Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma

A recent poll conducted by Doctor Who Magazine asked readers to rank every single story from 1963 all the way to “Planet of the Dead,” which apparently can be calculated to a nifty, even 200 stories. “The Twin Dilemma” came in dead last; in an odd twist, the story that immediately precedes it, “The Caves of Androzani,” took the #1 spot. It’s true, “The Twin Dilemma” is not a great story, but it is also not nearly as bad as reputation would suggest. There are plenty of other entries that are far worse than this one (for instance, “The Keys of Marinus”). It’s mildly noteworthy that this story should be released at this time, as it’s the first story of the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker), and since we just saw David Tennant regenerate into Matt Smith a few days ago, there might be slightly more interest in the title than there would otherwise be. While the storyline is a bit duff and the creatures look rubbery and fake, the road the production team went down to unveil the new Doctor was probably the boldest experiment ever conducted under that banner. Whether or not you’ll find the experiment a success will largely depend on your feelings about Baker’s Doctor. If you didn’t like him before, nothing here is going to change that. If you enjoy his take on the character, however, he throws down a pretty dazzling, crazed performance for his freshman outing, and this is well worth checking out.

The story involves the kidnapping of two twin boy geniuses (what exactly is it with '80s Who and boy geniuses!?) by a benign rogue Time Lord going by the name of Professor Edgeworth (Maurice Denham). In reality, he’s an old friend of the Doctor’s named Azmael, and he’s using the boys’ skills to aid one Mestor the Magnificent, the leader of a race of giant slugs who has plans of galactic conquest (don’t they always?). If you saw the finale of Extras, which guest-starred David Tennant, the ridiculous creature Ricky Gervais played in that scene was likely based on Mestor. Azmael is only begrudgingly doing this as a last ditch effort to save the planet Jaconda, which appears to hold the same sentiment for him as Earth does for the Doctor.

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