Hold on to your seats, everyone... the end is almost here!

JN-T quits and comes back: Take 3.

Time and the Rani

Regeneration. That's about all.

This one ain't worth a review.

Paradise Towers

Defective garbage machines, three colors of Kangs (is this anything like a Roman 2 diamonds bid?), ladies who eat people, incompetent guards, fraidy-cat guys (maybe that's why the women are so hard-up), a creature in the bottom of a swimming pool, and Neon Noodle in the basement add up to far too much for a four-parter... that's why we use Roman 2 diamonds.

You actually want us to review this one?? See above paragraph. It will suffice. Bid 2 no-trump to force a response. (We hope you alerted that 2 diamonds bid...)

Delta and the Bannermen

JN-T gets to showcase his dog. Bee people, and flag-waving others don't mix. Neither does the incidental music and the music of the story. Anyway, to save the bee people, a philanthropic human decides to eat, uh, royal jelly (for lack of a better term) and try to become one of them. Next time, you know Who will look at his computers before passing through an intergalactic toll booth.

Hopefully, next time, he'll look through his computers.


Mr. Freeze meets Aliens. Features a for-real cliffhanger (ain't we terrible?).

Unfortunately, this is actually the best one of the season. Saying this leaves a horrible taste in our mouths (pass the mouthwash...).

Season overall

We thought the production team was on trial last year.

Seasonal trivia

Era review

The era relies very heavily on visual items... the most since the early Pertwee's. For instance, the lavish sets his first year. Compare them to the flashy colors of the background in Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death. In these early Pertwee's, they try to show off the fact that they're now in color. Similarly, JN-T tried to show off the fact that a new producer was in town. This, of course, means that more money in both instances are sunk into sets.

JN-T should have left when Peter Davison did. He lost creativity and good writers then, and it shows very profoundly. His attempt, along with Eric Saward, to make the show more adult in nature (the black comedies that proliferated in seasons 21 and 22) took away from the general appearance and feel of the show. As we mentioned, the stories rung extremely hollow.

The stories are far too uniform in style. Perhaps varying story length and style would help. One of the big problems is that the story is now sought to be done as the "Ninety minute movie." JN-T has only done one "six-parter" in eight years of production. Everything else is a "four-parter" or shorter. This, however, is not entirely his fault. It's been a trend since the Hinchcliffe era (one six parter per season). Some of the stories would probably improve vastly with either lengthening or shortening, such as Timelash, Revelation of the Daleks, The King's Demons, and Arc of Infinity.

JN-T never stuck with a winning team, as shown by the constant changes in production staff and writers. We did another article comparing JN-T to Barry Letts (the two longest producers of Doctor Who), listing all of the writers for each of them, and some directors. JN-T's list of writers is twice as long as Letts's, and there are about 3 times as many directors for JN-T as there are for BL. Why hasn't JN-T asked Graeme Harper to direct for him again? Fiona Cumming? Peter Grimwade?

Unfortunately, the series is now geared for Americans. This is best shown by the Beeb's pressure on JN-T to make the "Ninety minute movie." Much of this blame must be transferred to Michael Grade. When JN-T took over, he was directed to aim the series at American syndication. Granted, that most of the money comes from the US, it is still a British series. It would probably gain more popularity if the original idea for the show brought about by Sydney Newman and Verity Lambert was brought back. Doctor Who was intended to be a children's show which anyone could watch.

Another little problem is the obsession with a certain type of story every couple of years. Early in JN-T's era, it was the melodrama, that is, vulnerability and heightened tension of a gun at the Doctor's head. Then, it became the black comedy. Now, it is "light entertainment"" (quote from James Armstrong). Styles should be mixed with story length.

The most telling problem of the entire era: the freshest idea came from Robert Holmes. Do we really need to elaborate here? We think not.

Don't get us wrong. JN-T actually did some good for the show when he first took over. Probably his best improvement was bringing the sfx up to date. There are very few laughable fx during his production era, except in the rush in season 20. His sets are all quite good -- no more 2 sets and the quarry, although maybe he should make a visit back there some time.

Well, hey... you all sat through it! We've come to the end... if we had any capability of rolling end-credits, this would be the space in which we would do that...

(end credits moved to a more suitable location....)

First posted to rec.arts.drwho 2 Oct 88

Go back to Part 6
Go on to Part 8
Return to the index