Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thoughts on Season 10

So that was the season that was.

Doctor Who's tenth season starts of impressively - and nostalgically - enough with The Three Doctors and ends pretty well to with The Green Death but the Frontier in Space / Planet of the Daleks double bill is slow, repetative & pretty dull.

There are two departures.

The Master's is an enforced one because of Roger Delgardo's unfortunate death. Yes, he's been over-used by the production team, although not quite as much as in Season 8. Yes, his plans are ridiculously complex and rely on unstable allies. Yes, he seems genuinely unable to kill the Doctor when the opportunity presents itself just as the Doctor seems unwilling to see The Master die to. But he's been played with the lightest of touches by Delgardo. He'll be missed.

Jo Grant leaves the Doctor at the season's end. She's fallen in love & will marry Professor Clifford Jones. Their next destination, the Amazon Basin. I've been a little scathing about Katy Manning's performance as Jo Grant but in the end she's likeable enough. She doesn't quite cross the 'Langford line' & there is some change in Jo. She's still reckless, a little dizzy and foolish on occassion but by the end of The Green Death it feels right for her to go. There's an implication that it is Cliff's similarities to the Doctor that is part of his attraction.

The last moments of The Green Death are quite moving, certainly up there with the best of the companion departures (which for me are Ian & Barbara's, Sarah Jane's, Teagan's, Rose's first - which should have been her bloody last & Donna's)

The only story I haven't mentioned, Carnival of Monsters, is fun. Pretty light relief in comparison with some of the stories around it.

So three good stories: The Three Doctors, The Carnival of Monsters and The Green Death but bought crashing down into mediocrity (and below) by Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks.

For my money Planet of the Daleks is the worst Dalek story in Classic Who. Yep, even worse than The Chase whether I will revise that opinion as I pass on through the seasons we shall see.

I'm still not sure what to make of Jon Pertwee's performance. It's funny when I first got into being a Doctor Who fan proper I devoured loads of Pertwee stories on dodgy VHS copied from Australian TV and I loved the Third Doctor. There was something comforting about him and his frilly shirts but whilst I'm enjoying watching these sories again I'm not so enthused.

Perhaps its because a lot more Doctor Who has flowed under the bridge since then and Pertwee has suffered by comparison. I'm not sure. I enjoy watching the Third Doctor but I'm not sure I like him as much as I did Troughton (or even Hartnell). It's odd. There are moments when he's wonderful but I'm not sure he's stretching himself particularly, although he does do righteous indignation better than any other incarnation I think.

The other thing I noticed about Season 10 is it sows some seeds for Pertwee's final season: Captain Yates' story arc; Metabelis III & that giant sapphire & ultimately the Third Doctor's end. I don't remember the series doing this before & how planned it was I don't know. It does feel very New Who though: the season ends with a companion departing & the next season's finale has been foreshadowed.

So...onwards we go & into Pertwee's final season.

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