Saturday, February 20, 2010

Random Classic Doctor Who Review

Okay I'm starting a new thing on this blog today. This will be a new recurring feature in which I review a classic Doctor Who serial - sometimes chosen at random, sometimes selected. The first one we will go with is the Fifth Doctor's Resurrection of the Daleks from series 21. I chose this serial because it's one of the major stories from the Fifth Doctor's era, and it's considered good. Let's take a look.

The Doctor, Turlough and Tegan are caught in some sort of Time Corridor and are deposited randomly in London of 1984. They attempt to find the Corridor and figure out what drew them here. Meanwhile, a Dalek space vessel invades a prison ship with the intent on freeing a mysterious prisoner. The Daleks are employing humanoid mercenaries in order to conquer this ship at the same time using the mercenaries for some mysterious purpose in London 1984. The Doctor and his companions run into a bomb defusing squad in a warehouse where the Time Corridor is, and lo and behold, suddenly they are assaulted by a Dalek. What is buried underneath this warehouse? Who is the mysterious prisoner and what do the Daleks want with him?

Let's get this out of the way right away: yes, the special effects are dodgy. Doctor Who operates on a budget a fraction of the size of American television shows. The effects don't really bother me. Sometimes they're laughably bad, and other times they're surprisingly effective. But what of the story?

This is an extremely entertaining Doctor Who serial. The dialogue is decent enough, the plotting is pitch perfect. Each cliffhanger is set up well enough and the mystery unfolds slowly enough to keep my attention. That being said, this serial suffers from some pretty poor acting, specifically, from Tegan and from the prisoner. There's often the sense of theatrical acting, trying to shout to the back seats when there's no need. It's not enough to ruin the story for me.

The prison ship features some terrific characters such as the doctor who attempts self-destructing the ship and the new recruit with a desire for change in working conditions. All of the character building is done quickly, making room for what appears to be a huge death count for a Doctor Who serial.

That being said, character development stops completely by the end of the second of four parts, giving way to action and chases. It's not a terrible thing. I just wanted more from the writing.

I really enjoyed Resurrection of the Daleks. I thought it was well-plotted, staged professionally, and the acting from most participants was excellent. I loved the fanservice nods to previous continuity without being intrusive or attention-grabbing. I look forward to more Fifth Doctor adventures.

So concludes the first Random Classic Doctor Who Review post. Keep your browser here for more exciting reviews of Doctor Who and other things.

No comments: