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Another pair of extraordinary Doctor Who titles - what a perfect way to geek into spring....
BBC / 199 Minutes / 1964/1975 / Unrated / Street Date: June 12, 2012
These two new Doctor Who editions come from different periods in the show's history - 1964 and 1975 - but they both scratch the same itch. Heady, cheesy, and implicitly interesting, The Aztecs and The Ark in Space are solid additions to the pantheon, installments that throw our fair Doc (as played by two different actors) into tricky situations and allow him to wriggle his way out of them with his particular brand of vim and vigor.
In The Aztecs, the Doctor (William Hartnell) is plagued with the issue of changing the events of history while on a time-travelling mission. As it turns out, the Doctor and Barbara (Jacqueline Hill) begin their adventure here in 1400s Mexico, where Barbara gets the grand idea to stop their Aztec buddies’ ritual of human sacrifice both for purely logical reasons and in an attempt to perhaps make them less susceptible to the onset of European conquerors who will soon be knocking at their doors. The Doc thinks this is a terrible idea, but unsurprisingly, things quickly become complicated, and decisions have to be made.
The Ark in Spaceis more of an Alien-esque affair. The Doctor (this time played by Tom Baker) wakes up on a desolate space station where a collection of humans are in a seemingly unending state of cryogenic freeze – they’re supposed to wake up when they reach a certain oblique destination, but the vessel doesn’t seem to be on a trajectory to get anywhere any time soon. And wouldn’t you know – it turns out that a squadron of creepy-ass aliens have their insect-like eyes on the ship, and Doc and his team need to figure out how to both preserve their own lives and keep their zonked-out compatriots from becoming extraterrestrial entrees.