Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon, on Repeat.

The Gunfighters

First Doctor  - 25th Serial

4 Episodes, Companions: Dodo, Steven

Summary: Team TARDIS materializes in Tombstone, Arizona, USA.  The Clantons mistake The Doctor for Doc Holiday, and terrorize Steven and Dodo until they finally get what they want - revenge against Doc!  

The Doctor: He's not the star of this one, despite the confusion between The Doctor and Doc Holiday, but he does fine.  He sticks to his guns, metaphorically speaking, about not liking guns.  He's protective of the innocent, even if in this case the innocent means his crew.  His reticence at visiting the dentist is endearing, given the commonality of that fear. 

Companions: Steven's back to his comedy origins here, but since this is a silly kind of throwaway Serial, I forgive him.  Even Dodo has now clearly fleshed out her fun-loving role, and she manages to support Steven's silliness and yet be an excellent foil for him. 

Continuity: I love the companions dressing themselves from the TARDIS wardrobe in horribly period-inappropriate garb.  The TARDIS wardrobe has clothes of every era, including theatrical costumes, apparently.  He mentions being back inside the TARDIS by lunch, answering for the first time that I am aware of the question of whether the companions eat their meals there while between destinations. The "Doctor Caligari"-"Doctor Who?"-"Quite right." exchange is among the first "Doctor Who" name jokes, or at least I am pretty sure it's the first one I have noticed at any rate.

Rating: Enjoy it.  I know a lot of people pan this Serial, but I really do like it.  It's fun, a little silly, but has enough drama and tension, thanks to the Clantons and Doc Holiday's own machinations, to make it work. Let's not forget that for a good drama - and I think Doctor Who is a good drama - to work, there has to be moments of levity and relaxed tension.   It's also nice for the problem of the Serial to not hinge on the fate of the world, or the universe, or even an entire village, but just the safety of the crew.  And for that to be the case in a story where it's not the damn Toymaker is even better!