Doctor Who: Timelash (Story 142)
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"Timelash"'s script is a mess, and that's the fatal flaw. There's too much going on and the end result is less than the sum of its parts. There's an interplanetary war, a deformed dictator (part man, part plesiosaur), some no-nonsense rebels (played here by a pretty young woman and a bald fat guy), a bunch of squabbling Senators, a time corridor in space... and a young H.G. Wells. The characters are by and large one-dimensional, and the dialogue is mostly woeful. Nothing that happens on the planet Karfel ever really engages the viewer... except for Paul Darrow.
Best known for his role on "Blake's 7", Darrow came to this story expected to turn in a similar performance. Instead, he wanted to explore fresh waters by playing his character as Richard the Third. He delivers, in the end, a sarcastic, pompous, oily performance that would have worked really well... had any of the other guest actors been up to the challenge. Instead, he sticks out like a sore thumb. As Darrow says in the DVD's making-of featurette, the story really does get boring once his character exits, midway through the final episode.
The making-of documentary, by the way, is one of the DVD production team's liveliest efforts thus far. Several members of the production (cast and crew) spread the blame around. Script editor Eric Saward, as he always does, blames the producer, a man who's been dead for years.Read more ›
Ultimately the worst thing about this story is Peri's role in it. All she does in it is scream, get threatened by monsters and madmen, get yelled at by the Doctor, and told to stay out of the way of things. I rather felt bad for actress Nycola Bryant when I watched this. Now I woundn't blame her if this was her least favorite story. But I'm surprised that a lot of other people hate it too. The only other bad thing about this story is the alien ambassador in it. He looks like a sock puppet. He looks absolutely dreadful.
But other than those things, I can't see any other bad things about this story. The plot is actually quite good and engaging. There's never a dull moment. And apart from the alien ambassador, who only appears in a few scenes, I thought the special effects were pretty good too. They certainly weren't the best - but it's "Doctor Who"! For "Dr. Who" standards they really weren't that bad, and some of the sets were very imaginative and impressive... especially the Timelash. The story echoes a lot of the earlier stories in the series. This story has a lot of the themes in it that earlier stories had. A lot of those themes are what made "Dr. Who" so great and enjoyable, and is what made a lot of the earlier stories so popular. It also echoes some of H.G. Wells' writings. I feel that this story deserves a lot more credit than that which is given to it. And I thought the scenes between the Doctor and Herbert were very enjoyable. I also like the idea of H.G. Wells traveling with the Doctor in the TARDIS.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To paraphrase Roger Ebert, "This story isn't the bottom of the barrel. This story isn't below the barrel. Read morePublished 2 days ago by James R. Stewart
As usual I will skip the plot. As always good production value, no skips or jumps and the sound stays constant. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Jim Phillips
This is (in my opinion) the BEST Colin Baker episode ever! I never really liked Colin Baker as the Doctor all that much until this episode. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Rilla
Doctor Who is always fun to watch. I have been a fan since the 80's, and used to watch an episode every Saturday in Ft. Worth, Texas. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jerry D. Baillargeon
A Sixth Doctor story with had so much over acting and such a low budget! I really like the villian in this one and the surprize viewing of a previous Doctor was a nice tip of the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by E. Guerrido
There's a lot about this story that leads many to detest it. Among the many things wrong with it are an invading alien that looks like a hand puppet, bland decor, and a group of... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Adam Graham, Superhero and Detective Fiction Author