Patrick Troughton did something amazing with Doctor Who: he replaced the former lead actor, and sold viewers on the replacement. This is absolutely astounding, yet I think we (Doctor Who fans) often take this for granted. How many shows have successfully replaced the lead actor? Watching Patrick Troughton, however, I never once doubted that he was The Doctor. Granted, some of the clowning around in later episodes (splashing in the water in The Enemy of the World, for example) seemed decidedly un-Hartnell, but for the most part, I accepted Troughton. He was a good follow-up to William Hartnell and I shall miss them both.
Prior to starting the Second Doctor era I would have listed Jamie McCrimmon as my favorite companion every time I was asked. Having viewed this era sequentially, I’m not uncertain. I enjoyed Jamie early in his run, particularly in Evil of the Daleks, where he would question and challenge The Doctor. By the sixth season, however, I felt he was more of a joke and less of a character. Jamie seemed to have stayed with The Doctor too long. Honestly, appearing opposite Zoe and The Doctor, the juxtaposition leant itself easily to comedy. But this seemed the easy option. I would have preferred to see Jamie struggle with insecurity beside these two geniuses, or perhaps help make Zoe more human and less computer-like. In this final year, however, character development seems to have been less important.
Based on how I feel at the moment, I would say that, despite enjoying The Second Doctor, I preferred the Hartnell Era. The previous era was unpredictable and innovative, even when it failed to realize its ambition. The Troughton era, however, was often too formulaic, especially in season five. It became a struggle to finish the fifth season. I may revisit the occasional stories from that season, but I doubt I will watch it sequentially any time soon.
Favorite Story: This is actually quite hard, but in the end I will choose The War Games. I had never seen this story prior to this experiment, but upon finishing it I feel it was one of the most amazing episodes of Doctor Who thus far. The introduction of the Time Lords fired my imagination in ways that the show hasn’t done since The Hartnell years. Yet, the awe I felt in this story is probably due to having spent six seasons with the Time Lords never seen, never named. In a season of episodes that I didn’t always feel engaged by, The War Games left me wanting another year of The Second Doctor.
Least Favorite Story: This one is also hard as I feel so many episodes were of comparable quality. In the end, I may just go with The Ice Warriors, although I still love the world-building and acting in this story. It just lacked in engaging plot.
Favorite Companion Enemy: I’ll mention The War Chief and The War Lord in passing, but I feel that I must give full credit to The Cybermen. As far as I am concerned, The Cybermen were best in the Troughton era. They have never been as chilling and disconcerting as they were in The Moonbase or Tomb of the Cybermen. I will miss this portrayal.