Post by nucleusofswarm on May 23, 2020 1:02:24 GMT
Possibly among, if not actually, 5's most iconic and popular stories - both bleak, violent and saw the return of something classic (a monster in one, a writer on the other), but which comes out as the better for you?
Caves, easily. It's such a dramatic departure in every respect. The Doctor is traveling with a brand new companion and just a few minutes into their first adventure on an alien world...EVERYTHING GOES HORRIBLY WRONG. It's relentlessly grim, especially when our lead characters are so likable and good-natured. The entire story sees our heroes just trying to get out in one piece.
The supporting characters are all dark yet intriguing in their own ways; everyone is perfectly (!) cast and gives a fantastic performance (no Beryl Reids as hardened space captains here). Sharez Jek is a gloriously tragic villain and his costume is elegant yet sinister. Every cliffhanger is thrilling (okay, maybe not the Magma creature but I'll take that over the Arc of Infinity chicken Ergon any day). Plus the camera work is exciting and the soundtrack is still intense and atmospheric all these years later.
And it gave us this incredible powerful moment:
The Doctor's heroism is in full force, culminating in the ultimate sacrifice for someone he barely knows. I really can't find any faults with this story or its production at all. I love Earthshock, but there's no contest for me here.
Caves. No question. Robert Holmes's finest story. The grim subject matter and the riff on Phantom of the Opera are interesting. The Doctor's desperation to save his friend adds much to the narrative.
Peter Davison picks up Holmes's ideas and turns in his finest performance on tv. His reaction to Sharaz Jek and the other characters he meets in this nightmare is not his usual charm and good nature.
The supporting cast add much to the story. Each one realises their role in the story perfectly. John Normington's asides to camera remind me of Francis Urquhart in House of Cards.
One must also praise Graeme Harper's superb direction. Even with the awful Magma Creature, this is easily in the top 10 of Classic Who.
That pretty much seals it to me. Good summary from doctorkerknow
No disrespect to Earthshock, but Caves of Androzani still has a wow factor that far exceeds its placement in terms of time-slot, budget, period it was made and the source programme itself. It should be up there with Edge of Darkness, Smiley's People and Threads as an outstanding example of what the BBC Drama could do at that time.
Episode 4 was the most emotional, intense and dramatic Doctor Who since the 'end of the world' Episode 6 of Inferno 14 years earlier.
The Caves of Androzani is easily the best of those two Doctor Who stories for me. Earthshock had it's highlights, especially the great ending, but The Caves of Androzani is a top notch story that is probably the best of it's era.
Earthshock's episode 1 is really effective. Two silent, merciless pursuers while in the TARDIS, Adric is unhappy at the Doctor refusing to return him to E-Space. The pace is quite fast for the era, Peter Grimwade's direction is excellent. The Cyberman getting stuck in the door, Malcom Clarke's martial Cybermusic and a typical Sawardian cast of cynical embittered people all make it a good watch. It is a highlight of Season 19.
I missed episode 4 on orginal broadcast, so I only saw the finale when I was given the DVD several years ago. It is relentless, and the credits rolling without the theme music added to the shock. The story's Cybermen are a much more effective presence than in Revenge of the Cybermen which I had watched on video.
Beryl Reid's casting is very odd but somehow works. She tries her best to act against type. It was an example of JNT's odd way of casting. Unlike today, when Andy Prior does a stunning job of finding just the right actor for the part. Season 24 contained the worst examples of light entertainment/sitcom casting.