Saturday, June 13, 2009

CC1 - The Smugglers 1

Arr! It's about time that 17th century pirates made an appearance in Doctor Who. I could write an entire blog that could lament the missing episodes of the 60's, but it's a tragedy that The Smugglers doesn't exist today to see what would have been some wonderful location shooting in Cornwall, including some scenes on an old timey ship off the coast. It would just about be the furthest distance for a Doctor Who location shoot until Season 17's City of Death. Interesting that the more expensive stories in the 60's tended to occur towards the end of the production block (The Smugglers was the last story made for the third block in 1966), whereas in the 1970's and 80's, stock grey flats and casts of tens were the order of the day at season's end.

Ben and Polly accustom themselves to the wonders of the TARDIS with remarkable brevity in Episode One. Mind you, by this point in Season 3, there have been so many people making their way through the TARDIS that any extended reaction to its dimensional transcendentalism would be old hat for the viewer. Still, it seems that the lesser the reaction provoked in the companion, the lesser the companion becomes. Look at Dodo - she barely batted an eye at the thing, and we barely batted an eye when she left a few weeks later. I'm already feeling that way towards Ben and Polly.

And that's not to slag off the characters or the two actors who portray them. But you can tell immediately that they don't have the same chemistry with The Doctor (or, indeed, William Hartnell), and, in fact, there's hasn't been a strong TARDIS lineup since the Doctor/Vicki/Steven days. And that was only really good in The Time Meddler. I am eagerly awaiting the time when this game of companion musical chairs settles down for the first time in a long while.


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