They say you never forget your first Doctor. Well, Tom is mine. He was always the one with the scarf. I was introduced to Doctor Who by PBS and watched the show with my mom. I had images of Cybermats and green bubble wrap informing my imagination for years to come.
Tom Baker played the Doctor for seven years. After watching his era through in order (which I have done twice) I think the rule of thumb of three years per Doctor is a good one. His era goes through three distinct tones: gothic horror, comedy, and science-as-magic. These tones are largely due to producers and script editors: Philip Hinchcliffe/Robert Holmes on the horror, Graham Williams/Douglas Adams on the comedy, and Jonathan Nathan Turner/Christopher H. Bidmead on the science-as-magic. Anthony Read is in there too, bridging the Holmes to Adams transfer. As a result, it is hard to get at a comprehensive and definitive Fourth Doctor story. Some people would argue for “The Talons of Weng-Chiang,” but it doesn’t reflect the light comedy or science-as-magic. Others would argue for “City of Death,” but it doesn’t touch the gothic horror. And while each tonal era has its own standout stories, the diversity of styles make the Fourth Doctor era fairly diverse.