29 December 2011

Dr Who and the Cultural Context

Over the past couple months, I've read a few Doctor Who-related books, so over the next few days, I'll be catching up on reviews of those:

About Time 4: The Unauthorized Guide to Doctor Who, 1975-1979 / Seasons 12 to 17
by Lawrence Miles & Tat Wood

In the ever-confusing history of the About Time series, this was actually the second written.  As a result, the series is clearly still growing into the format that it would perfect with About Time 1 and 2, covering the 1960s stories.  Still, this one is pretty good.

I found it hard going at first, but once we got into Season 14 or so the book began to pick up a bit and yield more interesting insights.  I wonder if this is because Miles and Wood obviously both love the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era, and so the analysis often tends to boil down to "they got it just right"; perhaps there's more for them to sink their teeth into with Graham Williams's often misfiring producership.  This is also the part that sees the "Critique" essays being split into "Prosecution" and "Defense," with one author writing each one (but they don't say which is which).  Oddly, even though I don't really like Season 17, I found myself agreeing with the defense more often than not-- the prosecution's arguments often boiled down to "you can't do X in Doctor Who," when the case wasn't that you couldn't do X, but that X just hadn't been done well.

It's a good read, as all the About Time volumes have been, but strangely, my main takeaway has been a desire to watch The Invasion of Time and The Armageddon Factor again, of all things.  Now that's some good Doctor Who. (No, really.)

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