Friday, August 3, 2012

Doctor Who-Time And The Rani
                Even as American television was warming quickly to science fiction with the huge success of shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987 the same couldn't exactly by said for the BBC. Every important sci fi program they aired were either cancelled or transferred to BBC2. Especially with the controversies surrounding every aspect of Colin Baker's all too short tenure on the program,Doctor Who in particular was singled out. Though at one time a BBC institution of sorts the program,with it's serialized format and elongated story lines were beginning to seem like the last gasps of another age. An age that had gone by. Things went down so badly with Colin Baker that he wasn't even invited back to do is own regeneration. New doctor Sylvester McCoy had to don a wig and do it himself. But regeneration stories were always a great opportunity to add a different spin to stories. And especially since the show needed it very much here bringing the relatively new time lady The Rani into the story was an excellent idea.


               The TARDIS is pulled out of time by the Rani to the planet Lakertya,where the doctor is forced into regenerating do to injury.  The Rani is constructing a rocket to harness the power of an on coming asteroid containing what the time lords call strange matter,an unusually powerful substance she plans on using to transform the planet into a gigantic time regulator to control the temporal flow of the universe. But the new doctors post regeneration doesn't know any of this so the Rani takes advantage of this by impersonating companion Mel. Mel meanwhile is assisted by one of the Lakertians in locating the doctor,who she doesn't recognize at first but both convince themselves of their identities and set about trying to thrawt the Rani's sadistic plan. She plans to use the power of the doctors mind,along with other historical figures like Albert Einstein's to harness a giant autonomous brain that will operate her launching device. Catch is the Lakertians,whose she's made pawns of in different ways are enslaved by her using a technology the doctor uses to thrawt her plans. And after escaping in her TARDIS the Rani is captured by the Tetraps,triclops creatures with a literal eye in the back of their heads who she basically enslaved.


             While this serial,as with any featuring Sylvester McCoy and Bonnie Langford were pretty much roundly scoffed at by the media and public alike in their day,and often still are this is an excellent story that could possibly put a cap on the Rani's story. With a brilliant mind the doctor continually shows admiration for, she lives without any conscience and all of her practices show no ethics or compassion. He even sites the incredible feats she could've created if she had used her mind for good as he does. The most interesting elements to this story is the doctors regeneration. The seventh doctor is manic and confused during his post regeneration crisis,quite a different reaction than the sixth doctors needlessly violent treatment of companion Peri a couple years earlier. It's a testament to the Rani's intelligence that she was able to fool another time lord,even in a semi amnesiac state,so easily. The Lakertians for their part are a race that the Rani have either intimidated into complete servitude or made into what are literally slaves to pleasure. This points to perhaps a highly domineering aspect to her personality. An excellent start to the seventh doctor era and an excellent character study for what is one of the doctors most compelling adversaries.
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