Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Doctor Who-The War Games
                   This 1969 episode of Doctor Who representing a farewell to two aspects of the show. For one it was the final episode for Patrick Troughton,the second actor to portray the Doctor. Not only that but it was the final episode to be filmed in black & white as well. It also happens to be the longest serial surviving at a whopping 10 parts,encompassing in total about 4 hours and 40 minutes between two DVD's. It should also be noted this is one of only seven second doctor stories to have survived the BBC's policy of taping over old master tapes. This was a problem that effected serials featuring the first two doctors-with whole serials missing and others only existing in parts. Patrick Troughton's era was effected the worse. So the fact that his regeneration episode survived is a blessing.

             Featuring his companions Jamie (from 18'th century Scotland) and Zoe (from 21'st century Earth so it seems)  the doctor and the TARDIS end up in the middle of what seems to be a battlefield trench during WW1. Whilst trying to escape being viewed as spies,the end up in a Roman battle. Same story. Than the American Civil war. Of course by this time we learn that these are taking place on one planet,as human soldiers from different eras are being forced into said "war games" to build up a troop of super soldiers to fight for someone called The War Lord,apparently from the Doctors own planet. Apparently he's been using what basically amount to low quality TARDIS's to bring these troops to this planet. But they along with the Doctor and his companions rebel against this.

              We learn a lot about the doctor in this story,for one "stole" the TARDIS because he felt the other "immensely civilized" time lords as he referred to them were boring. And this mostly because they chose to observe time than to contribute to it with their knowledge. Even after having to give the appearance of betraying his companions to the enemy to accomplish his mission,the doctor is forced to look onto the other time lords for help. In the end he is forced to deal with the consequences of his interference in time along with the War Lord and...well basically we go onto the Jon Pertwee era at this point. Sad in the end that the likable companions Jamie and Zoe are returned to their own time with little memory of their time with the Doctor.

             According to some sources this was a favorite episode of Patrick Troughton himself. It's an episode that asks a lot of moral questions that are similar to those addressed in Star Trek with a law known as The Prime Directive. Basically it points to when the time is right to objectify a given situation. So you'll know when to interfere and when not to.  Even the time lords putting the doctor on trial in the end find this a difficult question to deal with. Also, in seeing how the the soldiers of different wars in Earth history respond to the twists,turns and false betrayals this story offers,there's an implied anti war/violence message. In the story most shows of strong physical aggression don't meet with very positive results. In the end it's an excellent example of the main point of the show,as it showcases the doctors cunning and deduction that really wins all the battles. 

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