Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
Will never love this, but can't bring myself to loathe it
on 17 November 2009
Well. I should really despise this, but I don't.
For a start, it is my favourite Doctor - Tom Baker. And Lalla Ward is wonderful as Romana nr 2. There are some strong supporting roles too.
Even the new theme music is quite catchy.
That's the good stuff. And the performances mentioned above are strong enough for me to get over the following....
John Nathan-Turner has arrived and there is a new effects gadget at hand. The problem is that every opportunity possible is taken to play with the new toy.
Unfortunately, the theme music has proved so popular that for some reason the entire story has almost turned into a musical, with mood music permeating almost every moment, suffocating some of the nuanced perfomances of the actors.
Poor Dudley Simpson, with Blake's 7 ending at roughly the same time, he would have every right to have felt rejected by the shiny new generation of BBC producers.
The whole story has a totally different feel. This transition in producers, for me has a bigger impact than some of the transitions in the leading part. The ever present synth chords remind me of the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Ok. But too much of a good thing can make you sick.
Fortunately, throughout the rest of the season, these issues subside a bit. Maybe they got it out of their systems.
Finally on to the story. (at last you may say, but if you buy this, you will see why I have gone on so much about the production).
Well, it is OK. It has plenty of fake science which doesn't stand up, but there again that has never stopped Doctor Who in the past. There are some iffy costumes and some wobbly dialogue, and the generation of the new race of Argolins is every bit as dubious as the cloned Doctor and Leela in "The Invisible Enemy". But, it is an acceptable story, and yes, I do like it, on the strength of the robust performances of Tom Baker/Lalla Ward in particular.
It is an average story strengthened by the performances, and hopefully you can overlook the experimentation by the JNT intake. By all means buy it, but not ahead of the classics. If you want something from the tail end of Tom Baker's era, get the E-Space trilogy box set first.