Saturday, April 17, 2010

Random Classic Doctor Who Review

Okay, so I'm sort of a Doctor Who kick right now, which happens, so I'm still going strong with classic reviews. Let's go with a look at the Fifth Doctor's "Arc of Infinity"

The Doctor and Nyssa are called back to Gallifrey because some sort of anti-matter creature is attempting to bond with the Doctor. The possible destruction of this could be galaxy-wide devastating, so the High Council puts the Doctor to the death as to avoid any messy complications. At the same time, someone on the High Council is communicating with this bizarre creature. Is there a traitor in our midst?

The problem with watching Doctor Who out of order is that I get the chronology confused sometimes. Also, I have no idea who this Nyssa was. I recognized Tegan, who makes her re-introduction to the show in this serial, but otherwise, I was a smidge lost. It doesn't help that in the 20th season, every villain was a callback to the show's history. The mysterious creature in the anti-matter is a fairly specific reference to Gallifrean history.

Even with my lack of familiarity, I still found this to be an enjoyable entry in the Doctor Who series. Peter Davison remains a fantastic Doctor, full of energy and youth. He's extremely charming, which I understand is not always the norm for Doctors.

What impressed me most about this serial was the disparate plot points that slowly come together. I hadn't expected such sophistication from the mid-80's television. Usually it's plots rolled out of the factory for The A-Team.

However, the identity of the traitor is pretty obvious for anybody who has ever watched television. There's only one red herring, and it's the most apparent red herring ever.

There's also there's tons of running around, including a really long chase scene in the streets of Amsterdam. And tons of technobabble that, frankly, makes no sense. I'm not a physicist, but a lot of this is nonsense. I wouldn't say that the jargon detracts from the serial, but certainly the never-ending corridor chases slow the pace down.

And of course, the man in the rubber suit. There's a rubber suit design that's so garish and so outlandish that I thought it was a Muppet design.

I still really enjoyed "Arc of Infinity", but it's not the greatest thing ever. It doesn't reinvent the wheel for Doctor Who or science fiction television. It's decent writing and good acting, and that's all I can ask of one of my favourite shows ever.

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