Season 18

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My rewatch has reached Season 18 and this is where my fandom began. This was the first series I wanted to watch though I’d watched bits before as my Dad did watch it if he was around. Sure a lot of the harder concepts went over my head but lizard men, a talking cactus, swamp creatures and vampires kept my young mind engaged and I’ve never missed a new episode since.
Watching in order can be a bit of a shock, the difference between Nimon and Leisure Hive is vast from the new music to the whole feel of the show.
Leisure Hive is a nice little story with enough intrigue and some great scenes. The direction is beautiful and all the performances are spot on. Tom’s more subdued and sombre Doctor is a throwback to his first seasons and he’s great as the aged Doctor.
Meglos follows and it’s a by the numbers story but what’s not to love about a talking cactus and gives Tom the chance to play evil,  it feels like a s17 story given a polish.
Full Circle comes next and it’s another cracker, the marshmen are a great monster and even Adric is a bearable character. The story feels like a classic story even though some of the evolution logic is a bit suspect.
State of Decay is the vampire story and it’s another favourite,  it looks very hammeresque but is done so well with the nice twist of the revelation about the spaceship and ties to Time Lord mythology.
Warriors Gate would have gone so far over my head back in 1981 but is definitely a story that I love now. It’s playing with time in a way we’re very used to in the new series but surprisingly wasn’t done much in the orginal series. The imagery is evocative and the story fires the imagination.
Keeper of Traken sees Adric alone with Tom and I think they work really well as a duo in both this and the following story. The story is a good one and we get The Master back, Geoffrey Beevers is great and I think it’s a shame he didn’t do more.  Again we get a society that’s been thought out a bit with characters who have understandable motives.
Logopolis concludes the series and Tom’s era and feels like a mournful march to the inevitable as the reborn Master (who hasn’t become the pantomine character of the mid 80’s yet) renews his fight with The Doctor and it’s appropriate that Tom’s Doctor dies saving the universe.
The regeneration was the moment I became a fan, that last scene blew my young mind. My Dad explained this happened regularly.  I was hooked.
I’ve loved watching Tom’s stories in order, he’s still my Doctor and will always just slightly edge the other 11 into second place. These are the stories I go back to the most when having a random watch. Part of the reason this era works (besides Tom) is it’s relatively continuity free instead preferring to tell stories with new characters or on the few occasions it reuses elements of the past it pushes them forward.

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