Doctor Who Classic Review – The War Games
Council of Geeks
The epic final adventure of the second Doctor and the first on screen appearance of other Time Lords. Let’s do this!
Council of Geeks
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The first Classic Who episode I watched episodes 3-8 do suffer being filler in parts however can’t really pinpoint to which scenes in part. The story really stands out in episode 9&10 when the time lords get mentioned and then appear, completely dwarfing the power of the war lord and causing the doctor to loose his 2 best friends. One of my favorite scenes is in episode 4- when the doctor does realize the time lords may be behind what’s going on and the look on his face shows he is terrified and in denial
The plot repetitions are more obvious if one binges the serial. Back in the day, we just had one 20 minute episode (plus credits) to watch per week. That's a different experience (and the intended one).
As a kid at the time I'm afraid it was way too long and I got bored with it. Just like the cyberman story of the invasion of London.Both stories had their high points but should have been shorter. Patrick Troughton was a fine actor but overall I dont thinkhe got the character quite right and some of the stories were well below par. He was at his best in the Tomb of the Cybermen which is a really good story. Fraser Hines was a decent actor and Jamie is definitely one of the best if not the best companion.
Great review, I also recently watched this for the first time 🙂
This is one of my favourite regeneration stories. Got a standout cast with very menacing villains. It also has a fantastic plot that has a justified ten parts as we understand the interesting details of their plans and I love the time zone aspect to it all. I also love the introduction of the Time Lords and it's tragic and heart breaking seeing the Doctor giving up everything he loves and face the consequences of running away.
Personally I find it more interesting having the Doctor not use a sonic screwdriver, it sees him as a scientist who has to figure out a solution for himself and now we're beginning to lose that in the modern run of the show.
Remember the (Proto) Master makes his debut in this episode.
I love this episode. A great send off to a great doctor.
I haven't watched this episode in years
A good story and certainly one that can be binge-watched in the modern sense due to its length. All the main cast do a good job, the 2nd Doctor and Jamie relationship is just brilliant and the War Chief is a great role. The security chief grates on me a little with that voice but the War Lord is played by the superb Philip Madoc who always shines in any Doctor Who he's in. It's the first time anyone has referred to the Doctor "McGuyvering" to get out of trouble and I like that shorthand :).
I was so glad to see the psychic paper when Who returned. It was one of my abiding memories from watching as a kid. The Doctor being captured during a tense situation, and marched to the HQ/Command Deck…. etc. Convince them he's not the source of their problems, that he can help… and lose half an episode with that on what felt like every other story….
Hell, it was so blatant even Douglas Adams was taking the mickey in Hitchhikers…
9:42 For some reason, that sounded to me like a very effeminate Mondasian Cyberman.
War Games was 10 episode long. I love your reviews.
The War Games was a ten part story.
Funny thing is this isn't the 2nd Doctor's regeneration story, he has several more adventures with Jamie doing missions for the time lords before he tries to escape his final judgement, only to be dragged to his tardis by reanimated scarecrows which force him to regenerate.
Hey it's 10 episodes not 12 the only 12 parter is the daleks masterplan
Doctor: "Maybe I should go home, back to my own planet! But I can't – I can't!" – This story we learn why! But he still does – to help those that can't help themselves.
My favourite Second Doctor story. He certainly went out on a high.
I liked it the first time I saw it, though I think if I watch it again too soon it would start getting boring.
Actually, the War Games is 10 parts long, not 12. Only the Daleks' Master Plan was 12 parts. Just sayin' 😉
But, yeah, this is one epic AF piece of work. Certainly a pinnacle of 60's DW. Only the War Machines, the Invasion of the Cybermen and the 10th Planet could ever come close. And the Daleks' Master Plan, too, probably, if it wasn't missing.
So much legitimately good action and intrigue and it's got that wonderful sense of an actual journey akin to the Chase.
Obviously the Doctor's great, Jamie's wonderful, the supporting cast all do their job admirably (BTW one of the rebel soldiers was played by David Troughton, who later came back as the King of Peladon and the professor from Midnight).
There's just so much to tell about this story, but you've summed it up pretty neatly in the video.
Although, well, I personally really disagree with your opinion about Time Lords and how they're better when they're a mysterious force, but, hey, that's a small thing.
It was made longer because a story was scrapped. I'd love to rewatch it, but it's so long.
I wonder what new who could do to make Gallifrey better again?
I don’t get the screaming companion stereotype. Barbara, Viki, Sara Kingdom, Polly (maybe), Zoe (I don’t see her as screaming companion at all. She’s an intelligent and well rounded character), Liz Shaw, Jo Grant (changed and adapted over time), Sarah Jane (obviously), Leela, Romana 1 and 2, Tegan (she can be annoying but she isn’t the stereotypical companion), Nysa (again intelligent and doesn’t fit the stereotype) and Ace is obviously a very strong companion. The companions you could call the screaming stereotype are Susan, Victoria, Katarina, Peri and Mel.
Both The Krotons and the second half of The mind robber in particular show that Zoe is definitely not the stereotypical companion. In some cases Zoe is more intelligent than the Doctor.
Do you know of the whole 'Season 6b' thing? A whole series of events set during or after his story? The lengths fan theory has to go to cover big continuity errors down he line is amazing.
Really nice review, it’s always exciting to see people getting into more classic who, especially when they see and articulate things that I didn’t/couldn’t when I first saw them.
There are a few cliches that are unfairly targeted at the classic era, such as the ‘rubbish sets’ and the ‘screaming companions.’ I think just like with new who, all eras of the classic era have their ups and downs. I tend to defend the sets and effects because of the era they were made in and the lack of money they had, and once you get into the classics and surrender your disbelief in these things, there’s a certain charm to these limitations and incredible ways they got around them.
Yes, there are screaming companions (Victoria from the second doctor’s era and Mel from the seventh are the worst!) but there are also some really strong and interesting female companions, such as Vicki (not to be confused with Victoria), Barbara (who I love!) and Liz Shaw, all of whom are really progressive for their times and when compared with Star Trek etc..
The only thing I don’t like about the War Games is how Troughton ‘hams it up’ during the regeneration, which is surprising after such a heartbreaking and poignant scene where his companions have to forget him (makes me well up every time!).
I’m really excited and interested to see what you think of other classic stories, thanks again for another superb video!
Possible the best regeneration story I've seen so far (Out of; The Tenth Planet, the Doctor Who Movie, Bad Wolf / Parting of the Ways, The End of Time, The Time of the Doctor and Twice Upon a Time). The actual regeneration I'm not too sure on where I'd rank that but it's an incredible final episode in the story and full of heart breaking moments for me.
I'm hoping that once you've done reviewed all the regeneration stories you'll do a top ten for regeneration stories, though I suspect that might be a ways of. Or possible a top ten regeneration scene, ignoring the rest of the story?
Thanks for not going into splot pacifics from the beginning
This is my favourite story from the Classics. Throughout all 10 episodes, it never gets boring but just more epic.
Hi! Nathaniel, I have to agree with you. It was great to see Patrick's son in Midnight episode! Keep up with the excellent work my friend….
If you like that the time lords are more mysterious in this story then you should check out the latter half of the seventh doctor's era, the new adventures book Lunbarrow (though, be warned; its not for the less continuity savvy in the Who community) and the big finish audio, Neverland. All those stories are extremely clever and are very enjoyable plus they take risks with Doctor Who cannon and that alone you applaud them for doing.
I love, love, love your reviews and your accent too! Plus you're a handsome chap, you've got it all going on!
Should have spinned the camera around >.>
Ps how did you rate the American civil war reenactors esp the failure to communicate Confederate general?
The War Games Title still gives me chills.
Seems like chancellor Goth was the one that sentenced the Doctor. Chancellor Goth will confirm himself as a dick in The deadly assassin >.>
Jacobite rebellion which alarmed Jamie as he met a Campbell redcoat. >.>
Oh! One thing I forgot to mention in my other comment:
The War Lord totally looks like Steve Jobs!!!
(incidentally, the actor who played him later played the mad scientist in the Brain of Morbius and he also played a few minor parts in DW here and there)
One of the things I don't care for with present day Doctor Who is that the Doctor can now pilot the TARDIS almost effortlessly and almost always goes wherever he wants to. I don't know if this will continue with the new Doctor, but I liked that the Doctor seldom knew where or when he and his companions would end up.
That's how they got involved in their adventures in the first place.
In "The Doctor's Wife" the 11th Doctor tells Idris/TARDIS that she never took him where he wanted to go, to which she responded that she always took him where he NEEDED to go.
Where could I watch The mentioned classic episode?
Actually a newsman Gallifreyan makes a lot more sense then in modern who we're almost all gallifreyans look like farmers. And there appears to be barely any technology on the planet. And here they are supposed to be the most sophisticated mofos ever
Srsly… I wish you'd said SOMETHING about that scene… It is SOOOOO well-written and SOOOO wonderfully executed… A TRUE work-of-art to bow out not only an incarnation of The Doctor, but to also bow out the '60s era of Doctor Who, ALMOST bowed-out the SERIES and to also bring to an end the Black-and-White episodes WHOLE HOG!
Episode 10 of The War Games STANDS… after MUCH introspection… As my SOLID Number 1 FAVORITE single Classic Who episode for this VERY REASON… 🙂
Great review for a great story!
P L O T S P E C I F I C S
It really says a lot that when I think of the war games and planet of the spiders I don't even remember War games to be so much longer. And I do remember it being more intriguing. Loved the time Lords and laughed at magnet circuit boards. Good stuff!
Trial of a time lord is 14 parts but it is broken up a bit.
Best regeneration story ever!
Could you get a worse second doctor impression?
Try The Trial of a Timelord or Key to Time next. They're also pretty long, given they are entire seasons, but are worth it
This story has arguably the best companion exit in the history of Doctor Who. I kind of expected you to mention it in the review, but I understand that you wanted to avoid too many spoilers.
I might sound stupid for only recently realizing this and thinking it's news, but one of the Time Lords in this serial returns as the president elect in The Deadly Assassin. I thought that was really cool. During the exchange between the Second and Third Doctor, basically no actor came back as the same character outside of the Brigader himself.