Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TV Review: Classic Doctor Who, Spearhead From Space

It's that time of the month again, well it will be next Sunday since that's when the Fourth Doctor Classic Serial will be anyway, time to dive into the BBC archives! And this is interesting, the only bit of the Third Doctor I had seen before was the Three Doctors special which apparently is the end of a story arc which starts with this episode, the very first episode of the Third Doctor (and I've already seen Two regenerate into Three). I went in a bit hesistant since I didn't really like Three in the special but hey, I didn't really like One there either and ended up loving The Aztecs so this should probably end well!


Doctor Who: Spearhead from Space



Summary: Directly after The War Games, the Doctor has been forcibly regenerated by the Time Lords who have also played with his memory (as well as his previous assistants/companions who are back in their own time and places) and left him stranded on Earth with a TARDIS that can't move. He's soon picked up by UNIT

The Good: The more I see of Classic Who the more I'm mazed at just how many aliens/villains they brought back for the new series, I had no idea that shop maniquens had been a source of terror for British children for decades! On that note, it's probably a good thing I never saw these episodes as a kid myself, while some things looked a bit hooky to my young adult self the basic idea is sound and certainly works. Also, as I mentioned earlier I was a bit worried going into this since I didn't really like Three in The Three Doctors (thinking back on that I just didn't like that special at all, I was a bit offended by how bad the costumes were to be honest) but yet again I ended up liking him. I caught a bit of the documentary about the third doctor beforehand and they were talking about how this Doctor was a bit James Bond like and yep, I can see that with how the Doctor was acting and it was a fun change of pace to see him more as a guy who is actively seeking out action rather than a guy who seeks out mystery and adventure and just happens to find adventure along the way.

The Bad: Weirdly enough, since I've seen episodes with UNIT in it before but they felt a little awkward here. Of course, that might have been the intention, setting up future conflicts with the Doctor since he's going to be stuck on Earth for a while, but I couldn't even tell if the Brigadier and the Doctor has met before, I think so but I'm still not 100% positive. It was also a little hard to keep some of the various characters/factions straight but I think that was more my fault for trying to knit and watch at the same time, overall I think that yet again the BBC made a really good choice here.

The Audio/Visuals: It's our first serial in color, yay! And, according to the internet, because there were some interesting production problems the serial was shot on film (as opposed to, erm, whatever they normally shot on, film is apparently superior to whatever that was) and apparently it's good enough to be released on blu-ray (the only pre-2005 serial to do so). The special effects seem less hooky than the cybermen last time, which is funny since the reason for the whole "the Doctor is grounded on Earth" storyline is because the BBC was having budget cuts. Then again, if Doctor Who ever manages to have a cheaper looking costumes than those cybermen ones then they probably had negative budget to work with.....


Not much to add one, bring on the Fourth Doctor and I can't wait until I'm near a library with more Classic Doctor Who serials again!

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