Doctor Who: Dragonfire

doctor who dragonfire

Doctor Who
Season 24
Story 147
Original airdate: November 23 – December 7, 1987

While we do watch the new Doctor Who series every Friday I periodically watch the Classic Series. I do that pretty randomly – jumping around from story to story, Doctor to Doctor, whenever the mood hits me. Since I’m planning on writing about NuWho every Friday I thought I’d write about the Classic Stories as well.

Dragonfire was the final story in the 24th season of Doctor Who. It saw the end of Mel (Bonnie Langford) as the Doctor’s companion and the beginning of Ace’s (Sophie Aldred) run. She would be the last companion of the classic series.

The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Mel land the TARDIS on Iceworld, a trading colony on the dark side of the planet Svartos. At an ice cream parlor, they run into Sabalom Glitz (Tony Selby) whom The Doctor had run in a previous story (Trial of a Time Lord). Glitz has a map that purportedly leads to a treasure buried under the colony. A treasure that is protected by a dragon. As it happens Ace is working at the ice cream shop as a waitress. She was accidentally transported to Iceworld from her home on 20th-century Earth while she was toying around with some homemade explosives. She is totally keen to follow our heroes, battle a dragon and capture the treasure.

Our main villain is not the dragon, but rather Kane (Edward Peel), a great evildoer who was exiled to Svartos some 2,000 years ago. He hopes the treasure will help him return to his home planet. The trouble is his natural body temperature is super cold and any conflict with a fire-breathing dragon would kill him. He’s been waiting for someone courageous like the Doctor to get the treasure for him.

Not knowing that they are unwittingly doing Kane’s bidding The Doctor and his companions venture underneath the city in search of the dragon and the treasure. They find both, but as these things usually go Kane gets the treasure which is an energy source he can use to pilot his spaceship and return to his home. Naturally, he is thwarted and The Doctor wins.

As a story Dragonfire is pretty lacking. Kane is straight-up evil. He enslaves the people of Iceworld to do his bidding and generally doesn’t care if they live or die. The sets are actually pretty great with lots of plastic sheeting used to create the ice world. There the usual caves and what-not, but they use them to good effect. There is one giant room that must have been built on a massive sound stage that gives the place a more expansive feeling than most Doctor Who stories.

Mel has never been my favorite companion and she’s not given much more to do here but complain and scream in terror. Still, it is always a little sad to see a companion go. Strangely, throughout the story she makes no indication that she plans to leave and then in the last five minutes she’s like “well, I’m off, see you around Doctor” and leaves with Sabalom Glitz. I haven’t seen the previous story so maybe she indicated this was going to be her last adventure there, but it seems so quick here.

Ace is naturally then invited to go on more adventures and she gladly accepts. I’ve come to like her as a companion with her adventurous spirit and willingness to jump right in (and blow things up).

So not the best story, but not the worst by a long shot.

Wilfred: Season Two


Reading these old reviews that I wrote is such a strange experience for me. There are times when I’ll read a review and have no memory of ever watching that movie to TV series. Or my memory of the thing is totally different from what I wrote on the page. Wilfred is a show I do remember watching. I remember which house I was living in when I watched it and my mind’s eye sees me sitting there watching. But I couldn’t tell you a thing about it. If asked if I liked it I’d probably shrug and say it was ok. But reading my review I see that I quite liked it. That I found it crass, but very funny.

I don’t know that this means anything, except that I’ve watched a lot of stuff over the years and written about it. And that my memory isn’t great. Now I think I may have to see if I still have those Wilfred DVDs and watch them again.

Doctor Who: The Visitation

doctor who the visitation

I originally wrote this review in 2013. It is fun to read my thoughts on this story as it was pretty early days for me and Classic Who. This was my first time watching Peter Davison in the role and I wasn’t thrilled with his performance (I’ve since come to love him). It is also funny that I note that Adric seems pretty useless and Tegan does nothing but complain (my opinions on them have remained the same).

As a side note my current cat is named Nyssa.

Anyway, you can read the review here.

Doctor Who: The Aztecs

doctor who the aztecs

I am a very big fan of Doctor Who, both the new series and the original. That wasn’t always the case. My wife grew up watching Tom Baker as The Doctor on PBS when she was a kid, but that was a series I never paid much attention to back then. When the new series came out she would sometimes watch an episode, but we weren’t in a position where she could watch it every week. Whenever she would watch it I would try to watch it with her but it never took. It just seemed so cheesy to me then.

But when our daughter was born we were constantly looking for series to binge watch and eventually, we landed on Doctor Who. It took me a few episodes, but I did get into it. I’ve come to love the cheesiness. Over time we’ve gone back and watched many of the old stories which are even more cheesy.

The Aztecs was one of the first of the Classic Who stories I ever watched, it was definitely the first I ever with William Hartnell playing The Doctor. It is really fun for me to read my review of that story as I seem a little confused by the low budget and cheesiness of it all, which I now know is part of the show’s charm.

This was also an early review for me for Cinema Sentries and you can tell I was out of practice as I mostly just regurgitate the plot.

But whatever you can read my review here if you like.

Actually, if I may make a small request. Cinema Sentries is a small site. It is run by my friend Gordon and is a labor of love. I don’t know the stats but I know he’s not getting the traffic the big sites get. So, even if you don’t want to read my review of this Doctor Who story (or any review I write) I’d appreciate it if you’d click on those links that will take you to Cinema Sentries, and then stay there for a minute or two. That will help his numbers and help him grow the site. Thanks in advance.

Maigret (1992)


Maigret is the great, French detective created by the Belgian writer Georges Simenon. He’s a bit like a mix between Hercule Poirot and Phillip Marlowe. Many, many books were written between the 1930s and 1970s and they have been adapted numerous times into TV shows and movies. I’ve actually watched and written reviews for a number of those adaptations including this one from Britain starring Michael Gambon. You can read my review for the series here.

I’m currently watching a different series from the BBC about Maigret and I’ll post a review of it in these pages soon enough.

The Hour 2

the hour 2

One of the things I used to do at Cinema Sentries is review television series that were made in countries not named The United States of America. I love movies from around the world, and I’ve learned to love television from across the globe as well.

The Hour was a British series about a news show from the 1960s, and the struggles it undergoes trying to report hard news rather than fluff pieces. That sounds rather boring, but the series is excellent. Reading my review just now reminds me of how much I liked it and makes me want to watch it again.

The Flash (2014): The Complete Eighth Season

the flash season 8

I’ve mentioned before that we are big fans of The Flash in my house, and I believe I also mentioned that the show was starting to wear thin. Season Eight furthered my thoughts in this regard. It is really starting to become a chore to sit through and that’s not good for any show. Season Nine will be its final season and I’m definitely glad. I’m sure I’ll watch it because I’d like to see it through to the end, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, which is such a shame.

Anyway, here’s my review of the entire season eight.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Sixth Season

legends of tomorrow complete sixth season

I’m working my way through all of the Cinema Sentries reviews I’ve done over the years in reverse chronological order. This means you will get to read my Arrowverse reviews backward. I guess that’s fun, especially because I like the earlier seasons much more than the later ones. Click here to read my review of the sixth season of Legends.

The Flash: The Complete Seventh Season

the flash

I’m a big fan of The Flash television series. I’ve been watching long than any other show in the Arrowverse. Which is why I was so bummed out when the Seventh Season turned out to be kind of terrible. Part of this was due to the Covid-19 Pandemic screwing with their ability to make the show like they usually do, part of it was because a whole lot of the cast decided to leave, but mostly it is because the show seems to be running out of ideas. You can read my full review here.