Friday, October 18, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 3: The Daemons

Jon Pertwee's entry in my look book. Pertwee is the closest I get to having my own Doctor of the old cast having watched bits of Spearhead from Space and Doctor Who and the Silurians back when I was a kid.

However, watching this – and understanding his exile this time – Three seems like a total dick. He's short with everyone. Certainly my least favourite of the Doctors so far, which is odd, cos I vaguely remember liking him when I watched Spearhead a decade or so ago. I do like the idea that he's just pissed off about being stuck on Earth though.

His companion, Jo, is a step backwards from Zoe unfortunately. Hell, possibly even Barbara. She's pretty pointless here, just seemed to be the ditzy bint the Doctor somehow got landed with, who he constantly berates for not being very smart. Then she'd run off when no one was looking and get herself into trouble. That said, I did like the fact she saved the day, even if no one really gives her credit. I can see a lot of Rose in her though.

Finally, instead of what is fast becoming the standard extra bloke companion, we have the entirety of UNIT running about. Specifically The Brigadier, Captain Yates and Sergeant Benton. Yates and Benton are pretty cool, and while they could quite easily have been one character I think they're much better served being two. Not only to add to the feeling of big UNIT, but the officer and the non-commissioned soldier work quite well as a two sides of a coin. Brig is bit hard to take in here, simply because I'm not used to him. He does manage my favourite line of the serial with "I fancy a pint" when everyone else buggers off dancing. Fucking Awesome! The stiff upper lip of all three is amazing too.

I'm not sure how I feel about Daemons though. It certainly is a bit more modern, I think people are a bit more natural in front of the camera for one. Though for some reason that's had me coming away a bit more negatively, I'm a bit less forgiving of all the hokey stuff now we're in colour and the Master's living gargoyle servant was ridiculous. I thought they were being really clever in its first appearance, showing quick glimpses and passing shots, but that went quickly out the window. Full camera shots of him just makes it even worse, and he really served no real story purpose. As the friend who organised this re-watch pointed out, there's the Verger who plays a big role in the first couple of episodes who could have done exactly the same job.

The pacing is decent, in fact I slightly feel it might have done with an extra episode just to clear a few things up, or give stuff breathing room. Between the Doctor, The Master, Yates, Jo, Benton, Brig and witch-lady things got a little crowded. I didn't feel the Doctor did a great deal for a good swath of it. Though cutting the damn Gargoyle and using the verger might have done the same thing.

It's very odd to have a story about the magic/science and it not handled very well, it seemed to be doing okay with the shrinking and growing equals heatwaves etc but it never seemed to stick the landing. Especially right at the end where the Doctor explains the Master's rituals with crazy lady saying "That's black magic" and the Doctor just going "No, it isn't!" Well clearly it is. It's just they've been doing it with a different understanding.

That said, the Master is awesome, and I kinda wanna see this whole series now since it all forms part of his masterplan, but that one can wait.

… Wait, I'm ending every one of these posts with how I want to watch more to get a better feel for that specific Doctor. This isn't going according to plan.
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