Well, the recent “Rings of Akhaten” debates proved one thing: it’s very difficult to get Doctor Who fans to agree on anything lately.
Or is it? There are some stories that it seems are universally loved, or at least indisputably revered as “classic” or “important”. Find me someone who’s bored to tears by “Blink.” Show me someone who says “Genesis of the Daleks” is “disposable.” People may bag on Moffat and Smith when they fall short of expectations, but I don’t know too many people who would “yawn” at “The Eleventh Hour.” Similarly, people may not care for a lot of late ’80s Who in general, but most seem to agree that “Remembrance of the Daleks” does everything a good story should.
Likewise, when a story gets a BAD rep, it sticks to it like glue. Sometimes deservedly so. “The Twin Dilemma”, “Fear Her”, “Underworld” – These don’t usually win any polls. And some, like the recent “Akhaten”, are divisive and will never please everyone – Love “The Deadly Assassin”? Lots of people don’t. Enjoy the format-busting “Love and Monsters”? Other people were willing to bury the show on broadcast. Do you like hallucinogens? Because some people think that’s the only way to enjoy “The Web Planet.”
This list isn’t about those though. These are the stories that have fallen through the cracks. There are a lot of reasons. Sometimes they didn’t have the word “Daleks” or “Cybermen” in the title, or were surrounded by monster stories with an iconic rep. Others were just “OK” on broadcast, or aged better than anyone expected them to. With the new series, sometimes the stories just didn’t have the “hype” – the big guest star was in next week’s story, or the buzz was surrounding the Sontarans/Silurians/Quarks/whoever coming back.
Sometimes the “little story that could” played better on DVD, when the adverts about the finale/next week weren’t distracting you. All I know is, if i can show these stories to someone who’s never seen the show, and they’re impressed… they’re probably better than we give them credit for as fans. (And before you ask, no, I’ve never made a non-fan sit through “The Web Planet” – well, sober, anyway.) I’ll try my best not to spoil these, particularly the classic series choices. As they’re underrated, they probably haven’t been seen by newer fans….
Also, to clarify: I’m not counting missing stories. That’s really not fair, as some may sound dull on audio but were riveting with pictures or vice versa. So, here goes….
This article was first posted on April 30, 2013