Friday, January 29, 2010
Those who say that the classic series contained far less emotion and sentimentalism than the new series of Doctor Who can look at Episode One of Time-Flight as their Exhibit A. The apparent shock of Adric's death the week before isn't even enough to warrant the episode starting out with. And when Adric's death is finally dealt with in the opening TARDIS scene, it's over and dealt with within two minutes, and The Doctor takes everyone off to the Crystal Palace in 1851 to help "cheer them up", as if England has just been knocked out of the preliminary round at the World Cup.
Why bother showing the vulnerability of life with The Doctor if you're not going to show the consequences of it? "(Adric) wouldn't want us to mourn unnecessarily", says The Doctor. It would help if you mourned just a little bit. Watching The Doctor argue with Tegan about going back in time to save him, it seems like he's more concerned about the inconvenience than he is the moral and time travel-related implications. It's important for The Doctor, and the story, to not dwell on past history, but the requiem for Adric could have been handled much better.
As for the episode itself, it actually starts out tremendously well. It seems like a semi-sequel to The Faceless Ones, with disappearing aircraft, undermanned flight control centers, and the Concorde taking center stage. It's exciting to watch classic series Doctor Who stories take place in busy, modern settings like Heathrow Airport. It almost validates its existence, in way, to see that the show is big enough to mingle with the public. It's taken for granted these days with Cardiff city council shutting down any and every road to accommodate the production team, but back in the early 1980s, it was a rare thing indeed.
Once Nyssa screams near the end of this episode, though, it almost echoes what the viewer is doing at the same time. In an instant, we are transported from the tarmac at Heathrow next to a Concorde to an extremely cheap looking set doubling for prehistoric Earth. And it only goes downhill from here...
Posted by Steven at 3:34 PM