This series is marketed by lower script quality overall (Partially explained- see the War Games review for more), with a few major exceptions- but also bigger setpieces, far more impressive effects- and almost all video. Yes, this is only a judgement of posterity and not the quality of the series produced- nonetheless, it remains that this is the only Troughton series almost entirely video, with only 2 episodes of the Invasion (reconstructed with animation) and one serial missing- if you count Series 5’s “Tomb of the Cybermen” as a surrogate to the missing Space Pirates, Troughton has EXACTLY one series in video format, and 90% comes from here. Sadly, that doesn’t automatically mean great stories- but I’d call it more good than bad.
Popular fan theory centers around the untelevised Series 6B. The theory is this: That the Doctor’s regeneration- which we did not SEE onscreen, in fact did not occur at the finale of The War Games, but rather he was recruited into the CIA (Celestial Intervention Agency), a branch of the Time Lords that does interfere when it is deemed necessary; something the Doctor has a knack for, making him a natural to recruit as an agent. The Doctor once again travelled in the TARDIS, re-acquiring Jamie, and possibly escaped again, or possibly served out his sentence- until event or events unknown conspired to carry out the original sentence of forced regeneration and exile.
The reason for this theory? Future specials The Three Doctors, The Five Doctors, and The Two Doctors all feature Troughton, looking older than he does in The War Games. No big deal, you say? True, before the New Series’ “Time Crash,” Doctors returning for crossovers were commonly shown older (as you can’t prevent the actors from aging) without any explanation, as if we’re simply supposed to imagine that the actors are the ages they once were when they played the roles, even though they don’t look it. So Troughton’s appearances are just more of the same, right?
Except… the Doctor references the events of the War Games and his forced regeneration. Think about it… a Troughton, free and traveling around, yet with knowledge of this story- implying it occurs AFTER The War Games, yet WITHOUT Troughton having regenerated yet. How could this be, except if he DIDN’T regenerate at the conclusion of this story? And the fact that we never SAW him change…
We even see one of the Tribunal Time Lords again in ‘Colony In Space,’ a Pertwee serial, dispatching the Doctor to go and interfere in the events of a planet- the very thing he was condemned for here! Perhaps this man is an agent of the CIA, responsible for secreting the Doctor away to begin working for them following the end of the trial?
Of course, there is no actual evidence for this, and those truly determined that no such 6B ever happened could claim that in the events of the Two Doctors (or a similar untelevised occurrence), a future incarnation simply told him what was going to happen, and his reference was made with knowledge of his forced regeneration to-come, but without The War Games having happened; and that the aged appearance of Doctor and companions was simply due to the ‘just ignore it’ real world circumstances, or some untelevised adventure involving an aging ray whose perpetrator they were tracking when they were briefly interrupted by the crossover story, and later whom they caught and reversed the effects- the sum total being all of this happened at some point during Series 4-6, and Spearhead From Space follows (subjective) minutes directly after The War Games… though of course this denial would include willingly turning a blind eye to a LOT of corroborating evidence!
Meanwhile, the Doctor didn't have so much of a catchphrase this season- the most oft-remembered catchphrase, "Oh, my giddy aunt Nancy!" has yet to materialize, and is apparently primarily a product of the multiple-doctor specials in which he will eventually appear. If anything reselmbled a catchphrase this series it would be *Annoyed offhand dismissal of a dumb idea from Jamie.*
Ah, Troughton, Jamie- and either Zoe or Victoria (all three combinations were winning teams), how I shall miss thee! Rounding out the third season, the third dominant catchphrase/bit nicely showcases the developing fondness, father/children bond that the TARDIS crew- nay, the TARDIS family, posessed, and a third aspect of the Second Doctor- each year's favorite phrase illuminates yet another facet of why I love this Doctor most of all. Far more than David Tennant's 10th Doctor's so-called 'Children of Time' and all of the dramatic weight that it tried to convey, far more than Hartnell's grandchild- his flesh and blood, so near as we could tell... THESE were the Doctor's children, his family, and watching them grow and bond and work together is the true joy that makes even these reconstruction-dominated, sometimes weak-storied, often slow-paced Second Doctor-era serials a joy to watch. (NFS: I definitely agree. I think that there was a bond and a chemistry that I really don't think I've seen again, even though now I am into the fifth Doctor and I've seen all of the new series, I think they really had something special!)
As we bring this era of companions to a close and start out with a clean slate, let’s end with a look at the companions of the past, eh?
Top 10 Companions
8. Susan – Let’s face it, Susan was a pretty weak character. A classical damsel in distress- even a redundant D-I-D with the early Barbara, her actress even left the show for this reason- the writers simply didn’t know what to do with her character, and didn’t develop her. This left her with little more to do than scream, hyperventilate, go weak at the knees, and get in trouble. (Aside from developing a little bit of conflict in the Sensorites as she began to assert herself… don’t bother to go watch it, just read my review and take my word for it.) I’m not against D-I-Ds myself (it's a valid literary archetype, so long as one does not think that it is representative of all women), in the mode that many feminists are, but really… this was pushing it. Still, for all of the abuse that it seems I’m heaping on Susan, it wasn’t her fault (the actress simply worked with what she was given), and she did have some redeeming qualities- enthusiastic, friendly, with a close relationship to the Doctor and a willingness to always play mediator between the quarrelsome Time Lord and his meddlesome human companions, always helping each to see the other’s side- a trait that perhaps future Doctors, from the Third-onwards, adopted from her. Her farewell was a tearjerker. Plus, she opened the TARDIS doors. It was her job. And besides all that… she was the first, and she’ll always have a special place in the pantheon of companions for that. This unearthly child has since settled down on 22nd century Earth, rebuilding a Dalek-ravaged world with David, her true love. It’s rumored that she and her son have had several adventures with the Doctor’s eighth incarnation, suggesting that her travels in the TARDIS may not be over yet… (NFS: I like Susan despite her inability to do much but scream. I think that Carol Ann Ford's genuine likability and charm shone through the character and that's why people like her even though she really didn't do much beyond scream and open doors. That said, I do feel like near the end before she left we did get more of her character, and there was a definite wonderful bond between her and the Doctor that was very palpable and sweet.)
5. Ian – Ian was the original robust companion, the active, gallant hero to the Doctor’s more measured, less physically-active mentor role. A science teacher with a thirst for knowledge and a love of discovery, Ian was chipper and optimistic, always trying to look on the bright side of things. Physically fit and a decent fighter (When Barbara wasn’t accidentally smashing a vase over his head), Ian was perhaps put through the ringer the most of the Doctor’s original companions- ending up in galdatorial fights, staked out in the desert, imprisoned, fighting- and though he was given to bold exclamations in these situations, he always came through. He ingeniously engineered a Dalek-casing-ride escape, and his dance to the Beatles was perhaps the most awesome thing ever done by a companion in life. He remained stalwart and straightforward, ready to make the best of any situation, even while pining for England and home. And the romance budding between himself and fellow teacher Barbara Wright only intensified during their time on the TARDIS… (NFS: I like Ian a lot! He's fun and sweet and he's someone you'd want so much to be friends with. He has that self-assured without being cocky swagger, and is capable without being boring.)
(NFS: Zoe annoyed me in the beginning. She creeped me out because she was like a kid but they always had her in super short or super tight stuff. I thought the actress did a fantastic job. And while she is not a favorite I will say she is one of the more interesting characters and also was written in character more than most.)
(NFS: I thought I was ambivalent about Steven, but I do remember he made this really funny face when he didn't understand things and that made me and my brother laugh. I don't think he's the most interesting of the characters but I think he had solid qualities and is definitely one of the best male companions.)
(NFS: Jamie is hands down the best ever male companion. He has so many wonderful things about him. He has this charm and easiness about him that makes you smile. You'd feel comfortable with him and probably feel as though you'd known him forever. I love how protective he always is, and how sweet and caring. I like how funny he is and how he and Troughton interacted together! They almost seemed like brothers to me, or best friends or both, and I think the 2nd Doctor and Jamie are the best duo ever.)
Not listed: Dodo (by choice! Oh, and her fate is apparently to have mental problems for the rest of her short life, find and lose a murdered husband, and get assassinated by an agent of the Master a few years later, so… worst companion AND worst ending!) Katarina, and Sara Kingdom (both by lack of visible material- and both sadly deceased in the line of duty, aiding the Doctor).
(As an epilogue, the Supplemental between-series idea proved so popular, novelist Steve Lyons in The Witch-Hunters, created a story in which Time Lord founder Rassilon gave the First Doctor a little extra time to tie up loose ends in his life, during/after the events of the Five Doctors, thus giving Hartnell a sort of Season 4B. The establishment and management of this blog does not support such wild speculations- but endorses Series 6B wholeheartedly!)