Doctor Who: Nightmare of Eden
The first time I chanced on DOCTOR WHO, I couldn't believe how hokey it was.
The Doctor is an intergalactic time traveller who drops in on various planets to save it from archfiends. Usually the Earth because we always need saving --- mostly in England --- mostly near London. He is accompanied by a pretty screamer always, and sometimes by an adventuresome man or two.
The satire happened to be aired in a slot when I couldn't catch sleep, so I kept it on the telly, hoping that WHO might deliver my quarry. Until Lala Ward came in as the Screaming Maiden. I fell in love with her. So did Tom Baker, who played the Doctor. Their chemistry was palpable; they married during their stint. Campier than a Scout Jamboree, the cliches grow on you. The underfinanced production crew is in love with their silly work, and it shows. The interminable series holds a large following around the world, over 30 years, spawning movies and books. M.A.S.H., CHEERS, and DALLAS should be so durable.
The Curse of Eden is a morality tale about recreational drugs. Preaching is sudden death to most stories; remember those perils-of-sex instruction films, all you ex-draftees? This episode might be tolerated by hard-core addicts in love with the nunnish Mrs. Baker. Newcomers to the DOCTOR WHO camp should begin with the perennial threats to civilization as we know it, the Daleks, robots who destroy everything they see. Whimsical Tom Baker is the best loved of the many Doctors, but saturnine John Pertwee is the definitive character. Catch that hyperspacial theme music.