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04 August 2019 @ 02:40 pm
I watched The Time Warrior not so long ago when [personal profile] sir_guinglain of this parish, was guest speaker at an Oxford WhoSoc showing in honour of his book on the subject. Which said book is, by coincidence, now next on my "to read" pile.

Third Doctor stories generally have a certain solidity of construction and production value which makes most of them still pretty watchable in 2019. The Time Warrior is no exception. It felt more modest to me than many Pertwee stories, though it is hard to pin-point precisely why - perhaps the focus on history rather than military shenanigans, and an antagonist who has no particular interest in invading Earth - but I also feel it benefits from that modesty with an emphasis on characters and interactions rather than pyrotechnics (though the Doctor does get the opportunity for a fair amount of swash and buckle, nevertheless).

It is Sarah's first story and she is introduced in full-on straw-feminist mode initially. However once the writers have got over the need to establish that she won't make tea (and hence is indisputably a feminist), she is served well by the plot, acting independently and forming her own plans. The funny thing is that Jo would have been just as believable in this role and it surprises me that the production team seem so unaware of Jo's strengths as a character (just as it suprises me that they felt Liz Shaw "didn't work").

I'm in two minds about the use of Shakespearean turns of phrase in the historical parts of the story. It definitely contributes to a feel of a story set in the past, but it is also verges perilously close to cod medieval at times.

The characterisation is one of the stronger parts of the story. Although most of the characters are drawn in broad strokes (not unusual for Doctor Who), the story sets them up well-enough that their interactions are believable - particularly those between Sontaran Lynx, Robber-Baron-wannable Irongron and his henchman Bloodaxe. However, our favourite character was the short-sighted Professor Rubeish pottering endlessly curious and almost entirely undaunted around Irongron's dungeon and stepping up to help when required. The Time Warrior isn't a comedy but it is laced with humour which serves it well.

It is perhaps easy to overlook The Time Warrior amidst the UNIT stories of invasion and peril, but its smaller scale and fun characters make it well worth watching.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/605077.html.