Monday, September 03, 2007

Doctor Who - The Time Warrior

As is regular, here is my old review from the Doctor Who Ratings Guide of this month's DVD release, The Time Warrior:

Good ideas but a poor setting

The Time Warrior is like a curate's egg, with some good parts but also many bad parts. The idea of setting part of a story in medieval England is an interesting idea that allows for comparisons between a Sontaran and a human knight, but unfortunately the entire historical setting comes off poorly as it is little more than a backdrop for the story and the period is not a particularly fascinating one anyway. Equally weak are some of the characters, with Professor Rubiesh coming across as so laughable that it is wonder how he became a professor at all. It is also disappointing that there is no explanation for why the Doctor is still serving as UNIT's scientific advisor now that his ability to travel in time and space has been restored and Jo has gone.

However there are also some very good points to come out of the story, most obviously the introduction of both the Sontarans and Sarah-Jane Smith. Lynx is an extremely well defined character, coming across as a truly noble alien with a clearly defined set of values and thus a worthy opponent for the Doctor rather than as a mere monster from space. Although he seems to wear his helmet far more often than would be expect to, he nevertheless makes such a strong impression that any return appearance by the Sontarans is much deserved.

Also introduced in this story is Sarah Jane Smith. Elizabeth Sladen gives a very strong performance for her first story and Sarah comes across as a strong character, inquisitive and sceptical as any good journalist is and prepared to stand up for herself. Her strong feminist values and attempt to liberate the women in the castle kitchen doesn't come across too well, but otherwise she bodes well for the future.

Plot wise the story is well constructed but the whole medieval setting results in many weak characters who are somewhat clichéd, although Robert Holmes' script gives them many good lines. The sets are good and directionwise there's little to complain about in the story but it doesn't especially leap out. Ultimately The Time Warrior is a reasonable story that just fails to ignite enthusiasm for some reason. 6/10
The Time Warrior can be purchased from here.

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