Shows - Review
Doctor Who (1963-1989)
Episode: Time-Flight (Part 1)
Review by: Michael Hickerson
Time-Flight has always held a special place in my heart. It was, after all, the first Who story I watched all those years ago...
But sentimentality aside, you've got to admit Time-Flight is a prime example of really bad Doctor Who. Easily the weakest of the Davison era stories, Time-Flight suffers on a lot of levels from the sheer unbelievability of the plot, to a greater than average reliance on technobabble to some flat performances by not only the guest cast but the regular cast as well.
Starting off with the plot. I've seen this one at least seven or eight times over the years and I'll be darned if I can yet figure out just what the plot is. Apparently, the Master manuevers Concord back in time to kidnap a slave labor force so he can steal a new power source for his TARDIS is the best I can figure out. Why he needs four episodes and a disguise to do this is a question that remains largely unanswered. Add to it that we're never given any concrete reason for him to need the new power source (funny, I thought a TARDIS power source was pretty much self-sustaining) and it adds up to a plot that needed some serious script editing.
Another beef with the story is the dumbing down of the Master. His plot is fairly superficial--get the Xeraphim to his TARDIS. If he gets to destroy the Doctor in the bargain, all the better, but it's not integral to the plot. Which is a harsh change from the meancing Master we've come to know and love in the Pertwee era. Gone are the long ranging plot to not only humilate the Doctor but also destroy the universe. Instead, we've got a carbon copy of Snidley Whiplash--running around, twisting his hands will glee and cackling manically. Also, one questions his logic of keeping the human passengers to make more Plastmatons while disregarding the pile of potential raw material in the bodies of the Xeraphins... it looks like he's just not thinking things through very well.
The script also falls short because it paints itself into such a corner by the time episode four rolls around. The final episode requires such a suspension of disbelief that it fold under its own weight, descending into luncacy and plot contrivences.
And this is easily Davison's weakest performance as Doctor. There are times he seems to be phoning the performance in as does the usually reliable supporting cast of Janet Fielding and Sarah Sutton. You almost get the feeling they are exhausted from Earthshock and looking toward the summer break more than their pefromances here.
Added all up, and you get one of the weaker Davison stories and an overall disappointing Who story...
Last Updated: 10/25/2006
Other Reviews by Michael Hickerson
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