Doctor Who: Top 10 Seventh Doctor Stories
Sylvster MCoy will be here this weekend at Space City Con. The Seventh Doctor is one of the odder incarnations of the Time Lord. As the last of the classic series Doctors before the cancellation, he had arguably the shortest run of any Doctor aside from Eccleston and McGann, yet because he continued on in novels and more between the end of the original run and the beginning of the 2005 relaunch he is in many ways one of the longest serving Doctors.
Seven was schemer, a dark man that even other incarnations sometimes refer to as mean and unlikable. Nonetheless, behind all his machinations was the same spirit of strength and the desire to do good that makes The Doctor what he is. In honor of Houston being graced with its first Doctor con appearance in, well, ever, here are the ten stories you should absolutely see to acquaint yourself with McCoy's incarnation.
UPDATE (08/13/13) Special thanks go to George "Loki" Williams of HumidCity.com for valuable suggestions on an era of The Doctor I'm not as knowledgeable on as I should be, and whose contributions I forgot to credit in the initial post.
10. Love and War: A really good place to start with the Seventh Doctor novels is here with Paul Cornell's Love and War, though it also made a pretty good audio adventure from Big Finish as well. The book introduces Bernice Summerfield, a companion of the Doctor who was popular enough to spin off in her own series later. The book follows The Doctor and Ace as Ace falls in love with a a man called Jan, but The Doctor is for some reason opposed to the match and will do anything to stop it. It's a deep book, and a little angsty, but Cornell crafted a masterful character-driven narrative that shoes of Seven at his most devious and manipulative. Nonetheless, it's a tragedy. With the Time Lord helpless to prevent heartbreak no matter how clever.
9. Paradise Towers: The Seventh Doctor's TV run can be broken into two periods. The first is with his companion Mel, and it is mostly bad '80s comedy mixed with the bright scream of too many primary colors. That said, there is one story from that era worth seeing, "Paradise Towers."
Partially based on the J.G. Ballard novel High Rise, it's the story of The Doctor and Mel as they explore a massive apartment complex divided into wealth classes and law is determined Judge Dredd-style. Imagine if The Doctor landed in the same world as Clockwork Orange, and you sort of get the idea. By far it's the best Mel outing you're going to get.
8. The Sirens of Time: When Big Finish wanted to start new Doctor Who episodes using the classic actors in audio form they went big. Sirens starts Five, Six, and Seven in three solo adventures until they finally all meet in the finally to stop an unknown alien fleet that has besieged Gallifrey. Written by Nicholas Briggs, you could not have asked for a better jumping off point for the audio adventures. True, sometimes it's more of a nostalgia ride than a proper romp sometimes, but that's what people needed at the time.
7. Silver Nemesis: The later original series Cybermen are consistently laughed at for getting more and more ridiculous and easy to defeat as the series went on, and rightfully so. Their final outing, though, showed off much of how Seven was on his way to being the greatest Doctor ever. It contains much of the groundwork for the modern interpretation of the character, with The Doctor as a man of many secrets and much dark knowledge. The TV story was supposed to begin delving into the mystery of the Doctor's existence, though much of that got left on the cutting room floor. Even still, it's impossible to watch it and not see the storytelling that Steven Moffat draws from.
6. Human Nature: Speaking of past adventures that the new series draws from, Ten's time as an English school teacher who has forgotten his status as a Time Lord first appeared in yet another novel by Paul Cornell. Cornell rewrote it for the Series 3 two-parter, but all the best highlights are still there, and in many cases undiluted by the pressures of television. Of course, this novel has now pretty much been thoroughly wiped from continuity by the TV episode, but it's still very good.
5. Colditz: Pretty much every time The Doctor goes to World War II it's good. In fact, you could probably write a pretty nifty book just about what various Doctors were doing in the war at any given time to help defeat the Third Reich. The audio story helped explain Ace's particularly vehement hatred of the Nazis, as well as introduced David Tennant to the series for the first time as Feldwebel Kurtz. There are enough plot twists to keep you on your toes, and the cast turns in a memorable performance.
4. Battlefield: Another cannot-miss TV story is "Battlefield" where knights from the future invade Britain looking for Excalibur so their queen can reign forever. It's corny, it's ridiculous, The Doctor is apparently Merlin (Of course he is), but it has one thing going for it. This is Seven's UNIT story and it stars The Brigadier. The two have an amazing chemistry that helps the story over some of its bumps, and his almost paternalistic relationship with the man he has aided since his second incarnation is warm and perfect.
3. Master: The early life of The Master has been explored several times, but never with so much dramatic flair as this audio story. Set in a mansion amid a murder mystery, McCoy and Geoffrey Beevers fence with words as The Doctor and The Master. It's a brilliant look at what makes perhaps the Doctor's greatest enemy tick and Joseph Lidster turned in a script that feels so much like an actual play you can imagine Seven swinging his umbrella right in front of you. It also pairs well with the Second Doctor Master novel, The Dark Path, if you're looking to get your fix on the character even deeper.
2. Lungbarrow: If there is any Doctor Who novel you should own it's Lungbarrow. It may very well hold the key to the mystery of John Hurt's Doctor in the upcoming 50th anniversary. It's a twisted book that shows much of Gallifreyan society, though how much of it can be considered canon is up for debate. Of all the original prose stories, none can compare with the vast scope and mind-bending twists of Lungbarrow. Buy it immediately.
1. Remembrance of the Daleks: As far as truly great Seventh Doctor TV stories go, "Remembrance" can't be beat. The Doctor returns to the place it all began, Foreman's Junkyard, to retrieve an artifact of great power he stole in his first incarnation. This leads him into conflict between two warring factions of Daleks. More than the action is the way Ace and The Doctor begin to develop their one-of-a-kind rapport, as well as some interesting commentaries on race in the '60s and how times have or have not changed. It was McCoy's finest moment as The Doctor, and belongs on every Whovian's shelf.
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