Doctor Who – State of Decay
1996, BBC Home Entertainment
Originally Aired: November 22 – December 13, 1980
Buy the DVD at Amazon.com
I absolutely admit to being a newbie when it comes to Doctor Who. I don’t know much about the history of the show or its characters and Wikipedia entries are so long-winded that they are very off-putting to someone new to Who.
So, I’m doing things the old-fashioned way — I’m going to experience the show for myself. Thankfully, Netflix has ‘Classic Doctor Who’ for streaming (but they oddly feature only one story arc per season) and a few local libraries have tons, tons, TONS of classic Doctor Who DVDs.
I came across this particular DVD because I was searching the online card catalog for vampires and State of Decay popped up in the results because it features the blood suckers. I had been curious about older Doctor Who episodes for awhile and the fact that vampires were involved in this story arc made me feel justified that I was keeping with the Halloween spirit while watching these episodes.
State of Decay is a four-part serial from the 18th season of Doctor Who and the story as a whole is the second installment of what’s referred to as “The E-Space Trilogy”. For this particular serial, the Doctor and his companions Romana, K-9 and Adric end up on a planet with a medieval setting where there are three lords in what’s called the Tower ruling over the villagers. Every year the lords select young villagers to be brought to the Tower and they are never seen again. Turns out the villagers are being sacrificed to the last remaining Great Vampire (ancient enemies of the Time Lords) and that the lords of the Tower are vampires themselves.
Being my first sample of classic Doctor Who, I was surprised and pleased to see these story carry such a dark tone and Gothic atmosphere. I was expecting something steeped much more in science-fiction and goofiness. On one of the featurettes included on the disc, this serial’s writer stated that Hammer Films was his main source of inspiration for this story.
I also enjoyed Tom Baker’s portrayal of the Doctor very much, so I’m looking forward running through the Fourth Doctor’s seasons.