Sunday, June 10, 2012

Doctor Who-Vengeance On Varos
                             During the first months of Colin Baker's tenure as the Doctor various people in the BBC and the British press began complaining very heavily that Doctor Who had become too violent for "a children's program". Not everyone on the staff of the program agreed with this.  After all,labels aside this was science fiction they were dealing with,not drama entirely based in reality. Luckily since the staff of John Nathan-Turner were actually pretty creative in terms of being able to address the shows public reputation from within,they were able to address these issues within the show in this particular serial. Nothing about the show would ever be smooth sailing during Baker's period on the program. And that effect the writing of the show in ways both literal and figurative.

                              After the TARDIS becomes stuck in limbo between time and space the Doctors only recourse is to travel to the planet Varos as a source for Zeiton-7,the only substance that can restore the functions of the TARDIS. Once there they find themselves in the middle of a power struggle between a ruling body who use sadistic video violence that apply to prisoners,guards and leaders alike. Subjected to every illusion and form of mental and physical manipulation after another,turns out this is all masterminded by an outsider named Sil,who is trying to manipulate the supply of Zeiton-7 and is using this fear based control of local media as a cover. When Peri is subjected to cell mutating experiments,the Doctor and a victimized political leader are able to overthrow the corrupt government and in favor for helping their society is given the needed Zeiton 7.

                              There's are very forward thinking concepts bought to the fore in this serial. One is the prediction  of reality television about a decade before it even began. The Fear Factor-To-The-Extreme type televised violence portrayed in this show also served as a slap in the face to those who felt the shows violence had gotten out of hand. People are shown being tortured,thrown into acid baths and subjected to DNA altering experiments. It also has another concept involved of how the horror of violence can be diminished when presented as entertainment. In particular when it's used to control the legitimate media. The character of Sil is one of the most darkly comic villain in Doctor Who,with his distinctive laugh and vulgar manner.  Overall one of the most telling and best produced episodes of Doctor Who.
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