Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Doctor Who: The Black Guardian Trilogy

After the Doctor tussled with the Black Guardian (Valentine Dyall) back in “The Key to Time” season, the god-like entity vowed to eventually catch up with the Time Lord and destroy him. Over the course of these three stories, the Black Guardian attempts to make good on his threat, although his instrument of doom is a rather peculiar weapon: a teenage alien posing as a British schoolboy. His name is Turlough (Mark Strickson) and he makes a pact with the Guardian that he will kill the Doctor if the deity will take him away from Earth once and for all. Over the course of these three stories he’s bullied, prodded, and talked down to by the Black Guardian at every turn, and it’s a huge shame that early on he doesn’t just say to the Doctor, “Hey, this creepy guy with a dead bird on his head wants me to off you, but it looks like you’ve got some pretty awesome hardware at your disposal, so why I don’t I just hitch a ride with you instead?” Clearly, Turlough wasn’t thinking straight, and if he had managed to double-cross the Guardian so early on, these three tales wouldn’t have their linking thread, which is actually one of the more interesting propositions the series ever offered up: What if the Doctor’s companion was actively engaged in trying to kill him?

The trilogy kicks off with “Mawdryn Undead,” a truly twisty-turny tale of time and space. Indeed, for a TV series which so often uses time travel as its jumping off point, Doctor Who rarely offers up time conundrums and problems as central to the conflict of its stories. Of course, there are only so many ways you can go back in time and step on a butterfly, so this is understandable in regards to the series. And yet, when Who does pull out a story where time travel plays an important role, it’s always great fun to just kick back and let the McFlyness of it all wash over you.

Read the rest of this DVD review by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.