Thursday, August 31, 2017

Doctor Who - Survival (1989)

I can't remember if I'd ever seen Survival back in the days of catching these stories on VHS. I know it's possible but having now watched it on DVD I can say that it is such an unremarkable story that even if I had seen it I'm sure I would have forgotten it by now.

Certainly, for a story with the master as its villain, this is a limp effort. It doesn't help that this is a perfect example of all of the things about the Sylvester McCoy years that I find irritating. I can't stand the fact that we never have scenes inside the Tardis. I'm sure this decision had something to do with lowering the budget because the BBC was quite worried about money being spent on the show at the time. Strangely, every Sylvester McCoy story I've ever seen was shot entirely on location. Why that would make this show less expensive I have no idea but we all know how the BBC works, right? Not having those scenes inside the Tardis really gets on my nerves as it never allows us to have what I consider to be the most basic Touchstone scenes in Doctor Who stories. We kind of need - or, at least I kind of need - to see the Doctor fiddling with the Tardis controls, speaking about the machine, talking about plans and destinations and ideas and stories that we will never see. This kind of thing adds mystery, flavor and depth to the character which is something the McCoy years needed to just offset the boring locations. Having all of the show's scenes take place outside the Tardis always seems artificial and silly.

Also, in what I'm sure was another cost-cutting effort, pretty much every Sylvester McCoy story I've seen or can remember takes place in modern-day London. This is irritating and mirrors my feelings about the modern Who shows! It's so obvious and cheap a choice that it does nothing but draw attention to how often it is done. It also imparts a certain sameness to everything regardless of how many deserted landfills, grassy fields, rock quarries or other places the show occasionally visits.

So, overall, not a great episode even with some pretty cool cat creature costumes. I'm sad that this was the last of the run of the original Who show. It deserved a much better final story.

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