By Tom J Toaduff
Ah, the classic era. Before the long, convoluted plots and the Doctor and Companion romances. This story actually really puts across the message to New Who that you don’t need the Doctor and the Companion to have a tragic romance (*ahem* Ten and Rose) to have a really good friendship between the two.
The Pyramids of Mars first broadcast on the 25th of October, 1975, long before I was born, and it to this day probably the most memorable for older fans of the show, and when people mention Tom Baker, this episode along with City of Death, Robot and Logopolis spring to mind as his best. This serial featured the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane taking on Sutekh, a member of an alien race called the Osirians. The TARDIS arrives in the Scarman family home, after a mental projection of a jackal looking creature appears in the TARDIS, and the Doctor, Sarah and the Scarman’s look around for what could have caused this, and soon find these mummy creatures. Of course, they’re actually robots. The episode continues and was broadcast in 4 separate parts as they find Sutekh and all that stuff, of course I’m not going to spoil this episode.
But this episode is a fine example of the brilliant writing from the Classic era. Of course you have cheesy dialogue and special effects, but the actual plot and the acting and the threat are all legitimate. Sutekh is a brilliant villain, one of my favourites and I wish he would return to face off against Capaldi. I know that he has appeared in one or two audio stories through the years, but pulled off right and you could have a brilliantly scary modern episode. The episode has so many brilliant parts it is hard to pick one. One of the best bits I can think of right now is when Sarah talks about “just leaving 1911 in the TARDIS, as the future has and will always happen because she’s seen it.” The Doctor proves otherwise and takes her to 1980, and opens the doors to an empty wilderness of thunder and rain and lightning, which explains to Sarah that they have to stop Sutekh, or the future they know will never happen. Although it was only a short 5 minute sequence in Part 2, it was the part that stuck with me in my mind and I don’t really know why.
I don’t really want to go into a ton of detail with this episode, as it is a classic and I highly recommend you hunt it down for yourself and take a look if you haven’t seen it yet. It will probably be shown on the Horror channel in the UK and perhaps U.S too, but, if you really can’t wait then I suggest you take a look at the Sarah Jane Adventures Boxset, as all 4 parts of this serial are on one of the discs, and is listed as a bonus feature. Considering that the boxset on Amazon.uk is only about £30, you are getting a brilliant 2 hour long Doctor Who classic, and 5 whole series of the brilliant Sarah Jane Adventures. Just a recommendation.
So all in all, taking into account this was a classic episode with cheesy effects and dialogue but overall a memorable episode with a faultless plot, brilliant acting and a fearsome enemy, I cannot find a single valid flaw with the episode.