søndag den 19. april 2009

Who Review #104 - the Armageddon Factor

Classic Romana I
Mary's white , Time Lady dress.

Classic K9
"Optimism. Belief that everything will work out well. Irrational - bordering on insane."

I bet you've never heard this one....
"Resistance is futile!" (Astra and 1001 other characters before and after, in numerous shows.)

The Armageddon Factor must be judged on how it completes the Key to Time season. It finally gives us a glimpse of the Black Guardian (played by Valentine Dyall, whose deep voice was always fantastic) and a nice enemy he is too, although quite why he didn't seem to have the same powers as the White Guardian is a mystery. There is a real Eastern philosophical thread to the season as the Guardians are obviously symbolic of Ying and Yang. I have always thought that philosophy is a load of dingo's kidneys but it does have an appeal in story telling, much like the sides of the Force in Star Wars. Apropos which the Shadow, the Black Guardian's servant and quite a good character actually, reminds one of a Sith. Ultimately, I am disappointed at the conclusion of the story arc; the Doctor scattering the pieces, after all that effort, is rushed and unsatisfactory. Truth told, though, I am not sure there could be a better plot ending. (Some have suggested it would have been a fun development if the Black Guardian had captured the Key.)

The earlier parts to the story are basically OK. The idea that a war is being fought but the enemy doesn't exist (it's just a battle computer continuing its dead masters' plans) is - I am certain there was something like it in a classic Star Trek episode - not new. The Atrian Marshall is another of those marvellous voices, John Woodvine.

There are some weaknesses - such as the uninspired supporting cast, the truly dreadful Time Lord Drax and some unresolved plot points - but the story is enjoyable despite that.

Mary Tamm left in this story. That's a bit of a shame as she could have developed Romana's character just as well as Lalla Ward. Besides, I had such a crush on Mary when I was a kid! There are some problems with the Romana character but I'll wait with my thoughts until "Warrior's Gate".

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