Saturday, November 02, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 5: Earthshock

Wow, this Doctor feels far more familiar than any of the previous. *cough*tennant*cough* Still Earthshock I enjoyed.

It's also super 80s sci-fi. The uniforms of the military in the first two parts are kitsch-tastic, and the whole underground section worked brilliantly. I have to admit, to start with, with the faint glimpses of the helmeted folks and talk of dinosaurs I figured this for a Silurian serial, so the first episode cliffhanger really caught me by surprise.

The running about the giant spaceship with guerilla tactics was fantastic, and some really great moments for the Doctor throughout. His dress sense is... interesting. After Baker's scarf I realise this is the start of the descent into a more costume inspired look for the Doctor and the cricket gear isn't too bad, but the hat took the biscuit for me.

Unfortunately, I went in with a spoiler about Adric, so the whole last bit was ruined for me. I have no idea how it was spoilt either, just somehow I knew he went down on a nuclear bomb (which is almost correct). So even when he was being incredibly annoying at the start I couldn't work up too many negative feelings towards him. That said, he is incredibly badly written. No one wonder everyone hates him. Has the boy genius ever been done properly? I mean I'm thinking strictly sci-fi and sort of pulling up short on examples, but Wesley Crusher was pretty awful for the first season or 2 of TNG and that one in old Battlestar Galactica was fucking terrible. It seems to be one of those 80's tropes that just never worked. Nice death though, goes out a hero. Although now this means he's a super villain to the Silurians.

As for the women onboard. Did there really need to be two of them? It's probably just this particular serial but either they were performing the same function script-wise or one would be left doing sweet FA. Nyssa in particular, just hanging out on the TARDIS with that other woman who seemed to only board the TARDIS so she could die. The addition of the military guy that comes along felt a little Lethbridge-Stuart, which is interesting.

This is also my first experience as Cybermen as anything that wasn't Borg-esque. The relaunch versions of them seem only to be interested in 'upgrading' humans into their own. Here they just want to stop a peace conference that will see their enemies forming an unstoppable alliance against them. So they're just going to wipe the shit out of them. It's nicely uncluttered approach, and trying to get into the heart of the enemy for augmentation would prove difficult. I hope new-Who starts using Cybermen as more of an army instead of just a Borg substitutes.

With City of Death it seemed to be a mediocre Doctor in a fantastic serial, while this felt like a great Doctor in a mediocre serial. I really want to see more of Davison's tenure, which is lucky...

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