Significant contributions to the Whoniverse: The most obvious contribution to the Whoniverse with the start of Ecclestone’s reign as the Doctor is that he started the second, more successful, attempt to reboot the franchise. More successful in that this is the reboot which is still running today and that has us all excited for the 50th anniversary coming in November. Ecclestone only stayed for one season, citing his displeasure with the team behind the cameras as a major reason why. So it was already a known fact to the audience part way through the season that he was not sticking around.
That said, he helped establish what Doctor Who has become from then until now. The serial structure of the show was dropped for a more episodic structure with a single story normally lasting only one or two episodes. The idea of an overarching story for the season was also established though, despite the fact that not every episode may speak directly to this overarching theme. For instance, in this series, the repeated use of the term Bad Wolf in a number of episode ended up feeding directly into the season conclusion. This type of structure and theme has remained until today.
It is also made evident that some time has passed since we last saw the Doctor. Many references are made to a Time War, in which all Daleks and Timelords aside from the Doctor himself were obliterated. It is clear that the Doctor had to act to cause this genocide of one race and personal isolation as a result of the near genocide of the other. In some episodes it is made very clear is suffering from having had to make that choice.
Finally, there are a few other firsts for the Doctor in Ecclestone’s sole season. Eve Myles and Naoko Mori both appear in episodes, both of whom go on to become cast regulars in Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood. Their appearances in these episodes even get written into the plot of the latter show. John Barrowman also gets introduced as Captain Jack Harkness, whom will later go on to lead the Torchwood team. [SPOILERS] It is indeed as a result of events at the end of this season that lead to Captain Jack’s immortality, which makes a very important plot point of the Torchwood series.
Significant contributions to the Whoniverse: The second Baker to take on the role of the Doctor bears little similarity to previous incarnations other than his surname. He was more brash and certainly more egotistical, and had the worst fashion sense of any to date. I can understand his portrayal being divisive at the time, yet by modern standards an attempt to shake things up a bit and being less predictable certainly had some merit.
A recurring character was introduced in a Sixth Doctor story in the form of a Time Lady, known as The Rani. To my recollection, this is the first non-companion Time Lady we have met in the series outside of the realms of Gallifrey. She forms the role of recurring villain who is out for herself, as ill at ease working with the Master just as she is ill at ease working with the Doctor. Her story will prove to intersect quite significantly with the Doctor’s at a later date.
As already alluded to, i think one of the most memorable elements of the sixth Doctor is his outfit, which was as brash and loud as the man was himself. This was not a Doctor accustomed to stealth. Fitting with this nature is the storyline that I feel dominate’s this Doctor’s tenure; Trial of a Time Lord. The Doctor’s actions past and present come under direct scrutiny by the Time Lords, with the Doctor’s exuberance proving potentially disastrous. It is interesting to note that prior to this story, there had been a number of season-long storylines. However, these stories had been loosely connected serials with an end of season pay-off. Trial of a Time Lordwas a full season story bearing only one title, though subsequently story titles have been added. It was a bold move which also led to another first… the Doctor meeting a future incarnation.
Cast: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewellyn, Danny John-Jules
Synopsis: In a return to the original formula, it is the four guys alone again roaming the universe on Red Dwarf. As a result, the humour returns to a more classic mix in this great set of six episodes. There is also a series conclusion which bring the whole ten series to date to a satisfying conclusion.
Cast: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik, Melissa Raunch, Wil Wheaton
Synopsis: Sheldon and Amy explore their very unique relationship even further. Leonard and Penny give things another shot. Howard gets an opportunity to be an astronaut by getting a rocket to the International Space Station, much to fiancée Bernadette’s fears. Finally, Raj remains yet to find companionship, whilst his sexuality is brought into question more than once
Cast: Craig Charles, Chris Barrie, Robert Llewelyn, Danny John-Jules, Chloe Annett
Synopsis: The continuing adventures of the remaining crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf. However, the ship is stolen, leaving the guys in hot pursuit in the shuttle-like craft Starbug. This set sees the recurring alter egos of some of the crew, Ace Rimmer and Dwayne Dibley, and the crew gets an addition, with Lister’s love interest Kristine Kochanski joining the crew from an alternate timeline dimension.
Cast: Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn, Norman Lovett, Hattie Hayridge
Synopsis: A sci-fi comedy series which follows the unfortunate situation as live by Dave Lister (Charles). After being caught bringing a cat aboard the mining ship Red Dwarf, Lister is put into suspended animation. He is woken 3 million years later finding the rest of the crew dead from a radiation leak which had only now dissipated enough to support life on the ship again. He was revived by senile ships computer Holly (Lovett, before the character has a sex change and is played by Hayridge), who created a hologram to keep him company… of the man he hated most on the ship, pompous but useless Arnold Rimmer (Barrie). In addition, there is a creature that evolved from his pet cat (John-Jules), and a service mechanoid Kryten (Llewelyn), whom they meet on their travels.
Cast: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rico Rodriguez, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould
Synopsis: It is hard to write a fresh synopsis for a series such as this one. A comedy of this nature changes little from season to season, with each subsequent episode being its own self-contained story. The fact that there are no major through line stories however is by no means a criticism. This show still has an exceptional hit rate for its humour, whether stories last one or just a couple of episodes.
Beauties: Alin, Chontelle, Greta, Kim, Kristy, Millie
Geeks: Chard, Cody, Dane, Jason, Rich, Yiran
Synopsis: Only one challenge was presented this week, with extra time in this episode being didicated to the first two makeovers. The two winning geeks this week got to be made over, and though in the past the results have been mixed, these two spruced up quite well. A few more twists were presented this week concerning elimination.
Synopsis: A wrestling challenge for the guys, an etiquette challenge for the girls. All very cliché and predictable, though always at the very least entertaining. I guess that is why they chose this week to drop a bombshell to shake up the elimination process.
Synopsis: A very entertaining episode sees the geeks do their best to become tough guys, whilst a joint challenge saw the record for longest hug broken. In the process, the secret millionaire is revealed. And of course, to end it all, eight couples become seven….