Monday, April 7, 2008

Review of Story 142: "Timelash"

Two classic Doctor Who stories were released here in the states on DVD last Tuesday -- "The Time Warrior" (starring Jon Pertwee as the third Doctor) and "Timelash" (starring Colin Baker as the sixth Doctor). One of these is considered a classic for introducing the Sontarans and Sarah Jane Smith and the other, well, is not. I decided to jot down my thoughts on the stories separately, starting with the one that is looked upon with derision by much of fandom, "Timelash."

First off, let me just say that "Timelash" does not deserve the horrible reputation that it has gained over the last 20 years. No, it may not be "Pyramids of Mars" or "The Talons of Weng-Chiang," but very few stories are. It's certainly not as bad as every story I've watched from the Sylvester McCoy era. Wow those stories are terrible... Anyway, I quite like Colin Baker as The Doctor. Okay, the opening scene in the TARDIS is nearly unbearable, but I chalk that up to bad dialogue more than to the actors. Nicola Bryant's American accent is as atrocious as usual, but considering how many bad faux English accents the Brits have had to put up with from us Yanks over the years, I just look on her exaggerated pronunciations as a kind of karmic payback. In any case, I like the developing relationship between The Doctor and Peri (which reaches its apex in the next story, "Revelation of the Daleks"). Their friendship is contentious, and prickly, but you can tell there's real affection there as well. They're like siblings who bicker and bitch, but always have each other's backs at the end of the day.

So, aside from the two leads, how is the story? Eh, it's okay. I still have no idea how the doctor deflected the killer missile or why it's implied that The Borad becomes the Loch Ness Monster at the end, but whatever. (By the way, every time I heard the word "Borad" in this story, I mentally pictured Sacha Baron Cohen tormenting drunk frat boys. Is that wrong?) Not everything made sense, but I'm kind of used to that from watching a lot of these things. I did think it was interesting that the story revealed that The Doctor and Jo Grant had visited Karfel long ago in some sort of missing adventure. I bet fanboys (and fangirls) flew into a tizzy back in the day, assuming that they had missed a Jon Pertwee story somewhere along the way. I did enjoy the inclusion of a young and very impressionable H.G. Wells in the story (even if if does cheapen his books a bit to imply that he just stole his ideas for The Time Machine and The Invisible Man from The Doctor). Oh, and the make-up on The Borad was pretty damn good for the time and the budget! He looked quite spooky with his deformed face and flipper hands. Not that the make-up justified keeping him turned around in his chair for the entire first episode Dr. Evil-style, mind you. That was a little over the top.

So, overall, "Timelash" was better than some classic Doctor Who stories and worse than others. It was completely middle of the road, really. I'm not quite sure why so many people hate it.

No comments: