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A Month of TV Commentary: A Meme in 30 Parts: Day 7

From , via , the 30-Day TV Meme.

Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show

While coming up with a favourite Doctor Who, episode was hard, this one is easy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of bad Doctor Who episodes. Even forgiving the budgetary restraints that they had to work with, and being as kind and generous as possible, there’s still a lot of stories that weren’t very good, went on too long, contained glaring continuity holes, and all the other nonsense that separates the good from the poor. (While watching the DW: Confidential for a recent episode, kitanzi saw a clip from 1970’s “The Silurians”, laughed out loud at the rubber-suit alien and said “C’mon, they weren’t even trying!”)

For all that, however, in this particular case, one episode does stand out to me as the nadir that Doctor Who was capable of on a given day. An episode so notable for its awfulness that even to this day, thirty years after it first aired, hejira2006 and I will say “Well, that was bad. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as ‘The Horns of Nimon’.

I wish I could find a clip of Graham Crowden mincing through the halls of the spaceship, calling out “Lord Nimon! Lord Niiiiiiimon!” to give you an illustration of just how absurd this one was. (No offense to Crowden, who has done good work elsewhere, most notably in Waiting for God, which I rather enjoyed.) It may not be the very worst of Doctor Who, but it’s an exemplar to stand in for the worst the show has to offer.

(I did find this one clip, from a fellow who seems to be arguing tongue-in-cheek for the opposite viewpoint. I Include it here in the interest of fairness, and to let you see both the Crowden scene mentioned above, and just how awful the minotaur costume was, even by the standards of 1979 BBC production budgets.)

Day 01 – A show that should have never been cancelled
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this t.v season)
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever
Day 05 – A show you hate
Day 06 – Favourite episode of your favourite t.v show

Day 08 – A show everyone should watch
Day 09 – Best scene ever
Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you
Day 12 – An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show
Day 14 – Favorite male character
Day 15 – Favorite female character
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show
Day 17 – Favorite mini series
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast
Day 20 – Favorite kiss
Day 21 – Favorite ship
Day 22 – Favorite series finale
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 – Best pilot episode
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death

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Good thoughts requested

19 Comments

    • The Horns of Nimon is the Spock’s Brain of Doctor Who, really.

      • Brain, brain and brain! What is this brain?

        To (probably very loosely) paraphrase ….

      • Heee. Yep. And like Spock’s Brain, while it may not be the dullest episode of the series, or the dumbest, or even necessarily the worst executed, it reaches a level of unbelievable absurdity so iconic (as notes, “so bad it’s good”), and maintains that dizzying height for so long, that you still insist people who have never seen it sit down and watch it, just so they appreciate how magnificently wretched it is.

        (If you really wanted to point to the worst episodes of the show, there’s any number of part 4s of 6 or 7 where nothing happens, because the six-parter only had about 4 episodes of plot and thus entire segments in the middle are just time-filling padding. But what fun would that be to write about? *grin*)

  1. Something worth keeping in mind is that this was the “Christmas panto” for the season (Eps. 1 and 2 airing 22 and 29 December, respectively), so it’s supposed to be campier than usual.

    ( and I will randomly sing out “Lord NIIIIIIImon…” at times, and “Soldeed, how many Nimon have you seen today?” is rapidly becoming code for “Exactly how much HAVE you had to drink tonight?”)

    • Some truth to that, though in honesty a great deal of the Graham Williams era of the show feels a bit more like panto than was probably strictly necessary. 🙂

      *chortle* at the Nimon references. have done similarly, and I may have the swipe the “how drunk are you” reference. 🙂

  2. That is a classic case of “so bad it’s good”. It’s /so/ camp, totally over the top, and as such should be required watching. And yes, Romana is awesome, that scene with the kids is perfect dead-pan.

    • That’s true, and it’s something I probably should have noted that for all that I pillory it, it does have a certain MST3K quality of enjoyment to it.

      But even when one musters the appropriate affection for it, something that’s “so bad it’s good” is still pretty bad. 🙂

      • Incidentally, it’s also one of the few episodes where I actually like Tom Baker (sorry!), possibly because his over-the-top madness is actually in keeping with the rest of it. Generally he annoys me (and still does, as when he’s been on panel shows), but he fits in the ‘pantomime’ type context.

        • You don’t need to apologize to me! As I said earlier, my favourite doctor was Troughton, followed by Pertwee. And truth told, while I thought he suffered from an overabundance of miserable scripts, I like Peter Davison’s Doctor a whole lot. That puts Baker no higher than 4th on my list (coincidentally), and if Matt Smith continues to be this fantastic, he might slip further.

  3. If you fast-forward through everything except Lalla’s dialog and the straight lines people feed her, it’s one of my faves.

  4. And now I’m suitably intrigued enough to actually procure a copy of Horns and watch it. I should get some good knitting time out of that, yes?

    What HORRIBLE costuming (the Minotaur).

    • Oh, absolutely. I think everyone should watch this episode. It’s wildly entertaining in its own way. Which is why I chose to single it out over some of the more dreary choices. (I mean, maybe it’s not the worst DW episode ever, but the ones that might be worse are just, y’know, dull, and that’s no fun to blog about, is it? 🙂

  5. Waiting for god is my favorite Brit Comn.

    Granted I want to work in Gerontology…

  6. Actually -- and this is one of my contrarian Who opinions, along with liking Adric, and Anthony Ainley being my Master-o’-choice -- despite the lousy production values and some of the terrible dialogue, I think “Horns of Nimon” has a lot to be said for it, story-wise. The Skonnons, a former imperial power dreaming of their past and future glory, are both pathetic and frightening: but ultimately pathetic, because their refusal to accept reality makes them prey, and not the predators they play at still being. And the Nimons, an intelligent species adapted to parasitize on high-tech civilizations, wouldn’t be out of place in something by Scalzi or Stross. The logic of the situation has the ring of credibility to me.

    Also, I think it’s a fun set of variations on the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, which never gets old.

    (Reposted, sorry: first posting was accidentally a reply to someone’s comment on another topic, which I’m sure was confusing.)

    • It’s ok. As I’ve noted elsewhere in the comments, I kind of enjoy it even as I mock it. And yes, the underlying story has a lot of merit, but the execution is what brings it down.

      This story *could* be done better, but it wasn’t. But it’s charming in its obvious awfulness. 🙂

  7. Aye. The Horns of Nimon has “bad” written all over it. Maybe if we had three heads in the corner….

  8. This is one of the hardest questions for me, because I tend not to remember details on the bad stuff. Rather than a specific episode, I’ll go with more general areas.

    For Babylon 5, the worst stuff was in the first part of the first season, when the show was still finding its focus. In fact, the original pilot had some of the worst material. (Like Delenn’s rings, which were never seen again.)

    For The West Wing, my least favorite sequence was the kidnapping of Zoe Bartlett, and the President’s temporary abdication as a result.

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