Great news everyone!
A couple of genre tv news stories came out this week that made my month. First was the news that ABC’s new series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was given the green light for a full series run. I guess the ratings must be better than what ABC was expecting. Given that my liking of a big three network series is usually an automatic death sentence for it, I’ll gladly accept the full season of content.
The second, and far more important, news item is the announcement by the BBC of the recovery and restoration of eleven Doctor Who episodes from the classic series’ second doctor era. These episodes all come from two six part stories, in this case The Web of Fear and The Enemy of the World. The BBC already had one episode from each of these stories which they had previous released on the Lost in Time Patrick Troughton DVD set. The great news for me is that the new material completes The Enemy of the World which, as I had previously posted, was one of the stories I most wanted to see recovered. It also gives us five of the six episodes of The Web of Fear. This story is significant in that it introduces to Brigadier (although only a Colonel in this series) Lethbridge-Stewart who would become the head of the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce (UNIT) in the following season’s story The Invasion. UNIT would, of course, become a major component of Doctor Who during the third doctor’s run. I’m not as fond of The Web of Fear as other fans. After watching the Loose Cannon reconstructed version of the story, I remember thinking that the whole thing would probably be better off as a four parter. Regardless, I don’t want to lessen the importance of the recovery of nine previously lost episodes of Doctor Who, especially for a doctor with as little surviving material as Troughton’s. The UK release date for The Enemy of the World DVD is November 25th and, The Web of Fear is to be released some time next year. Now, if I could only get a US release date on the former.
As a final note, I guess I need to add a new serial to my top five wish list of recovered Doctor Who stories since it has just been dropped down to four. I’ll note here that I am deliberately excluding stuff for which we have most of the material like The Tenth Planet or The Invasion. Looking over the list I guess it would be tie between The Abominable Snowmen and The Evil of the Daleks. I remember enjoying the former for the introduction of two villains (the Yeti-bots and the Great Intelligence) only one of which has been reused with a later (very much later) doctor. The Evil of the Daleks was interesting because it was a historical piece that included the Daleks. It also introduces the companion Victoria Waterfield. If I was forced to choose one, I guess Evil of the Daleks would win out due to the new companion and it’s rather unconventional storyline. It’s also written by David Whitaker who happens to be one of my favorite early classic Doctor Who writers so, I’m sure that helps. While I’m not holding my breath, I wish all the missing episode hunters luck and hope that I will eventually be able to knock a couple more of these stories off my list.