Abi (abigailb) wrote,

Doctor Who: Time and the Rani

Thus far all of my recent 1980s Doctor Who watching has been solo. This has changed, as I am now joined by ruthi, doseybat and pplfichi.

Time and the Rani was enjoyable, in the right company.  It was well shot and edited, like whoever was assembling it actually cared.  Actiony bits were fast and had short cuts.  Bits where people
got sad were allowed to breathe for a bit.  Nice moment when Mel realises how cheerfully insensitive she has been.

There are some nice design elements - the base, although in a quarry - is nice, and the CGI ball things are not bad.  Two particularly poor elements of design are the Tetraps and the giant brain.  The Tetraps seemed intriguing for the first episode when they were kept mostly off frame, and glanced only fleetingly, but later episodes show them for all their "glory". The idea of them as a physical threat is completely destroyed by the resolution of the second's episode cliffhanger.

But even if the rest of the production had beem perfect, there's still the issue of the dodgy script.  This had at least better dialog than Pip&Jane Bakers previous efforts.  The first two episodes, with the Rani pretending to be Mel and tricking the Doctor into fixing something are good enough, but then after that it loses, quite literally, the plot.

We eventually find out the very basic facts about what the Rani is doing, but we never find out why here, and the significance of the Doctor's repair work isn't made clear. Also the need to kidnap random geniuses from Earth history to conduct the evil plot is tacked on. No real effort is made to justify its necessity, and it surely ought to be more of a big deal - abducting Einstein, Pasteur and then killing them will lead to a change in Earth and consequently Galactic history. But nothing - it's just a plot element. The Rani has a time machine - she uses it for the oddest things.

This is McCoy's first serial as the Doctor. I don't much like his early characterisation as a clown, but it actually doesn't have that much screen time devoted to it. The malapropisms also aren't as bad in context - about half of them are the Doctor clearly making a joke ("waste net want net").

I suspect that if Bonnie Lamgford had been given a character to play then she'd maybe have been able to pull it off. Unfortunately she's treated as essentially a kind of human sound effect, with very little to do. Where she does get a bit of acting (Sarn's death, meeting Seven), then she ups her game a fair bit.  

So: very mildly encouraging. Not amateurish like the worst of s22 and s23, just poor.
Tags: doctor who

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