Tuesday I stopped by the local Suncoast, and there on the shelves were four copies of “Time-Flight.” Imagine my surprise; the local Suncoast is absolutely terrible at getting Doctor Who videos (no “Invasion of Time,” no “Revelation of the Daleks,” etc.), and since I needed a Who fix the way a junkie needs heroin, I picked it up.
I’m not sure that I’d ever seen “Time-Flight.” I must’ve, since I vaguely remember watching “Earthshock.” Okay, so we’ll assume that I hadn’t ever seen it; I just can’t remember it. (Though to be fair, it would have been fifteen years ago at a minimum when I would have seen it.)
First, it’s a story impossible to take seriously. I’m not sure if it was meant to be as laughable as it was. Because watching it I couldn’t help but laugh at it.
Second, Tegan wasn’t the annoying bitch that I remember from later stories. Instead, she spent most of the time acting like a real airhead, letting Nyssa and the Concorde pilot do the heavy character lifting.
Third, Davison managed to rise very well above the nonsense going on around him. (And I loved his comment that he should never have gotten rid of the scarf.)
Fourth, the Master’s plot seemed rather dull. Okay, he’s stuck in the distant past and wants to escape. Uhm, bore me, why don’t you. He’s got his TARDIS; I’m sure the Master could find a way to put himself into suspended animation for 140 million years, escape the distant past one day at a time, and then in the 20th century find the tools he’d need to repair his TARDIS, all without drawing the Doctor into the plot. Okay, that’s a problem when I can out-think the super-villain.
I always liked the theme music of the Davison era. I wish we could have that on the Big Finish audios rather than the Tom Baker era music. It’s just music, I know, but it’s a slight matter of preference.
The ditching of Tegan. Handled pretty well. I liked the way the camera closed on her face at the end as she says that she thought she was going with the Doctor, too. I imagine sometime after “Arc of Infinity” Tegan would have confronted the Doctor about his abandonment of her, and he’d say, “Nyssa and I just popped out for a few moments because it was a rather sticky situation with the bobbies, you see, and one thing led to another and you know how tetchy the TARDIS can be and we did mean to pop back and pick you up right away, but one thing led to another, and where did I leave my cricket bat?” Or maybe not.
I think it’s interesting that Davison would have rather had Nyssa as his Doctor’s companion than Tegan. A pity that his desire couldn’t have happened. Nyssa, to be honest, worked talking technobabble, giving the sense that she was on the same page as the Doctor most of the time. I realize Doctor Who almost requires a dim companion so the Doctor has an audience avatar to explain matters to. Hmm.
A random observation. I started wondering if Davison’s decision to only do three seasons harmed Doctor Who. If memory serves, the reason Colin Baker was sacked was because he had been the Doctor for three years, the same as Davison (ignoring the fact that Colin only had the two seasons), and with Doctors changing every three years that was bound to put the audience on unsure ground, giving people more of an opportunity to bail on the program. I wonder if Davison had done a fourth season (as I understand he wanted to, but after JNT had made the preparations for Colin to take over the role) if Doctor Who wouldn’t have gone through the traumas of the cancellation crisis, etc. At this point, who can say?