Short thoughts on Doctor Who, disc by disc (originally published June 2012)
K-9 and Company
Tonight’s soundtrack: Electric Light Orchestra, “Strange Magic”
You can’t tell me the people who did the titles for Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace didn’t have this in mind. In fact, I’m also certain that if you were to show those both to an innocent person, my sainted mother for instance, she would be unable to tell you which is the parody and which is the actual show that expected to last more than one episode.
I know she wouldn’t watch the whole thing of either, no matter what the intent. I have a whole childhood’s supply of “Come On, That’s Just Stupid”s echoing in dusty media memory traps to prove that. Luckily there’s plenty of psychic distance between myself and the objects of my affection; there’s no constant need to re-engage with and reclaim the worth of things I loved as a kid just to salvage my gigantic yet vulnerable ego, because it’s good! It’s good, ma! I am not wasting my time. And I’m never going to grow out of it, so there! I’m going to make it my job and love it, in fact. Peter Pan so is coming for me, and I’ll always be allowed in Narnia!
…I heard Neil Gaiman say.
Silent tears of self-doubt aside, the real mistake the BBC made with this show was that they named it after the robot dog with a laser gun, not the human who would actually do things on camera. Elisabeth Sladen is a wonder in this; she’s Kolchak as Columbo with good hair. Any sane person would’ve called it Smith, Just Smith. We could have celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.