Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6th Doctor

The Sixth Doctor was a little messed up. He had an aggressive and grumpy temperament and was generally unlikable as a personality. His adventures were offensive to some for more than just the garishness of the Doctor. His stories were violent. The irony is that, for the most part, they were violent in making a point. They served as a commentary to the violence so prevalent in entertainment. Running from 1984 to 1986, they were on the air at the same time that shows like “The A Team” were airing on other stations. So it is a bit ironic that Doctor Who received so much criticism as it was commenting on the very same aspects of the culture.

The show was put on hiatus after one season of the Sixth Doctor. When it was brought back it was reformatted and audiences were treated to a season-long story where the Doctor (and the show itself) was put on trial.

Vengeance on Varos

The commentary this episode is trying to make is anything but subtle. On a planet where the populace is placated by torture and violence transmitted on television, there is even a whole sub-plot involving two characters sitting at home watching the events on their TV.

The Two Doctors

An entertaining episode involving two versions of the doctor. Robert Holmes always writes clever scripts with interesting ideas. Here, a species of alien is introduced that is obsessed with cooking and eating all sorts of creatures. The delicacy of interest here is, of course, humans. The story is a not so subtle case for vegetarianism, and it is quite effective. The Doctor himself decides to become one. (A decision lasting three regenerations.)

Revelation of the Daleks

Taking place on a funerary planet, this story is darkly comical and macabre. The funerary story provides very little religious ideas, but an assassin character has a code of conduct that harkens back to religious orders of knights.

The Trial of the Timelord

Not really a season-long story, so much as a season-long framework used to tell four stories. (Much like the idea used in season 16.) The Doctor is put on trial by his species for allegedly interfering in other cultures and causing death and destruction. In many ways, the show itself was on trial as many of the issues brought against the Doctor (violence, killing, etc.) had been brought against the show. The majority of this season presents interesting ideas about belief, truth, and trusting what we can understand versus what we believe.

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