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TV Tuesday: A Rare Doctor Who Update

Doctor Who is back! I've been trying to catch up on Classic Who by watching an episode a day.

In "The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Eve" The Doctor fails to stop a medieval massacre and even pushes a harmless young woman out into the streets after curfew, telling her she'll be all right. Steven is terribly upset that she wasn't invited to go on the Tardis, and makes the Doctor promise to let him off at the next stop. The Doctor muses sadly and self-indulgently on his situation: "Now they've all gone, all gone. . . Perhaps I should go back to my own planet - but I can't." A woman comes running into the police box (he's left the door open for the moping) in an attempt to use it as a police box. No, no, he tells her, no telephones or anything of that sort; she'll have to run along and find another police box. Steven runs back in to warn him that the police are on their way, and because we can't have policemen in the Tardis, they're off again. Steven is horrified to see that they've taken another passenger on board. He tries to explain to Dodo that she might never get back home again; she couldn't care less. She's even forgotten about the injured boy she was trying to call the police about in the first place. We're meant to infer that Dodo is a direct descendant of Anne, whom the Doctor left in France in 1397, and that he was therefore right to leave Anne behind, but this seems like a stretch.

This is a totally missing serial, so what I really saw was about a dozen still photographs per episode and the audio. I tried to watch a fan reconstruction with CGI figures, but couldn't stick with it - the model for the Doctor looked nothing like William Hartnell (but a little like Matt Smith in a wig) and the costumes were all wrong, so I switched back to the still photos. I loved the unscrupulous Queen Mother with her wide plain face and imperious eyebrows and wished there were some moving footage of her.

I also really wish we had more moving footage of the Celestial Toymaker serial - such a batshit plot and elaborate sets, such a great hammy villain. The Toymaker can't keep the Doctor imprisoned in his creepy toy palace forever, so he sends him some excessively chewy candies to wreak havoc with his dental work. It's the next best thing! Meanwhile, Steven and Dodo encounter a series of living dolls who try to kill them by being as annoying as possible.

The extant serial in between, The Ark, is not amazing but not bad - I like the Monoids with their single eye where a mouth would be, and the far-future humans with their ribbon dresses. Contiguous clothing is so medieval!

Dodo's an interesting companion. She's headstrong and naive and makes a lot of mistakes. I love that she just picks random time-travel gear from the Tardis closet to wear whenever - because why wouldn't you? Her perky thirst for adventure and inability to appreciate danger has forced poor Steven into the role of scold. The Doctor is protective and paternalistic toward her because (as we're told in a throwaway line when she first runs into the Tardis) she reminds him of Susan.

I've just started "The Gunslingers" - which is, for some reason, a musical. The Doctor needs a tooth looked at, so they stop in the American West circa 1880. This is a great plan with no drawbacks, and certainly represents the best possible use of a time machine. Anyway it gives Peter Purves the chance to break out his terrible American accent again, and that's the important thing. For fans of bad American accents on the BBC, this serial promises to be a giant chocolate box of assorted delights.

The most recent series has also started - and I'm several episodes behind, as usual, but so far, so good. There's been a creepy living puddle, some creepy robots, a sad ice monster, and a sad creepy house. It feels like the writers are still figuring Bill out a little, but Pearl Mackie is extremely likable. I'm excited to see where it goes.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2017 02:32 pm (UTC)
The first Dr flies through time and space constantly looking for Susan replacements. He must have them or else! The camera work on 'The Ark' was surprisingly good, they couldn't let the director direct again for the BBC after;p Enjoy the Gunslingers. Everyone used to hate it but now they like it. I haven't watched it in ages: I've got it on VHS.

I don't mind Dodo, who is unloved. It's a shame she doesn't get more attention, but the show was going through a random period with producers which didn't help her characterisation.
May. 23rd, 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
I like Dodo! And The Gunslingers, so far. :D
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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