|Tom's look of despair sums up my thoughts.|
The season's two gothic stories, The Horror of Fang Rock and The Image of the Fendahl, both have highly atmospheric writing and both are incredibly similar to the bread and butter of the Hinchcliffe and Holmes era. They both suffer, like those stories, from fundamentally underdeveloped concepts, and due to that they threaten to bore me silly. Horror is especially dry, but special mention must be made for Fendahl, which rattles along like a tumbleweed on a dry windy day until the final episode, where the concept gets thrown at us in spades. They appear as remnants of the prior era, but I don't know in my heart if that's a bad thing consider the rest of the season.
The first few glimpses into the new era's style come in the form of The Invisible Enemy and The Sun Makers, two stories which I love and the only two in this season I can say that for outright. The Invisible Enemy is filled to the brim with an inescapable charm that surpasses its technical limitations, whereas Robert Holmes' temporary swansong The Sun Makers is a biting and hilarious parody of the UK tax system, which feels relevant despite how vicious it can be, perhaps unfairly in some areas. That these two different types of stories oscillate like this is very, very odd and marks the season's unevenness.
|They tried, they did.|
The final season in my runthrough of Four will be Season 16. After the relative shambles of this season, Anthony Read will move onto the series' first official arc. It was a move brought on to unify the season, the one that came after this season, one in which you never know from story to story what the style or theme or general level of competance is going to be. It ranks almost effortlessly at the bottom of my list of seasons from the Classic Series, and that's a shame because I'm sure that the production team at the time were really trying to follow up what had been considered by many to be the show's Golden Age.