Straight Outta Gallifrey: Season 20

Siskoid, Ashford and the Sutherlands are back to cover Doctor Who's landmark 20th series, up to and including the 20th Anniversary special, The Five Doctors! Companions leave, companions arrive, not to mention every who returns for one last reunion tour. We had a lot of fun covering it.

That's all at Straight Outta Gallifrey, under Episode 140: Season 20

Thanks for listening!

1 comments:

daft said...

The past is a foreign country... I don't spend an awful lot of time cogitating about the specifics of how Classic Who operated, but listening to this discussion of the season, it stirs up a number of random thoughts.

The black/white guardian thing fascinated me back in my youth, even if the actual implementation scriptwise left a lot to desired, Mark Strickson really deserved so much more. Now looking back, much like the Eternal's represented during the recent run, it just seems like there's nothing really substantial creatively to mine from the concept. They're just another supra layer of lightly sketched immortal beings (essentially faux timelords) with little more to do than to dick around with the lives of mortal beings in an effort to help pass the time. They’re story drivers without any real context or emotion, merely existing to artificially prod and poke mortal beings to help drive a convoluted story. And as another podcast conversation I recently enjoyed tabled, being evil really doesn't cut it in 2020, such protagonists either have to be seen as appropriately motivated (story dynamics), or to be shown as realistically delusion (character dynamics), they believe they’re a force for good rather than evil. Twirling moustache villains must have surely been nearly an anachronism in the early 1980s, or perhaps they just had a robust union? ;)

And as any conversation of this season inevitably tables, the enduring problem of the multiple companions. I can readily understand the basic philosophy of J.N.T. to introduce a diverse array of characters to help seed and ratchet up the tension on board the tardis to compete with Coronation Street dramatics upon the other side, but like most of J.N.T. innovations, the implementation rarely goes beyond those initial thoughts. It's the fate of every companion to eventually disappear into the rabbit hole of becoming an everyman (everywoman) beyond their initial promising introduction, but I think the sad thing here is that each companion's character concept could have worked if only they were given the time and space to develop. Even the much lamented Adric, there's no reason why the initial concept of the Dickensian street urchin couldn't have worked upon screen. It reminds me of the successful Baker/Jameson (Henry Higgins/Eliza Doolittle) Pygmalion pairing, later used to similar success by the McCoy/Aldred Doctor/Ace dynamic. What it requires though is actual space to develop. Instead, the characters here are reduced to having infantile squabbles on board the tardis at story’s commencement before one inevitably goes off and effectively sulks in their room, reduced to having an 'away day' onboard the tardis because the writer’s have thrown their hands in the air in general despair trying to provide something meaningful for each of the three companions to do. It not only suggests that there's a problem creatively, but also an unnecessary additional wage expense each season, supposedly one of the key areas J.N.T. has traditionally been applauded for.

 

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