I can remember Doctor Who nearly getting canceled and then returning in 1986 after a year and a half hiatus. And it was returning with something new. Back in 1978, season 16 started with a story arc over the entire season pertaining to the key to time. Back in 1971, season 8 saw The Master in every episode, but season 16 contained an arc linking the episodes. When the show did return in 1986 it was titled "The Trial of a Timelord." This was one true entire season storyline. The difference is like the difference between the new season 1-4 (bad wolf, torchwood, the master/saxon, missing planets) compared to Torchwood seasons 3 and 4 (children of earth, miracle day). In one case a plot thread runs through the different stories to culminate in a grand finale, in the other the entire season is one narrative spanning all episodes of the season. Season 23 is the closest we have to this in Doctor Who. Although unofficially broken into 4 stories, those stories interweave with the trial, giving the entire 14 episodes an uninterrupted flow.
Summing it up, The Doctor is put on trial by Timelords for his interfering ways. The case is heard by The Inquisitor, and presented by The Valeyard. During the trial, evidence is presented of The Doctor's meddling, giving us 3 of the 4 stories. In the first 2 we see The Doctor still travelling with Peri, albeit a seemingly more mature version. In the 3rd we meet the new companion, Mel, after she is already travelling with The Doctor, a first since Susan. She is shown in evidence given from The Doctor's future, but he continues on with Mel from here on out.
This is Colin Baker's last season as The Doctor, and after being fired he didn't even come back to film the regeneration scene, but I am going to review that first episode of the next season, "Time and The Rani", next month. I had forgotten until re watching these that there is a new theme arrangement used only in this set of episodes. Just in case some of you haven't seen it, I've tried to give a breakdown without giving away some key details, because there are some huge ones in this season. I'm going to review them each by the unofficial titles:
"The Mysterious Planet"
"Terror of the Vervoids"
"The Ultimate Foe"
And then I will link them each below as I post them.