|Tom and Lalla were a fun team, but their personal|
relationship got in the way of their acting.
Season 18 of Doctor Who is always called boring, and I don't believe that's entirely true. I say entirely for the simple reason that, unfortunately, a lot of the season sorta is. Newly-promoted John Nathan Turner wanted to turn the show away from the silliness it had become soaked in during the reign of previous producers Graham Williams and Douglas Adams. In doing so he hired scientific journalist Christopher H Bidmead, a man who brought not only great real-life ideas but also a lax way of using them. He also took up Tom Baker's resignation, and began preparations for a new Doctor and new companions.
The problem with using real-world science as your standard technobabble is that those words actually mean something. Oh sure, Pip 'n' Jane Baker may boast about how Strange Matter is a real thing, but that doesn't make the science in their episode any more ridiculously wrong. If anything, using real terms and ideas only highlights when you're doing it wrong. Thus in our first story of the season, The Leisure Hive, where Tachyons, a real world concept, are strangulated. Again in Logopolis, where Mathemathics, Entropy and Gravity are all bastardised by the man himself. Furthermore, while these ideas are certainly interesting and add a lot of maturity to the series, they are not enough to carry a story by itself, leaving the characters to wander around doing standard, run-of-the-mill things. The only stories that really manage to carry themselves under their own weight are the odd Meglos and the slightly Shakespearean Keeper of Traken.
The series themology, surrounding the idea of Entropy and the end of all things, fits well as foreshadowing of the Fourth Doctor's demise, but a lot of the stories in the season only barely cover it. In The Leisure Hive, entropy is seen in the life cycle of the Argolins, who live for long periods then suddenly start aging and turn to stone within a month. Meglos saw the failing planet of Zolfa-Thura, and of the society on Tigella. In Full Circle, Alzarius collapsed back into the time of the Marshmen, and in Warrior's Gate the Vampires' society is already run down. In Warrior's Gate the Gateway Realm is collapsing and in The Keeper of Traken sees the autumn years of the titular character's reign. Logopolis, despite not really getting what Entropy is, caps off the season by seeing actual Entropy destroy stuff and seeing The Fourth Doctor's demise. It's a themology that really isn't immediately obvious until Logopolis, and even then we get an extra theme surrounding Recursion to cross over into Season 19.
|Thanks for the ride, JNT. You'll be missed.|