(Taking a break from the adventures of the Tenth Doctor - I need to steel myself before the horrors of "Love & Monsters" and "Fear Her", so I decided to reach back and watch something that was better-written.)
1)Of course, the main thrust of this is getting to watch Colin Baker overact his cotton socks off in the throes of a regeneration gone wrong, as well as seeing poor Peri's justifiably negative reaction to seeing this whole mess. This was an interesting idea - presenting the public with a new Doctor that comes across as quite unpleasant and then having him win them over. It might conceivably have worked if properly handled, but in the event, it wasn't. This story was tacked on to the end of Peter Davison's last season, and Baker has complained that since the viewers had to wait months for his second story, the image of his Doctor as an obnoxious fellow was left in the public's mind for far too long. That said, there is a certain amount of amusement value in watching his histrionics, as he swings from blustering bravado to cartoonish cowardice. However, the famous scene where he turns on Peri is genuinely scary, and one wonders how she was able to continue traveling with him after that.
2)Ah, the costume. You know, my opinion about the costume has changed a bit over the years. I remember that when I first saw it, I loved it, which tells you something about my dress sense in those days. Now, having had many years to think about it, my feeling is that nothing inherently wrong with the idea of the Doctor having an incarnation with particularly bad or excessively flashy dress sense. It's just that the outfit as worn was too obviously a "costume" and not clothing that an actual person - even one with no fashion sense - might have chosen. The funny thing is, I think it would've taken only a small amount of tweaking to make the outfit acceptable. I liked the cat badge, though,
3)I gather that getting Maurice Denham for this was something of a coup, as apparently he was something of a "name" in those days. Watching this today, I couldn't help feeling that, like Harriet Jones, "he looks tired". It was interesting to see the Doctor meet up with an old drinking buddy, however.
4)The twins, the twins, the twins...whose idea were they? "I know, let's put two Adrics in, and to make it more fun, let's hire kids who make Matthew Waterhouse look like Laurence Olivier!" Oh, and if they were so vital and dangerous, why were they left alone, and unguarded?
5)Mestor was goofy-looking, and his plan was crap. Also, the Bird People were not the show's finest hour, either.
6)On the commentary track, the actor who plays Hugo points out that he had to spend most of Part Two asleep, and he points out that when he takes a coat from the wardrobe, it's very tacky and just happens to be the one that Peri hid his power pack in.
Cliffhanger #1: Hugo threatens to kill the Doctor! Resolution: He passes out before he can do it.
Cliffhanger #2: Peri overacts because she thinks the Doctor got blowed up real good ! Resolution: It turns out he wasn't.
Cliffhanger #3: The Doctor overacts at the thought that Peri's life is in danger! Resolution: It turns out that Mestor thinks she's cute.
8)Some Fun Quotes:
Overall The post-regenerative stuff was better than I remembered it being, but the story itself wasn't up to much.
"This story was tacked on to the end of Peter Davison's last season, and Baker has complained that since the viewers had to wait months for his second story, the image of his Doctor as an obnoxious fellow was left in the public's mind for far too long."
I think the idea was, with JNT repeating so much of the past, he wanted to concoct the NEXT Doctor before he left the show (just as Derrick Sherwin and Barry Letts had done). Only, he wanted it at the END of the season, instead of the beginning of the next one. Had BBC habits changed so much? Was Season 21 SO horrific and hopeless and downbeat that he really wanted something lightweight and upbeat to finish it out with and give it a little balance? If so, It's a shame that the Doctor was SO unstable, his outfit SO horrific, the "adventure" it accompanied SO underwhelming... I'm sorry, what was the question?
Oh yeah, but the biggest problem was, JNT-- DIDN'T leave!!! Why? WHY???
In America, WE had to wait almost a year after Peter Davison GOT KILLED so painfully before we could see "THE TWIN DILEMMA". Stupid, stupid, stupid distributor!!!!! Also, over here, Colin's stories were spaced out ONE per MONTH-- in between William Hartnell's stories, which had never been seen here before. And from casual viewers I've talked to, most of them GAVE UP on Hartnell by the end of his 1st story!!! (I'm not kidding.) A little perspective to place this in, hmm?
"the famous scene where he turns on Peri is genuinely scary"
Yeah, that was going too far. "Impossible. I have a built-in instinct that prevents me injuring innocent people." "YOU DON'T!!!" "What???"
"I gather that getting Maurice Denham for this was something of a coup, as apparently he was something of a "name" in those days. Watching this today, I couldn't help feeling that, like Harriet Jones, "he looks tired". It was interesting to see the Doctor meet up with an old drinking buddy, however."
I've seen Maurice Denham as Inspector Japp in THE ALPHABET MURDERS. No kidding. There's a film that's so off-kilter, one suspects it MIGHT have worked better IF Peter Sellers had starred in it... instead of, DEAR GOD, Tony Randall. (The ONE really, genuinely brilliant moment in the entire film, is right near the end, where the whole thing goes back to something that happened at the very beginning of the film. The film had been such a chaotic, silly mess, by the time that happened, you just didn't EXPECT that the writer was actually paying attention to the plot.)
I always suspected that Denham's character might have been intended to be the SAME one played by George Kormack in "PLANET OF THE SPIDERS"-- and it turns out, I was right. But they changed their minds, and for that, I'm glad. I'd hate to think that someone as wonderful and insightful as Kam-Po Rimpoche / Cho-Je should have gone so terribly wrong.
"Mestor was goofy-looking"
Hard to believe "Captain Hart" was under that get-up, hmm??? (He also played villains on THE AVENGERS way back.)
"I thought you were the danger to the universe."
"I'm a knight errant, not an errant fool!"
"It worked. It actually worked."
"Whatever else happens - I am the Doctor, whether you like it or not!"
I like these. Especially the 3rd one.
I REALLY wish JNT had left RIGHT HERE (and taken that rotter Saward with him), and let some brave soul take over and steer the show in a new direction. It needed it. As I said, I actually like this story, but there's not another one I like this much until "THE TWO DOCTORS", and then "REVELATION OF THE DALEKS" (both of which have elicited quite polarized opinions among most fans-- LOVE, or HATE, but nothing in between).
Both Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are much nicer people, and better actors, than they EVER got a chance to show on this series.
I think there were alot of lost opportunities in this period in the show's history. If the show had been supported the way the current show is, it needn't have reached the point of being cancelled in the first place.
It's been suggested that Colin's 2nd season (the one we never got to see) would have seen him & Peri evolve into much nicer people, the way they were shown in "THE MYSTERIOUS PLANET".
But then, you had not one but TWO higher-ups at the BBC, both of whom had a PERSONAL dislike of the show, and who as a result, did everything they could to SCREW it over-- in the hopes that ratings would plunge, and they'd then have an excuse to cancel it. I mean... it wouldn't do for them to have YANKED the #1 biggest money-maker worldwide for the corporation off the air, JUST because THEY, personally, didn't care for it... right?
(It actually reminds me of what went on in my own life right about that time. At the place I worked, they hired this new "designer" fresh out of college (he didn't even have his degree yet), and put him in charge of my department (above MY boss, who'd been there for 15 years). As soon as he realized that I KNEW he was incompetent, he spent every moment he could trying to HAVE ME FIRED. He got especially worried about his job when he saw I was learning the computer drafting system FASTER than he was.)