Saturday, May 24, 2008

4.71: The Eurovision Song Contest

A strange, disconnected world in which vaguely camp characters, indistinguishable and without backstories, come in and go off without being properly developed, and periodically burst into song: I suppose, given that RTD's first love is Buffy, it was inevitable that sooner or later he would attempt to make an episode of Torchwood in the style of "Once More With Feeling."

Davies also has a bad habit of taking Very Good "Big Finish" stories -- "Jubilee", "Fires of Vulcan", "Spare Parts" and turning them into Not Quite So Good TV episodes -- "Dalek", "Fires of Pompeii", "Rise of the Cybermen." Gareth Roberts classic "Bang-Bang-A-Boom" is set on a space craft ("Dark Space 5") during an intergalactic song contest: transferring the action to Belgrade and making all the contestants human seems to remove the episode's central point.

The extremely tight filming schedules required by new Doctor Who has required that Season 2 and Season 3 both included episodes in which the Doctor played a relatively minor role. And of course, in the Very Old Days, actors had to occasionally have time off: Bill Hartnell missed part 4 of "Dalek Invasion Earth"; and during "The Mind Robber", Fraser Hines famously mislaid his face causing Jamie to go down with chickenpox, or possibly vice versa. But tonight's episode cleverly references "Mission to the Unknown" in that none of the regular characters appear. Presumably, the Irish Space Agent who is the only recurrent character has sent an SOS message that will be picked up by the TARDIS in the next story but one...


If you have enjoyed this essay, please consider buying a copy of The Viewers Tale or Fish Custard which collects all my writings about Doctor Who to date.

Alternatively, please consider making a donation of £1 for each essay you have enjoyed.