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The latest of Sandifer's collected essays from his blog, published only last month so it's hot off the presses. There is a lot less to say about this less popular era of Doctor Who - his previous two books covered the seven Tom Baker years, this one book covers five years and two Doctors. There's not a lot of people who pick this as their favourite era of the show. But Sandifer does his best to find redemptive readings - "it is preferable, given the choice among reasonable arguments, to like a piece of art rather than to dislike it" or, even more succinctly, "Disliking it frankly requires more effort than liking it, and I just can’t be bothered" - and generally succeeds, showing, alongside the usual complaints, the achievements and merits of even John Nathan-Turner and Eric Saward (though not Ian Levine).

As usual, he finds interesting things to say about some of the least celebrated stories, even trying to make a positive case for Time-Flight. But towards the end of the book he has to shift format, because there are fewer TV episodes to talk about. There's a lot more about spinoff literature than I remember from previous volumes. The essay near the start on Cold Fusion is particularly good. An upside of the Fifth/Sixth Doctors is that we are now in Big Finish territory, and I wish Sandifer had covered more than one Fifth Doctor audio (though if you have to choose one, he gets it right with Spare Parts) - he does six Sixth Doctor audios (though again, in line with his redemptive policy, this is where Colin Baker shows his strengths).

There are also a number of essays that don't fit any of Sandifer's usual categories: one on Tegan, a long interview with Robert Shearman, several pieces about why and how Doctor Who was cancelled / put on hiatus, and a great one at the start about the Five Faces of Doctor Who season of repeats in 1981. All very good stuff, and I'll be seriously considering this as a potential Hugo nominee for Best Related Work next year.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
bookzombie
Oct. 14th, 2015 10:08 am (UTC)
I'll pick this up at some point - though most of the essays I'll have read online.

I am finding in his more recent episode reviews that obviously he and I have very different ideas of what makes 'good' Doctor Who: he adored Kill the Moon last year (which I cannot even bear to re-watch) and he hated the last episode (which I really rather enjoyed.)
nwhyte
Oct. 14th, 2015 11:57 am (UTC)
I'm completely with you on Kill the Moon. I'm just pretending it wasn't ever shown.

NB that plenty of people disagree with us, including also Paul Cornell.
bookzombie
Oct. 14th, 2015 12:32 pm (UTC)
My tolerance for 'stupid' in Doctor Who is fairly high (difficult to be a fan otherwise!), but 'Kill the Moon' just broke me.

Thinking about it, some of that is entirely on the context of the overall episode. For example, the 'firing the gold arrow at the spaceship' resolution to 'Robot of Sherwood' was completely idiotic, but because the rest of the episode is a comedy romp it didn't spoil the episode too much. But because 'KtM' is so very serious, the stupidness of it destroyed the whole episode.

It's also, incidentally, a terrible waste of Hermione Norris who really deserves a better episode to guest star in...
ravenskyewalker
Oct. 14th, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
My unpopular opinion: I'm just going to say that I didn't hate KtM, despite it being completely bonkers, and I'm very glad that DW gave me Hermione Norris as an astronaut, even though of course she needed more to work with.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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