I say full of promise, because it applies not only to the story, but the show as a whole. Except…this is the last Doctor Who serial ever produced before the show was (albeit temporarily) cancelled in 1989. Little did anyone know it would take 16 years to return.
Which is a great shame, because the show had turned around from the dismal years under Colin Baker's Doctor. While Colin played his part well, the writing and general lack of support from the BBC essentially killed it.
In Survival, Sylveter McCoy gives a great performance as the Doctor, the direction he took the character in, one more mysterious and sure of himself, is just what many fans believe the Doctor should be like.
Sophie Aldred, as the companion Ace, brilliantly developed her character through the series, culminating in another fine performance in this serial.
Overall, a good plot, well acted, the only critcisms I have are: resolution – the story does tend to lack the finishing needed to tie up loose ends; and special effects: It would have been so much better if they had been less ambitious with the black cat – if you watch the special features, you'll know what I mean. Also contains a surprising cameo from Hale and Pace – of all people!
Sylvester McCoy is a great Doctor, and this is one of his better stories.