Friday, 18 July 2014
REVIEW - DOCTOR WHO - THE ABANDONED (SPOILER-FREE)
Chalk full of imagination, creativity and some very peculiar characters...
After listening to Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories first, this story really had to step it up if it was going to surpass my expectations. The idea of setting a story entirely inside the TARDIS doesn't come around very often, mainly because there's not much you can do in just the TARDIS. The Abandoned, which is co-written by Nigel Fairs and Louise Jameson (who plays Leela) utilizes a lot of excellent and unusual ideas to make it work and stand out as a classic.
Unfortunately, because this is a spoiler-free review, I won't go into detail about what so special about the infamous Point of Stillness that the synopsis goes on about. I found it a little hard to precisely wrap my head around it, but that's what's nice about Doctor Who. If you understand it 100% after one viewing, then it kinda loses part of it's magic. This is also why Blink and Ghost Light was so much fun the first time. It takes a few more viewings before you completely get what's going on.
I expected no less, but Leela completely steals the show this time around with interactions with the Doctor. Kudos to both Louise and Nigel for capturing the bohemian-ness of the Fourth Doctor. In this story, especially for bulk of the first episode, he comes across as incredibly irritating to both Leela and the audience. Seriously, he just keeps talking, but doesn't really say anything, which is very Fourth Doctor, but perhaps taken to the extreme in this case.
One of the few things I didn't like in this story - that especially drove me up the wall - was the character of One (played by Mandi Sydmonds). She is just such an annoying character that at about halfway through, I wished they'd replace her with Angie Maitland - the dreaded teenaged brat Clara nannies on the TV Series. Yes! One is that bad. She is annoying, irritating with her constant laughing and cackling that it's almost enough to force someone off the story entirely. I understand that One was written to be that way and that if she succeeded in the purpose she was designed for, it is a job well done, but there is something important to be observed when a character is meant to be annoying: "If annoying is what they were going for, then they're to be applauded on their success. Then reminded that wittingly annoying is still annoying."
Probably the biggest thing that raised and earned The Abandoned so many positivity in my book is unfortunately one of the things that really spoils it, so I can't even namedrop it here. Uhhhh! I really want to share this unique plot device inserted by Louise and Nigel that both adds a little something personal for the Doctor and at the same time, diving into the mythos of Doctor Who. If I had to stick to the spoiler-free review, but still try and put it out there to encourage you guys to grab this release, then I'd have to say: "Remember what they did in Prisoners of Fate? It's not exactly that, but something similar/close."
Rating this episode: 7.5/10. No story is without faults, but the pros certainly outweigh the cons any day of the week.