Tuesday, March 26, 2013
My first experience with Silver Nemesis was watching The Making of Silver Nemesis, a New Jersey Network documentary that profiled the production of the 25th anniversary story of Doctor Who. I saw this in the fall of 1988, several months before I even saw the story that was being profiled, and, as a result, I had never looked forward to watching a new Doctor Who story more than this one.
When I finally saw Silver Nemesis for the first time, my pure excitement to finally watch this epic story most likely blinded me from any objective thinking or any other standard brain functions. Today, I can see that Silver Nemesis is actually terrible. Part One is possibly the least worst of the three episodes, but there's still some relentless running around so The Doctor can spout exposition to Ace in a variety of different locations and times. (The TARDIS is also conveniently pinpoint accurate in this story.) The episode also includes a ridiculous pseudo-cameo from "Queen Elizabeth II" walking her corgis, unexplained escapes from Windsor Castle, a cafe full of people who react with what could be described as restrained indifference when two people dressed like they're from the 17th century magically (yes, magically) appear in the middle of the room, and so on.
Part One, though, shows off not only the worst aspects of John Nathan-Turner's era as producer of Doctor Who, but also of Russell T Davies's tenure as show runner some 20 years after this story aired for most of the reasons listed above. Davies's worst excesses included needless pop culture cameos (just as Courtney Pine makes a confusing appearance here, playing a gig on a sunny, summer lawn in late November), impersonations of world leaders, multiple time periods as settings signposted by onscreen captions, and, most egregious of all, black magic in place of science. Most of these transgressions occur in the David Tennant/RTD era finale "celebration" The End of Time, while Silver Nemesis was billed as the official celebration of Doctor Who's 25th anniversary.
And the story gets worse from here on in.
Posted by Steven at 9:34 AM