I thought I'd re-post my comments from the TARDIS Eruditorium about "FULL CIRCLE" here, because, well... just because.
After watching this story again last night, reading all the reviews at Page Fillers, and all the comments here, I couldn't seem to find anything to say.
But this morning I had a dream where I and some friend found myself on a nearly-identical world, but in another universe. Everything looked right... except, in the otherwise beautiful blue sky were these weird, bright GREEN clouds. So I knew something was wrong.
I think comparing "MEGLOS" and "FULL CIRCLE" I can see what JNT was doing right-- and wrong. Clearly, the production end of things was being handled better than the year before. The look, the music, the tone, where drama and humor are mixed well. But where he goes wrong is based on his whole attitude, which may be a matter of wanting to be in charge. The idea that Season 17 was "The Tom Baker Show", and that if Baker left, the show would fall apart, is just the wrong way to go about trying to "fix" things. Because, in Season 17, certain things WORKED, and those included the main cast, and the writing. So the last thing JNT should have done was F*** with those. And he did.
Adric is maddenning in this story for so many reasons. He's frustrated with blindly taking orders, but doesn't get along with people his own age, either. He accidentally causes the death of an old man who was only trying to save his life. After being befriended by The Doctor and Romana, he leads his gang of crminally-minded friends into the TARDIS. Doesn't anybody lock that damn door anymore?
There's a few things in this story that, even within the context of this story, just make no sense at all. For one, the marshmen grab the TARDIS, and haul it to their cave. Romana & Adric both hit on the idea that they intend to use it as a battering ram. WHA'...? There must be better things to use for that purpose.
I'm not sure the whole idea of supposedly negative coordinates makes sense, either. This isn't the universe of anti-matter, but just anti-coordinates. Hmm. The image translator shows Gallifrey, because Alzarius is apparently in the same spot, only in the other universe. So, swamp instead of desert. Now, what the HELL are the odds that an image translator designed to fit a Terradon spaceship should just happen to fit into the console of the TARDIS?? Just plugs in like it was made for it.
And then there's the title, and the old man saying, "We've come full circle!" Wouldn't this make more sense if, after crashing on Alzarius, the people of Terradon had evolved INTO marshmen-- then, back again?
But back to my main problem with what, otherwise, was a generally well-done, mezmerizing season. Baker, Ward & Leeson were one of the BEST teams the show ever had. You DON'T F*** with something like that!!! Actors leave shows soon enough. You DON'T go pushing them out the door, just because you've got some "personal vision" of how you think the damned show should be. Because the time to push that is WHEN the actors have already left, not when they're still kicking ass and are clearly the best thing you've got. Because Season 18 is way, way, WAY better than Season 19 (and it's a steady downhill from there), and the total change in cast is definitely a huge part of why.
I wish The Doctor and Romana had gotten to Gallifrey-- without Adric-- and by the end, just like Baker straightened things out in "THE DEADLY ASSASIN", the two of them could have left together again, to continue their adventures. And The Master... well, he should have been in "TALONS" and died then and there.
Watched this again, just a few thoughts:
1)The DVD commentary on this was interesting, featuring Matthew Waterhouse, Christopher Hamilton Bidmead and writer Andrew Smith, who is a cop, now, apparently. Waterhouse's main contribution is that he doesn't seem to have gotten along with anyone much, and that he didn't like working with director Peter Grimwade. Also, the one thing that Bidmead, Smith and JNT all seem to have agreed on is that they all hated K-9, which is why it's beheaded in the second episode. I liked K-9 as a character, but I can see where the tehcnical limitations of the prop made it hard to work with.
2)"Well, you can't fIght Time Lords, Romana." "You did -once." "And lost." I always thought it was an interesting character bit - the Doctor, who usually would be the first one to defy authority, is passive here about defying the Time Lords.
3)"That would mean we're out of real space altogether." One of the DVD extras consists of several experts dicussing whether something like e-space could exist. The answer: "Maybe."
4)Ah, what's left to say about Adric? I don't blame Waterhouse, it would've taken a much better actor then he was to make the character workable.
5)Can't say as I'm too wild about the music in this - too synthy.
6)"Decider Draith was dragged into the swamp." For some reason, I find that line hysterically funny. Perhaps it makes me think of Swamp Castle: "It burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp."
7)"Did you find K-9's head?" Another line I find quite funny.
8)"These short trips don't usually work." Except when the plot calls for them to work.
9)The whole business of "Deciders who can't decide" sounds like it ought to be an interesting plot idea, but isn't somehow.
10)Ward does "possessed" acting OK, but she's no Lis Sladen.
11)Hey, Garif is Skinsale from "Fang Rock"!
12)"Charged Vacuum Embointment" - words that will come back to haunt the Doctor.
Kind of a mediocre story - not a favorite.