>One of the advantages of finding Doctor Who in the pre-Internet age was that I was able to see most of the stories in isolation. I was able to see them and decide whether I liked them without the biases of the other fans on-line or even in my immediate sphere of influence.
And while many of top stories are among those considered to be the “classics” of the show’s run, there are still a handful that I think are overlooked or underrated when the lists of good Doctor Who stories are made.
One of those is the six-part Jon Pertwee story, “The Mind of Evil.”
It’s the second story from season eight and it features just about everything that makes the Pertwee era memorable.
“The Mind of Evil” starts off with three separate story threads and slowly weaves them all together. UNIT is providing security for a world peace conference and escorting a missile full of nerve gas across the English countryside, the Doctor and Jo go to a prison to see the latest development in the rehabilitation of prisoners and the Master is on the loose. If it seems like there’s a lot going on, there is, but it quickly becomes apparent that everything is connected. And by connected, I mean that all roads lead to the Master hatching some elaborate plot that involves an alien parasite the feeds on the evil in the minds of people, a prison riot, the peace conference and the missile of nerve gas.
Many people point out “The Daemons” as the definitive example of the Pertwee era. And while I really like that story, I believe “Mind of Evil” has just as many of the elements of the era on display and could be at least considered in the same pantheon as the much-lauded “Daemons.”
Of course, it’s not helped by the fact that “Mind of Evil” is only available in black and white, except for two short clips. But in this case, I think “Evil” may work better in black and white. Something about it in black and white just works. I know the Restoration Team is working their magic on it to restore the color for the DVD release and if that happens, I’ll be the first in line to pick it up. But I still wonder if color may not change how I see the story.