to watching it continue to grow as the sixth series starts, and I’m also looking forward to saying goodbye to the reconstructions as Timestamps enters the homestretch of the Second Doctor’s adventures.


The Tomb of the Cybermen – 5
The Abominable Snowmen – 4
The Ice Warriors – 4
The Enemy of the World – 5
The Web of Fear – 4
Fury from the Deep – 3
The Wheel in Space – 4

Series Five Average Rating: 4.1/5


UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Dominators


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.


14 thoughts on “Timestamp: Fifth Series Summary

  1. On season vs series even British guidebooks make the distinction. It appears to be because the original series ran (mostly) year long. The British tend to use the term “season” for that. Most BBC shows now are basically mini-series that last anywhere from 6 to 13 episodes. They tend to use “series” for those.

    As to your analysis, I’m completely onboard with you. I find that the stories in season 5 really drag, but I noticed that watching the complete versions of Enemy of the World and Web of Fear that they are far more interesting when you have the visuals. This season would definitely be due for a re-evaluation if it was all found.

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