Doctor Who #605: Enlightenment Part 1

"They may be a rough lot, but they hardly threaten the peace and harmony of the universe, do they?"
TECHNICAL SPECS: This story is available on DVD. First aired Mar.1 1983.

IN THIS ONE... The White Guardian sends the TARDIS to a sailing yacht... in... spaaaaaaaaaaace!

Enlightenment's premise is a fantastic one. A grand race pitting sailing ships from across Earth history in a race. IN SPACE. And oddness builds on oddness through Part 1 until we get to that amazing revelation. However, that does mean Part 1 is not particularly indicative of the serial's quality. In fact, it suffers at the top from having to set up the Guardians' conflict, ineffectual "gods" both. While the Black Guardian's "nyah ha ha" moment is mercifully brief, his threats to the Doctor's life are by now hollow indeed. The White Guardian, for his part, wears an even sillier bird on his head, and though he's got limited energy to communicate with the Doctor, keeps repeating key words, meaningless without context. Both are weak presences and it's really a shame Enlightenment is strapped with them.

The one thing that redeems these early scenes is the lighting in the TARDIS (above). What great lighting! I wish it were the TARDIS' default and is a precursor to the atmosphere in New Who's first two TARDIS interiors. Of course, that's no excuse to task Tegan with babysitting a lever aboard the time-ship. Nyssa dodged a bullet there, I guess. Thankfully, the White Guardian isn't tardy, though his message remains obscure, and she's free to go out an investigate the handsome (and creepy) officer lurking outside the TARDIS (showing how the ship's viewer looks out of the top light). The introduction of Marriner, and his behavior, are part of the oddness of Captain Striker's ship, where the sailors are lively, normal folk (if amnesiacs) and the officers emotionally strange and disaffected. Anachronisms mount until the Doctor and Tegan find their way to the wheelhouse and look out the window at the other racers.

There are plenty of fun moments once the heroes board the Edwardian racing yacht. The Doctor rolling his eyes when he finds Tegan has abandoned her station. Turlough laughing at the Doctor when the Time Lord is mistaken for the ship's new cook. The sailor who doesn't drink taking Turlough under his dry wing. Captain Striker's delay before showing a normative reaction to the stowaways/visitors. Marriner's chaste fascination with Tegan. Even though we're denied the serial's most fantastic ideas in Part 1, there's a pleasant focus on the characters.

VERSIONS: The DVD includes a feature length re-edit with new CGI and sound. I'll discuss it in Part 4's review.

- Enlightenment promises better, but feels like Terminus in the way it begins. Guardian business then an unusual landing on a ship. Direction and acting rescue it from this over-familiarity.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine