Friday, June 15, 2012

Doctor Who-Timelash
                Having almost completed the first series of Colin Baker's tenure as the doctor,endless banter regarding the programs unsuitability for family audiences (in particular in with it's violence) caused a great deal of scuffle within the staff of Doctor Who itself to the point where the PR crusades of producer John Nathan-Turner and different media justifications became almost more significant than the show surrounding them. It was not the easiest time to produce the show. And later on,in a time when the production of a TV show or music became more important than the creative ideas behind it,it would result in a long period of criticism leveled against the show. However when taking cultural standards aside,there was something different to be found.

                  The doctor and Peri find themselves thrown into a time corridor to a planet called Karfel,where the third doctor and than companion Jo Grant had visited in an earlier time. By the time the sixth incarnation of the doctor and Peri arrive they find a corrupt and oppressive society run by a dictator calling himself the Borad,whose face no one ever sees. A rebellion is ensuing because those who don't cooperate with the system are thrown into a one way time machine called a "time lash". Out of the people of Karfel's general trust for the doctor,he manages to unite both sides in helping him. On the other side of the timelash the doctor and Peri find themselves in 19'th century Scotland where they meet a student named Herbet who worms his way into their mission.

                All of this calls the doctor to the attention of the Borad once Peri is kidnapped and menaced by an unknown monster. Well unknown to her. The doctor knows it well. And so does the Borad. The face the Karfel see as their leader is one of his androids as the actual Borad is a mutant hybrid between a human and a reptilian creature from the same world. His intention is to intentionally create the same scenario to make Peri physically mutated as he is. In the end the Doctor uses crystals commandeered from the timelash to deceive the Borad,who uses time as a weapon out of his fear of being scene. In the end Herbert is the hero and remains behind after the doctor explains to Pert that "Herbet" will one day become HG Wells. And that this might be the very source material for all science fiction.

              Despite the naysayers among even the most ardent Doctor Who fans,I feel this is one of the most compelling and enjoyable of Colin Baker's Doctor Who episodes. The pace clips along nicely,the story is well assembled and the characters have this flamboyant in-your-face attitude. There's even an excellent message here for families in the character of the Borad about how low self esteem is at the core of many dictatorships. The crystalline set for the interior of the timelash,although made inexpensively is one of the more clever effects used for Doctor Who in it's original run. The idea of HG Wells' 'The Time Machine' being based on a true story was a clever one. And having him an active participant in this story was a great one. This is an example of something where it's important to let your own opinion guide you and see a great story for what it is.
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