Monday, March 21, 2011

7D4 - Time and the Rani 4

What I love about Time and the Rani is that it's fresh. Everything about it seems new and exciting. It's a visual feast. The set design is superb, with several large scale sets such as the Rani's laboratory, the Tetrap's pit, and the Lakertyan recreation centre giving the series a great sense of scale. First time Doctor Who director Andrew Morgan manages to turn the standard rock quarry into a genuine looking rock quarry-like alien planet, as well as giving us some excellent forced perspective shots of The Rani's headquarters. The model effects shots are also superb. This is Doctor Who, doing it's level best to keep up with the visual standards of the day and doing a pretty fine job of it.

The costumes are also quite impressive, particularly those for the Tetraps. It's a shame that their unique 360° eyesight wasn't made more prominent (apart from the cool point-of-view shots), as people seemed to keep eluding them whenever the Tetraps were on the chase. But for a four eyed bat with a forked tongue in a gorilla suit, it's a bold attempt at a new and wondrous creature for Doctor Who. Less successful are the Lakertyans, perhaps, as it's never really apparent that the giant manes on their heads are supposed to be their hair and not some elaborate headdresses. Still, the attempts to have them run with their arms behind them and other little touches are a neat way of portraying a different and alien culture that doesn't require a great deal of clumsy exposition.

Time and the Rani routinely finishes near the bottom of fan polls, and I still have yet to realize why. It's a refreshing change of pace after the past couple years of having an axe dangle over the show's future. Here, the axe might very well still be ready to swoop, but it's as if the programme doesn't care anymore. Time and the Rani is the first step towards the three seasons that were to follow, a time of rebirth and of casting off the yoke of history to reveal a new, yet familiar, core of a show we've come to know and love.

Most of all, Time and the Rani is just a lot of fun to watch. And I will never complain about that.


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