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Doctor Who: Time and the Rani (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.

Time and the Rani originally aired in 1987.

Right, that all seems quite clear. Just three small points. Where am I? Who am I? And who are you?

– the Doctor

A Doctor’s first story is always difficult. Even if it’s not as explicit as it was in Power of the Daleks, the new actor his constantly fighting against the weight of expectation, trying to cast off the spectre of their predecessor and make the show their own. There’s also a sense that the production team is trying to reinvent the show around their new lead. It’s transitional, and it’s not too difficult to see how the task could be daunting.

If that’s a typical first story, imagine how frustrating Time and the Rani must have been at the time. Hastily cobbled together in a rush, coming out of a season that had been a spectacular failure and with the shadow of cancellation looming heavy, there’s a lot of pressure on Time and the Rani. It is a story that is routinely trashed and mocked, and perhaps deservedly so. However, I must concede, it’s not as bad as it could have been and I’d be very reluctant to rank it among the worst Doctor Who serials of all time.

He's got an umbrella and he's not afraid to use it!

He’s got an umbrella and he’s not afraid to use it!

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Non-Review Review: Team America – World Police

There’s a strong argument to be made that Team America: World Police is perhaps the best comedy made in the past decade. It’s certainly the most politically astute, and certainly one of the more thoughtful commentaries on American foreign policy to emerge in the wake of 9/11. Like a lot of the work of Stone and Parker, it’s tone is incredibly juvenile and even puerile, with the pair never meeting a bad-taste gag that they don’t love. However, this decidedly low-brow sense of humour is coupled with a more sophisticated and sharp political wit that allows the movie to be topical without seeming preachy, observant without being heavy-handed, and veryfunny without ever being too earnest. That’s a winning combination.

Patriot Games…

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Supermarionation: Memories of the Gerry Anderson Shows…

Pert of me wonders if I’m writing of an experience unique to those who grew up in the British Isles. I’m not sure if the fad ever really caught in the United States during the sixties when the shows were originally produced or if they enjoy the same sort of nostalgia that they do over here. Of course, the production and success of Team America: World Police would suggest that American audiences are familiar with work of Gerry Anderson, but I somehow doubt that the shows he produced (most notably Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions) made as strong an impact to kids who weren’t exposed to them every morning before school.

Having a ball...

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Non-Review Review: Thunderbirds Are Go!

I happened to be flicking through the channels when I stumbled across Thunderbirds Are Go! For those unfamiliar with the concept, Thunderbirds is basically the television series that Trey Parker and Matt stone affectionately spoofed when making Team America: World Police (in fact, it was really the only “affectionate” part of the production). Anyway, Thunderbirds Are Go! was the series’ first attempt at a theatrical motion picture, shortly after the first season finished and shot back-to-back with the second. As far as “movies based on television shows” go, the film is essentially a feature-length regular episode. However, in this case, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

"They'll never see through my cunning disguise!"

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