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Re-Evaluating Davison's stories, Frontios, Planet of Fire, Awakening notes
Okay I'd have to say, now that I'm almost done with the Davison era and ready to enter into the worst era, I'd have to re look at what I think about most of the stories of Davison's era. Perhaps Rob Wesmen was correct: he used to say that Davison didn't have any bad stories (of course that was when we were in the middle of that TRIAL season that he said that or possibly the early McCoy first season, so compared to those "errors" any story from any other era of DW looks GREAT) but I would now have to tend to agree with him and that idea.
I shall always have a fondness for the stories from CASTROVALVA to EARTHSHOCK and conversely always have some kind of loathing for the stories afterward. Looking at TIME-FLIGHT now, I don't think it was as bad as I used to think. I sort of feel that way about many of his other stories now that I've reseen them. MAWYDRYN UNDEAD and TERMINUS are not terrible. ARC OF INFINITY has two poor episodes, ep2 and3, but the other two are passable. KING'S DEMONS as I've always said, has a fair ep1, great set up but a rather poor ep2. FIVE DOCTORS I've always loved for some reason (given in the review) and always will. It was a well done celebration and gave a glimpse of other DW eras and other Doctors and the feel that those eras had. WARRIORS OF THE DEEP is a good story, with flaws.
I probably wn't be returning to THE AWAKENING (as much as I like it), FRONTIOS (as much as I don't know what to think of it, good and bad), or PLANET OF FIRE (a so-so episode with several yuck moments and several good ones) because I've done those fairly recently. I will say that Sarah Sutton's acting has gone way down in my opinion of her. I used to think she was so good, well, that's changed. She, was, in fact, the poorest actor of the Davison companions with Nicola Bryant running a close second for she's pretty grating in PLANET OF FIRE. I may feel differently once her time on the show ends but that time is so riddled with horrible acting, over the top performances, poor script, nasty tones, barely listen-to-able dialog, and other flaws and faults, that's it is difficult to like almost anything that goes on during that entire season, I may not be fair to her. Mark Strickson can act but sometimes...he goes overboard as when yelling at Tegan ("Ther'es nothing we can do! He's dead!" and "Tegan get away while you can") and he's not that great either but way above Sutton and Bryant.
Davison, as well as the companions, seemed to start out weak and get better as they went along. I imagine behind the scenes if Davison liked that actor or actress he would work to make them work on screen. Sutton never really got better as it went along, she was pretty much hit or miss with some terrible scenes in almost every story of Davison's era and some good ones, too. I used to miss her when she left but in a way her leaving was one of the best things, for I enjoyed the stories after she left more because...well, she wasn't in them ruining it with bad acting. Sorry, Sarah, I love to look at you but ...tha'ts how I feel currently after having just watched all of Sutton's stories.
As for the Doctor himself, he still made critical errors in judgement all throughout. Each is described in the reviews but the recent one, WARRIORS OF THE DEEP, has him not warn the crew members about not touching the Myrka but he does warn Turlough...just before a crewman is killed that way. This is just one of his many failings. True, almost all the other Doctors seem to be responsible for deaths in this manner (THE WAR MACHINES maybe, definitely TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN, SEEDS OF DOOM, possibly THE DEAMONS, THE CLAWS OF AXON) but Davison's Doctor seems most unsure of himself and most inept. It doesn't really spoil the show but it came close a times.