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Doctor Who: The Invasion of Time
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In Leela's farewell story, the Doctor returns to Gallifrey to claim the Presidency and begins an unorthodox administration by opening the gates to alien invaders. This adventure is famous for its extensive look into the backrooms of the TARDIS.
Crystalline aliens lurk in their ship in the vicinity of the shield that keeps Gallifrey safe from its enemies, and the Doctor, in his Tom Baker incarnation, is engaged in highly suspicious negotiations with them. As he takes his seat as president of the Time Lords Council and displays ever-increasing signs of paranoia, expelling Leela (Louise Jameson) to the barren area outside the Time Lords' citadel, could it be that he has turned to the dark side? Or is this all a cunning plan?
This is one of the most inventive of the Doctor's adventures back home on Gallifrey, with nicely judged portrayals of the senior Time Lord bureaucracy, some suspenseful journeys through the Tardis's interior, and a surprise appearance by particularly unpleasant old enemies. The real high point, though, is Tom Baker's performance, more barnstorming than ever before, at times blazingly angry and at times even more terrifying when soft-spokenly whimsical; this is a story line that reminds us that the various incarnations of the Doctor are impressive as well as charming. --Roz Kaveney
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I'm really impressed with Tom Baker's characterization of the fourth Doctor, he is a well balanced conservative liberal or in other words he has Good Common Sense. This combined with sincere morality makes for an authentic role model, something quite rare and sorely needed.
The Invasion Of Time was hastily prepared and it does seem a little improvised.
It is a bit abstract but in a tangible, easy to understand way.
The ever expansive Tardis is innovative and entertaining. It seems as if it could be another world!
How much room does the Doctor need?
I do like the swimming pool, nice touch of absurdity.
I'm not sure about the Doctor and Andred (Chris Tranchell) looking into the camera to address the viewer occasionally. A silly disruption.
This is also the final appearance of Leela (Louise Jameson).
She gives a strong and natural performance here but I am very disappointed the character has not grown or become more intelligent over time. Her departure is more of an afterthought than surprise.
The robot dog K-9 elects to stay with her for protection but after theTardis leaves we discover a still-in-the-box K-9 Mark II!
It's good to have a spare.
This is a somewhat dual story in a way, the bulk of it features a trio of aliens known as Vardans who are supplanted by Sontaran aliens which are much more menacing.
This is a very relevant entry for the Tom Baker era and it has a high fun quotient. It is stimulating enough to hold one's interest.
It does have fairly high production values, good sets and special effects, some of which have optional CGI enhancements that really aren't necessary.
The bonus disc has several worthwhile extras and one Easter Egg.
A great adventure overall, exciting, informative and absurd!
THE INVASION OF TIME was actually very hastily written and produced. The original writer that the Script Editor, Anthony Read, had commissioned simply couldn't handle a Doctor Who storyline, so a mere week or so before ACTUAL production time, both Read and producer Williams had to cobble a story together. And frankly, I think they did a great job (which is saying a lot considering how I am so not a fan of their first season as a production team). In fact, I would go far as to say the fact that because it WAS so rushed and so lacking in budget (which they blew on rather unfortunate special effects on the previous adventures of this season), INVASION OF TIME came off the better for it.
The story finally focuses on characters, on plot, and interactions, and not chintzy special effect silliness. Being the final episode for Leela, we get to wave goodbye to her (which for some, is a very welcomed thing). Read and Williams follow a slightly different format with handling a six part serial, using a "dog leg" plot switch half way through instead of the traditional "two - four" setup of basically breaking the serial into a two-part story and a four part story with coinciding primary scene/main character focus changes. It plays out well.
However, once we get to the final episode and get to see a very shabby, uninteresting Tardis interior literally looking like a disused hospital (and it WAS a disused hospital) one would see in B-grade horror flicks, add in long, rather meaningless (but humorous dialogue) walk-abouts, you may just marvel at the sheer disappointment this whole filler segment really embodies, especially if you watch the DVD special of bits that were cut out. Even MORE walking about aimlessly. LOL
Is this one of the best of the 4th Doctor's adventures? Generally, yes... except your take on the final 24 minutes will be quite subjective. You may love it, you may shrug it off, and you may just as well hate it. Yet still certainly worth a try.