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Non-Review Review: Parkland

There are few moments that hold as much sway over American popular consciousness as the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Perhaps only the moon landing or the news footage of the 9/11 attacks could compete from the last half-century of history. The assassination and its aftermath have been discussed and reconsidered countless times in the decades since those shots rang out in Dallas. There are those who continue to believe in some sinister conspiracy, while others seem to accept the probability that the nation was rocked by the actions of a single disturbed individual.

Parkland offers relatively little to the discussion, focusing on the stories unfolding around the assassination and the lives that intersect with the famous historical figures who pass through the narrative. While it’s a nice idea in practice, these sorts of historical ensemble pieces can be tricky, as Bobby demonstrated rather recently. There’s a sense that even some of these characters who find themselves caught up in events larger than themselves have become figures of interest themselves, and a scant 93 minutes isn’t enough to peel back any layers or reveal anything particularly insightful.

Sadly, the characters are not as well developed...

Sadly, the characters are not as well developed…

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Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin (Review)

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the longest-running science-fiction show in the world, I’ll be taking weekly looks at some of my own personal favourite stories and arcs, from the old and new series, with a view to encapsulating the sublime, the clever and the fiendishly odd of the BBC’s Doctor Who.

The Deadly Assassin originally aired in 1976.

I deny this reality.

– the Doctor

The Deadly Assassin is a rather boldly experimental episode of Doctor Who. It’s the first story told without a companion character, and it also ventures quite forcefully into the realm of surrealism. It offers a rather bold deconstruction of the Time Lords, a rather cynical depiction of the aliens who had seemed all-powerful in stories like The War Games or The Three Doctors. More than that, though, The Deadly Assassin feels – appropriately enough – like a treatise on the inevitable death of Doctor Who.

Located in the middle of the fourteenth of twenty-six seasons, and broadcast thirteen years from both the start and the end of the show’s initial run, The Deadly Assassin seems to be positioned at the very heart of Doctor Who.

A rough outline of what's going on...

A rough outline of what’s going on…

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