Enjoyed this in a way that I did not think I would. I like the 6 part approach - I can see why the author went for that, it makes for short, sharp episodes which keeps the pace going. It is great to see William Russell back - albeit playing a different role - and he works well with Davison/Sutton here.
It's ok - I imagine the game of Naxi to be a more dangerous form of ice hockey/lacrosse? Not really sure... Also like the key villain here and the fact that most of the cast are actors from The Bill!
I read somewhere that this was initially pitched as a Sixth Doctor story. I think the 5th Doctor is better - more sporting and better in the more violent setting. I wonder if the author tried a Vengeance on Varos type approach with this... It's a good attempt at a sport-satire, but not sure it hits the mark if I'm honest.
'Well now I know you're mad. I just wanted to make sure."
I'm going to have to assume this story predates SEO being a thing, because--wow--that is one heckuva generic title. And definitely not one that inspires confidence, as this is a premise (SF show where people are forced to compete in a weird game) that's been done so, so, so many times before. And seldom well. I think pretty much every bug SF show has a, "game," episode, right?
The whole "war-as-sport" thing also feels a bit odd. Like it's trying to apply to IRL behavior, like folks who get far too invested in football games. Which, yeah, is silly--but making the sport lethal just makes that relationship feel utterly absurd.
Anyway, despite its shortcomings, I found this to be a very fun story. Nyssa Never really did. much for me when I watched Classic, but I'm quite enjoying ether on audio. More than I expected. I don't know if it's because her characterization here is an improvement, or if because I find audio-Peri so intolerable that Every other 5th Doctor Companion becomes much more appealing by comparison. Probably a bit of both. I definitely think Sutton has some solid chemistry with Davison, and their relationship really helps sell the drama.
So: Carlisle. He's a really fun character, huh? Basically a Proto-River Song: an anachronistic relationship with the Doctor predicated on the two constantly running into each other. The twist of him being the Doctor's "best friend" was really fun, too, though to be honest my first thought was that Carlisle was the first Doctor, with some memory shenanigans going on. I guess that's all down to William Russel's performance, I suppose. Especially early on, it felt like he was playing Carlisle kind of Doctor-ish. I wonder, is that association was intentional or accidental?
And while that might have also been a fun story, i kind if love the direction they took it. I absolutely think each incarnation of the Doctor should have just one "best friend," though in retrospect I guess there aren't many. The 2nd Doctor and Jaime, of course; the 3rd Doctor and the Brigadier (maybe?); the 6th Doctor and Evelyn; the 10th Doctor and Donna. That's about it. I'd love to see Carlisle again (though I suspect this is his only appearance) if only because Davison's Doctor could really use a good friend.
It figures that the 5th Doctor's BFF would die before they even became friends. Poor guy just can't catch a break, huh?
There are a bunch of cool ideas in this story, but... I dunno. It just doesn't quite work for me, even beyond the absurdity of the game. This Morian fellow is just... a deeply boring villain. The script even lampshades how unimaginative/dull he is--and yet he's set up as a recurring villain. Did anyone finish this story and think, "Wow, I can't wait to see Morian again," hm?
And then there's (evidently) a romantic subplot with Nyssa so Thread Are that I didn't even notice it was happening until she refused the dude's proposal. Came out of nowhere.
Quote of the story: "We have all the time in the world."
Okay, yeah--I know it's a cliche. But I still really like it. It's a great line to end the story on, both Davison and Sutton play that final scene very well--with a kind of subdued, understated melancholy,
The Game definitely feels like one of those stories that could've been one of my favorites with just one or two more editing/revision passes to tighten everything up. And maybe some less campy music. At it stands, it's a solid if unremarkable tale, with Carlisle really being the best part. Like I said earlier, I'm not going to hold my breath, but I would like to see him again.
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