Doctor Who Review — The Invasion Of Time

The

cs15ep6j Inva­sion of Time wants to be an epic story. And it sets out all the elements to be just that. Unfor­tu­nately that ambi­tion is repeat­edly under­cut by budget and other factors.

I’ve been fairly crit­i­cal of the 6 part story format for clas­sic Doctor Who, because more often than not it results in a lot of padding. In this case however, there’s no short­age of plot to fill all six episodes. Unfor­tu­nately it seems they had money for no more than 4.

As a result we get wildly vari­able produc­tion values. The scenes that feature Gallifrey take their cues from The Deadly Assas­sin and there­fore look great. On the other hand, the scenes of the Doctor being chased around the TARDIS inte­rior look like they were shot in an empty hospi­tal. And they look that way for a very good reason…

In simi­lar fash­ion the acting qual­ity is all over the map. On the one hand we have John Arnatt and Milton John as Borusa and Kelnar who are excel­lent and wonder­ful foil’s for Tom Baker’s Doctor. On the other hand… well just about every­one else.

drwho_invasionoftime_castellan

And Baker himself embod­ies this vari­ance. Some­times he is giving a subtle and power­ful perfor­mance, and then he completely under­cuts it my hamming up directly to the camera. This is the story with the infa­mous “not even my sonic screw­driver can get me out of this” line. In many ways this is the point where Baker’s Doctor starts to become a cari­ca­ture of himself.

Some­what unusu­ally the story actu­ally features two sets of villain­ous aliens. The first ones, the Vardans are inter­est­ing in concept, but once again the budget lets us down and they are visu­ally… people covered in aluminum foil. The second are the Sontarans. And here you can see the begin­ning of their descent into comedic char­ac­ters. They are at least still danger­ous here, but they’re also incred­i­bly stupid and incom­pe­tent. I know I bang on about this, but they are a wasted oppor­tu­nity.

I guess the other thing I need to mention is Leela’s depar­ture. It is bizarrely tacked onto the end of this story and noth­ing we’ve seen feels like we’ve actu­ally lead up to it. It doesn’t even seem like behav­ior that’s remotely in char­ac­ter for Leela.

All in all The Inva­sion of Time is a frus­trat­ing story to watch. There is so much poten­tial here and some moments of pure magic. And then it promptly stuffs it up.

Sources: Hulu+ or  Amazon​.com: The Inva­sion Of Time

 

About Eoghann Irving

Overly opinionated owner and author of eoghann.com. You can get updated on his posts directly on the blog here or through the usual social networking suspects. What? You expected me to say something interesting here? That's what the blog posts are for. Eoghann has often wondered if people read these little bio things we have to fill out everywhere on the internet and, assuming they do, why?