Saturday, August 4, 2012

Doctor Who-Paradise Towers
                Sylvester McCoy was only one serial old by the time his second came into being. So far his reception as the seventh doctor was almost worse than that of Colin Baker before him. He was seen by and large as a comic buffoon. So there was a concerted effort on the part of the writers on the show to bring more topical and modern stories into the framework of the program. It was probably believed that this would create a more provocative identity for the new doctor. The Thatcher/Reagan era presented a lot of social problems for both England and America. In particular the concept of urban decay and the advent of mechanization. And this is the topic of this serial.

              Looking for a vacation spot with a swimming pool for Mel,she and the Doctor misread the brochures from Paradise Towers,a 22'nd century high rise. They arrive years too late to find a building fallen into disrepair,led by neon haired female gangs called red and blue Kangs. The Kangs and the ruling Caretakes believe the doctor to be the "great architect". In their search for the truth Mel escapes from two cannibalistic residents called "ressies"  and a cowardly wanna be vigilante named Pex. In the end it's not only up to the ressies,Pex and Kangs to unite up with the Doctor and Mel but to understand that the designer of Paradise Towers designed a deliberately parasitic building to satisfy his ego. In the end Pex sacrifices himself and unites the population of Paradise Towers.

            Aside from an excellent story of noble sacrifice in the face of despotic ruling this episode does an interesting job of addressing it's social concerns in the science fiction format. The Kangs are modernized 'Clockwork Orange" like cyber punks with their silly "ice hot!" catch phrase. And the cannibalistic "ressie" characters are cast very happily against type. They are not a group of foreign seeming head hunter style cliched stereotypes.  They look and act like regular middle aged English women from the late 20'th century. In this serial you have the beginning of the seventh doctor using his wit and humor to disarm and distract rather than muddle about aimlessly. Not only was this a quirky,colorful and topical episode but also did a lot for the character of the new doctor.
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