Viewing posts tagged John Nathan-Turner

Things Fall Apart

Here's a round-up of my Timelash II on Season 18.  I was holding this (and some of the stuff about Seasons 19-21) back because I was going to rework it into something bigger, but that isn't happening (too much else to do), so...


The Leisure Hive

Bidmead's script tinkerings somewhat dilute the essential idea of a leisure planet in favour of wannabe-big-conceptual stuff... which is pretty dull and lumbering, if we're honest.

The planet fails to convince as a leisure resort, which kind of undercuts all the lengths they go to to stress that the whole race have become employees of a going concern. All that boardroom stuff where they discuss investments suddenly looks redundant. What's it there to contextualise?

The stylistic overhaul is huge, ambitious and largely successful. There's a new willingness to try stuff out. They're happy to go all dark and quiet during the scene where Timson is stalked by the West Lodge Foamasi. I particularly like the slow, melancholy opening.

Mind you, the seeds of the later-80s problems are already visible. The Doctor is now wearing a uniform, etc.

The politics is weird. The war was about... what ...

Rolling the Boulder

It's JN-T Day!  In honour of the late and much-maligned Mr Nathan-Turner - who rescued Who from the stylistic doldrums, produced a slew of stone classics and stuck around longer than he wanted to because he knew his departure would mean the end of the show - here is my Timelash II stuff on the stories usually called the 'Black Guardian Trilogy'.  Much undervalued, all three of them.

For John Nathan-Turner.



'Mawdryn Undead'

Once you get past the Billy Bunter bibble of the opening (and even that is pleasingly unexpected) this develops into a highly satisfactory bit of concept-driven sci-fi, cleverly using time travel (never a major concern of the old-style show) as part of a complex but admirably clear plot, aware of itself as myth-reiteration (immortality as curse, the Flying Dutchman, etc.) and with a submerged political sense in its depiction of crime, power, unscrupulousness and luxury.

It engages with the Who mythos without being enslaved to it, using concepts from the show's backstory to create a genuinely dramatic conflict situation in the characters' here and now.

You can see everyone's point of view here, even if you don't like the way they're behaving ...

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