Doctor Who - Time-Flight (VHS)

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Time-Flight: Sheer, unmitigated crapola!

Jan 21, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:The special features are, as always, awesome!

Cons:pretty much everything else

The Bottom Line: Ponderous and a chore to sit through, but enlivened bt a great commentary!


The FIRST in my new series called "TIME for some new Doctor Who reviews!" wherein I review all the DVDs I have with "time" in the title!

Hot on the heels of the superb Earthshock comes one of the worst episodes of Doctor Who that I have ever seen.  Seriously.  I know the show has its detractors, and I am not usually one of them. In this case, though, I can't help but see where the detractors are coming from.  Time-Flight is utterly and completely terrible, and 100% without merit.  OK, almost.  I'll get into that in a minute, but trust me, it's like wading through a sewage canal and finding a beautiful gold watch, but you realize it says "ROLOX" on it.

In other words, Time Flight is a hangnail on the finger of Quality.

We start off with Tegan and Nyssa mourning the death of Adric.  The pair asks the Doctor if they can't simply go back and rescue him and the Doctor lays out a ration of crap and shuts them down and immediately sets a course for the World's Fair, because, well, I suppose he's dead, and that's that, so let's all get Funnel Cake!  Of course, the TARDIS is drawn off course due to something in the Vortex (the Vortex is what the TARDIS travels through to different points in time and space, by the way...)and ends up at Heathrow Airport!  It turns out the Concorde has gone missing and, being that the Doctor and crew turn up in the middle of the terminal in a police box, are thought to be involved somehow.

So, pretty standard fare so far, right?  The gang show up, and are immediately put to blame.  Here's where it gets a little odd.

The Doctor convinces the authorities to send up another Concorde loaded with his TARDIS and fly the same course.  That makes sense, sure.  Send the nutter in the cricket outfit with the stewardess and the princess looking girl who showed up in a phone box and pack ‘em in another eleventy billion dollar plane and see if they don't disappear as well.  This is but the first bit of our story that makes no sense, but occurs Because The Script Said So!  Time-Flight suffers from BTSSS syndrome so much it's almost beyond belief.

Of course the second plane is caught in the same time trap as the first and gets sent back in time to something like the Precambrian age or something.  The TARDIS gang and the crew of the airplane get out and have a look see.  How did they land without a runway, you ask?  Buggered if I know.  They appear to have landed on a rocky steppe, which, in theory, should have sheared off the landing gear, but whatever.

The Doctor is transported away by what appear to either be badly realized soap bubbles, and, alternately, giant turds.  He ends up in the lair of Kalid, a scaly vaguely Oriental wizard type that I needed subtitles to understand.  Who is this buck-toothed magician and why has he brought The Doctor to the past.  This is revealed when it turns out, in the only genuine surprise of the story that Kalid is actually The Master!  Well, slap my bottom and call me Susan, I didn't see that coming.  Wow.  Mind you, it's only to give us the admittedly cheap shock, but I was surprised.  "Aha," I thought, "Now it should get good, or at the very least, interesting!"  Oh, how very, very mistaken I was.

Further down we dig into the depths of ugly as we progress.  Ainley and Davison are game enough, but at some point you almost expect the Doctor to say "Well, this is just stupid!  Come on, Tegan!  Nyssa!  Passengers and crews of the Concordes, let's go!  Queue up and into the TARDIS with the lot of you.  Everyone else, sod off!  We're ending this story early and I'm going for a drink!"  Just once I'd love to have the Doctor just stride up to the Master and smack him across the chops for making such convoluted plans.  I mean, he shows up in Mark of the Rani disguised as a scarecrow for crying out loud!  Truthfully, that's one of the things I love most about Ainley's master (and John Simm's actually) is that they are (to paraphrase J.K. Rowling) "nuttier than squirrel poo!"  Yes, the Delgado Master was eeeeee-vil, and dangerous and whatnot, but he was far too genteel to be dressing up as a scarecrow, or a green, vaguely Fu Manchu-ish zombie wizard.  I still say it's because he stole that body from Nyssa's father.  My guess is Nyssa's father's mind didn't completely let go, and it cracked the Master's already dangerous psyche. 

Anyway, the next two episodes are you standard run around while The Master and The Doctor do their level best to annoy each other.  It's a disappointment, really.

Here's some of my sticking points:

OK, we get rid of Adric, so there's a chance at expanding Tegan and Nyssa's roles.  This space is promptly taken up by the crew of the Concorde.  The captain is quite good, and the blonde one, but really, Tegan and Nyssa could have really used the time.The prehistoric set looks about 5 feet deep.  It's like a grade school play...The model work is pretty awful, considering it's just 2 planes...The aliens look like soap bubbles or enormous turds, depending on the shot.  Considering the rest of the story, maybe the turds were a sign.Look, everyone!  Nyssa's psychic!  Great, now let's promptly forget about this for the rest of the series, shall we?  Agreed?  Great!Now that Adric has been blown to atoms, maybe the girls get a little more plot time.  Oh, wait, here's THREE MORE PEOPLE the Doctor can interact with instead of developing a rapport with Nyssa and Tegan!

On the plus side of this DVD, is the special features.  The commentary featuring Davison, Janet Fielding (Tegan) and Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) is worth the price of admission.  Hysterically funny at points and the cast bash the hell out of the story while still maintaining genuine warmth towards Who in general.  They honestly seem as bemused as the rest of us with the story and it's a real blast to listen to.

DVD Features:
Audio Commentary
DVD ROM Features
Deleted Scenes
Featurette
Interviews
Outtakes
Photo gallery
Production Notes


The special features are, as always, awesome!


Recommend this product? No


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