5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Colin Baker unleashed,
This review is from: Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma [DVD]  (DVD)There is no doubt that Colin Baker had bad press at the start of his tenure, however, really this is unfair as it is the production values that jar not the powerhouse performance from the actor.
This is a prime example. The unstable Doctor, still in post regeneration stress, portrays paranoia, cowardice, selfishness and all the things we would never have attributed to his previous incarnation. No wonder he came in for such a lambasting, though it has to be said this was mainly from the tabloid press and not the fans at the time. Dress him up as a knickerbocker glory and it is worse still. Blame John Nathan Turner for that one.
The story is no worse than many others. The gastropods aren't any less believable than many of the other rubber costume monsters that graced the programe during its initial 26 year run - viz Tractators, the Myrka, The Chronovore, Melkur.....et al. We were spoiled with the Caves of Androzani the preceding week (if you haven't got that one, it is a must), and this story is rather off the peg compared to the excellence of the preceding one.
Unfortunately the twins are too reminiscent of Adric rather than Turlough, and in my opinion they deserve Adric's fate. But I suppose that is always a chance you will have to take when you cast children in major roles.
The overall plot is reminiscent of other planetary manipulation stories in places, such as The Pirate Planet, The Tenth Planet, The Mysterious Planet, The Dalek Invasion of Earth.... i.e. it is a well worn path, though the sinister motive of the Gastropods is not revealed until late in the story.
The ending is weak and cliched and falls back on the self sacrificing alien type of resolution. This is a shame, as this darker Doctor could have really made an impact here.
This DVD completes my collection of Colin, and I am very glad I didn't skip it. It reminds me why I like Attack of the Cybermen and Vengeance on Varos. OK it is not as good as either of those, and the direction the show was being pushed in by Nathan-Turner was in my opinion erroneous, but Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are clearly a double-act in the making.
In summary, I am glad I bought this. I shall watch it from time to time to be entertained by the manic new Doctor. I would rate it as an average 3/5 if it weren't for Colin Baker who had not by then been pressured to tame down his act. So it gets a 4 from me.
Oh and there is a rather amusing extra on the DVD which shows the costumes of the Doctors, with a little bit of fun with Colin's incarnation.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 16 Nov 2009 19:20:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 16 Nov 2009 19:22:57 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2009 00:03:49 GMT
Just thought I would say that Coliin Baker is not my favoured Doctor, I am a Tom Baker fan through and through, but I rate the actor's performance in this story. And surely you are not saying this story is so much worse than, for example, Dragonfire, Time and The Rani, and many more. We will have to agree to disagree.
I don't think I needed to mention that the Doctor attacks Peri. Anyway, I wanted to leave that and most of the plot to the discovery of those that do actually buy this and not give it away like you have. I did mention his paranioa, cowardice and selfishness which I think suffices.
I think my review is well reasoned and balanced. All of the Doctors had their high and low points and I think I made it clear where I thought the weaknesses lie in this story. Surely even a visceral hatred of Nathan-Turner's branded superhero sixth incarnation, or in this case antihero, shouldn't overlook that it does have merits. It may not be cosy comfortable viewing, but it certainly has interest. Oh and I said that the lambasting was MAINLY at the hands of the tabloid press at the time. The dissatisfaction that many of us felt at the time with the way JNT was taking the series was nothing to the pure vitriol that came out in some of the publications. I still have some of these somewhere bundled up with old copies of DW Monthly. Some are so twisted - eg the article which talks about the Doctor pushing the guard into an acid bath in Vengeance on Varos - but if you watch it, that is not how it happens at all.
I don't know if you have seen this story recently, but I was kept entertained through it, unlike others, such as "then Invasion of Time" which I find tediously strung out with wandering around corridors. I enjoyed some of the comic moments in this, and I felt that the Peri/Doctor double act worked well - (making the assault even more shocking).
It doesn't score highly for me on nostalgia value, but if it hadn't followed the absolutely brilliant Caves Of Androzani (one of my favourites next to Genesis of the Daleks and Hand of Fear), then I don't think it would have jarred so much at the time and gone into collective memory as so interminably awful. For me it is a middling Doctor Who story made interesting by the manic performance of the new incarnation. I have justified how I have applied the standard Amazon rating (3 stars = "It's OK") but I have given it a bonus one star (4 stars = "I like it") on the strength of the interest.
Colin's whole era was beset by scheduling disasters, budget cuts, and misguided production. For me though, if you look you can still find hope.
There we are then. I hope, even if you don't agree with my views on this story, I have fleshed out my reasoning.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2009 17:55:19 GMT
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2009 21:22:33 GMT
Well, I'll just add a couple more bits, because we are never going to agree.
Firstly, I didn't add a star just because Colin Baker was in it - I don't think I said that. I just happened to like this particular portrayal by Colin Baker with the new Doctor close to breakdown. I don't see why that is an admission?? I thought it a decent enough reason. If I was adding stars just because Colin Baker was in them, then I would rate the Trial of a Timelord season higher than I do.
We don't agree on how to apply the rating system, and this is the crux of it. I don't believe it is the responsibility of the reviewer who is placing a personal experience on record to merely translate polls into star ratings. Polls can in themselves be misleading and they don't come with supporting text. A recent comedy poll put Peter Kaye as the best comedian of all time. Ok, you may like him, you may not, but people tend to vote for what they remember. Elements of nostalgia can also come into play, and also over time, it is not uncommon for memories to polarize still further. Yes Colin Baker's Doctor was the least liked (at the time - though now there are revisionists out there saying how he never stood a chance and he was under-rated). I would say there have been some truly dreadful stories no matter which actor was in the lead part - eg: The Sontaran Experiment, The Edge Of Destruction, Time Flight, Timelash, Time and The Rani. I just didn't feel this was as bad as those.
Seeing as I don't view the 1-5 star system as a way of applying the relevant quintile to a Doctor Who story, and also because I love Doctor Who so much in all its incarnations, very few of my ratings are below 3 stars for this programme.
After your first comments, I had a massive dose of self-doubt BUT having returned to look at the ratings from others, at the time of writing , there are 9 bang in the middle at 3 stars and the rest divided equally above and below. I don't feel so bad now.
I don't think there is much else either of us can say, it's clear we won't agree on this DVD, but I have enjoyed debating with another fan who clearly cares as much as I do about this great series.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2009 18:24:09 GMT
Well I'm glad you liked it - I just didn't think others would.
But you're quite right about revisionists and about there being dreadful stories in all eras, I think we just differ about this one (but not about Androzani !).
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2010 18:38:03 GMT
Mr Neville says:
It was a brave move to show the Doctor as temporarily unhinged and the Doctor trying to strangle his companion was inspired. Instead of the usual cosy, twee family schmamily tone we had some seriously dark drama. Excellent. It showed the young that even the kindest people have a dark side.
In reply to an earlier post on 22 Aug 2010 21:47:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Aug 2010 21:50:43 BDT
Shaun Cryer says:
It is a poor story, far superior to Time and the Rani by virtue that it's funny, sadly it is funny for all the wrong reasons. But if Time and the Rani merits 0 out of five then 'Twin' merits only a 1 out of five.
Sadly the good points (and there are some), an unstable Doctor should have been good but is reduced to the level of farce by Baker's overacting. I don't blame him for this because he's done some sterling work for Big Finish, but in this his performance is pure pantomime. Like wise the strangling scene is so poorly executed and directed that any sense of drama is totally lost. Baker looks like he's trying not to hurt her but again I put this down to direction. It comes across as completely feeble.
The twins are excrutiating. This is one of JNT's favourite stories and says all there is to say about that particular individual bearing in mind that it came directly after an all time classic. As to the costume, well, that sums up JNT's vision of DW in a nutshell, and confirms my suspicion that without Bidmead and Saward DW would have descended into the realms of CBBC from season 18 onwards. Davison was lucky to have those two gentlemen on board!
Posted on 22 Apr 2011 18:27:49 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Apr 2011 18:06:46 BDT
Mr. R. G. Prizeman says:
If you love this one I'd love to know what you thought of the real classics like genesis of the daleks or pyramids of mars. As other people have said this regularly comes bottom in most polls and at the time alienated so many fans. This is just where so much started to go wrong John Nathon-Turner was at the time making so many mistakes with the programme after four years of good production. Eric Saward script editor of the time agreed this was such a badly written story. As for Baker it was not his fault and he was never given a fair crack of the the whip, but that still no way makes it a classic. have to agree with Horrace by giving a story like this 4 stars is missleading to other stories that are better but not five star.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jun 2011 20:29:29 BDT
Sorry I'm late with a reply - been going back through old posts.
Making the 1st appearance of the 6th doc such an aggressive and unsympathetic character was not "brave" but misguided - prior to the 80's Who made a similar points to the point you bring up in a much more subtle way - particularly in the Barry Letts era - The Brig was always blowing up aliens much to the doc's disgust, yet he (and we) still loved the Brig. The Brig was a complex but fully rounded character - the doc in this was just plain psychotic and unpleasant.
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