Thursday, May 14, 2009

R1 - The Executioners

As we saw at the tail end of The Space Museum, the Daleks are back, and there's gonna be a chase! And so, we set off on Doctor Who's six-part version of Cannonball Run, but Burt Reynolds never turns up. And that may actually be a good thing.

But, lo, look who does turn up! The Beatles! Via stock footage from Top of the Pops! It would have been so much better had Brian Epstein not vetoed the idea of John, Paul, George, and Ringo appearing as themselves in the far future as old men. It would have also been more of a blow to Doctor Who canon and continuity than Mawdryn Undead and Pyramids of Mars put together.

The foursome from Liverpool appear, in 1965, on the Time Space Visualizer, in what must surely be to most superfluous first half of an episode in Doctor Who history. As if The Space Museum before it wasn't tedious enough as four episodes to set up The Doctor actually receiving the TSV in the first place, now we actually have to witness the damn machine in action (thankfully, for the first and last time). Pointless vignettes of the lives of Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare ensue, until Barbara mercifully fiddles with the antenna and puts and end to the frivolity.

You can obviously tell that this is a Terry Nation script - introduce one or two new gadgets that are never seen again (TSV and the "TARDIS magnet", although the latter would return in the form of a homing device in the 1980's), Doctor and companions get separated, and a surprise reveal of a Dalek at the end of the episode (despite the fact that they've already appeared in a few scenes up until now). Add to this a ridiculously long and vapid sequence of a long string of Daleks filing into their time machine, and you have one of the most underwhelming starts to a Doctor Who story ever.

Should I mention how some of the Daleks seem slow and stupid now, too? Nah. There'll be plenty of time for that...


Keir said...

I thought the banter was very nice before they started with the visualiser. Very strange performance from Abraham Lincoln, I kept thinking he was about to keel over. It annoyed me that they made no mention of the fact that the visualiser has a Google-like 'I'm feeling lucky' feature, as they gave it reasonably vague time and space co-ordinates and it knew exactly what they'd be interested in.

osirun said...

I think the Beatles ARE starting to sound a bit like classical music, even in 2009 :D

Keir said...

I find some of RTD's pop culture inserts really annoying, giving all sorts of transient phenomena an undeserved compliment, but The Beatles here is just as bad, they just got lucky in that The Beatles happen to have stood the test of time. Good job The Chase wasn't made five years earlier, or they'd have been saying that Vicki knew about Cliff Richard.

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