Thursday, December 23, 2010

Doctor Who: The Mind Robber

The Doctor moves the Tardis outside ordinary time and space to avoid a lava flow (which looks unintentionally rather like an excess of soap bubbles). They land in a white void.

While the Doctor goes to another room in the Tardis to begin repairs, Jamie & Zoe see images of their homes on the viewscreen. They are lured outside the Tardis, which dramatically explodes. There then follows a series of surreal encounters with an array of characters from literature including Gulliver, the Medusa, a unicorn, Rapunzel, and some life-sized toy soldiers.

How was it?

There is more mystery in this story than the previous ones in this catch-up, and the nature of this particular plot means the cruddy sets and effects are not the drawback they have been previously. However it is rather off-putting that the expanse of nothingness looks pretty much like an empty television studio; and the supposedly scary white robots look like cardboard teletubbies. Nevertheless, the premise is ingenious, and there is lots of nicely judged humour to keep things going.

Audience reaction 2010

After the last story, I decided not to inflict this one on my 21st century companions. I suspect their reaction would have been impatience with the whimsy, sardonic comments on Zoe's sparkly catsuit, and a more emotionally and intellectually engaging plot. But I think they would not have complained about the music, dialogue, acting or sets as they did previously.

Idle questions
  • How did the inhabitants of this realm get there?
  • Was the destruction of the Tardis fictional?
  • Victoria is gone, replaced by Zoe. How does the Doctor choose his companions? Are there any consequences to plucking companions out of history?
  • We saw another room in the Tardis in this story. We now know that it has many rooms. How are they created?

For an alternative view...

Next time on LW's DW catch-up...
The Second Doctor's final story: The War Games.

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