Doctor Who: Fourteenth Series Summary
The Fourteenth Series had a hello, a goodbye, and an experiment. It also was par for the course for the Timestamps Project.
The first two episodes were a farewell to a loved companion. Sarah Jane Smith was smart and strong, and was very capable. She also had fantastic chemistry with the Fourth Doctor. Her departure was simultaneously sad and humorous – “He blew it!” – but it was a long time coming for the franchise. Elisabeth Sladen’s run was the longest to this point in the franchise, and as amazing as she was, it was time for a change.
The final three episodes were a welcome for Leela, a character who is still settling for me. In some ways, she’s very much like Sarah Jane in her strength and inqusitive nature. She’s also impulsive and quick on the draw, often with fatal results. I’m looking forward to how she evolves over the next season.
The low point, relatively speaking, is the story in the middle: The Deadly Assassin. It was the first (and only) story in the classic series to feature the Doctor on a solo mission, and while it was a story rich in franchise mythology, I didn’t find it to be particularly strong. Additionally, it made clear that the Doctor is too strong a presence to not be balanced by a companion. Or, in years past, companions. The Doctor is a god in a machine, a literal deus ex machina, and his companions humanize him enough to be a relatable and loveable hero.
The reasons that I called this series par for the course of the Timestamps Project is because its score is the average of all of the series to date. That tells me that the franchise is in its stride, but that it also has plenty of room to grow. I hope that it continues to do so.
By the numbers, this series’s performance is exactly the same as the Thirteenth: On par with the Seventh and Tenth, and tied for fifth overall behind the Twelfth, Fifth, Eleventh, and Ninth, in ascending order.
The Masque of Mandragora – 4
The Hand of Fear – 4
The Deadly Assassin – 3
The Face of Evil – 4
The Robots of Death – 4
The Talons of Weng-Chiang – 4
Series Fourteen Average Rating: 3.8/5
UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Horror of Fang Rock
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.
6 thoughts on “Timestamp: Fourteenth Series Summary”
I continue to be fascinated by your analyses and how iconoclastic they are. For my money, Masque of Mandragora is the low point of the season and Talons of Weng-Chiang is one of the all-time Who greats. I’m intersted to see how you’ll take the change in tone that Graham Williams will bring next season.
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