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Old June 30 2013, 11:51 PM   #278
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Re: Classic Who on BBC America

Still, I think that "Trial of a Time Lord," the Valeyard, and Troughton's return warranted more discussion than did the TARDIS turning into an organ and Mel making the Doctor drink carrot juice.

Just finished watching "Vengeance on Varos" (I recorded it since I was watching Sinbad and Primeval: New World last night), and I don't understand why so many people tout it as something terrific. I couldn't even stand to watch it straight through. I get what it was going for with the satire on politics and TV violence, and the parts with the couch-potato Greek chorus were fairly good, but for the most part it was painfully awkward. The dialogue was stilted and clunky, and there was too much expository declaiming. The Doctor and Peri took far too long to get into the story and weren't doing anything very interesting before they arrived. A lot of the plot beats were random and not very coherent -- that whole digression with turning Peri and the other woman into mutants seemed pointless. There were some really, really stupid lines, like when the masked guy didn't understand how the Doctor had guessed that he'd experimented on himself until the Doctor pointed out that he wore a mask. Or bizarre contradictions, like Sil mentioning how everyone in the galaxy needed Zeiton-7 for their space-time drives, and then nobody believing Peri when she said the TARDIS was a time machine that needed Zeiton-7, and then everyone believing the Doctor when he told them that the TARDIS needed Zeiton-7. And the resolution was far too abrupt, particularly with the absurdly well-timed updates from Thoros Beta that handily resolved the entire Sil subplot without any of the protagonists actually having to do anything. This is just incredibly inept writing all around. And the production values weren't much better. Much of the guest acting was stagey and amateurish, and frankly Nicola Bryant wasn't much better. The direction was lackadaisical and the attempts to convey danger, suspense, and action were unsatisfying. And while cheap-looking, limited sets are par for the course for the original series, these sets were so dreary and dark by design that they became very tiresome to watch.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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