Saturday, 2 June 2018

Doctor Who Season 5 Serial 5: The Web of Fear [review]

Ok so I'm not adding anything of worth to my blog lately, sorry.
The last good thing I did was that small David Fincher retrospective, I know..

So basically I'm gonna start doing reviews of an episode of Doctor Who I watch once I'm done with it.
I watch the damn show enough to have these be coming out twice weekly, in theory, but obviously I won't be doing that (although maybe later in summer, who knows).

(Also these are never gonna be in chronological order, sorry)

So, The Web of Fear is a relatively new story to me, only being released on DVD in early 2014 (another thing to add to the list of good that year), but regardless it has become one of my all-time favourites of the era. Not to mention one of Troughton's best out of a line of great serials.

Even though we only have tele-snaps of the missing third episode (no introduction for poor Nicholas Courtney) to go by when judging it, it;s still apparent the whole serial is an incredible achievement.

Among these special things is how surprisingly mature and clever the writing is in this serial; we get lots of memorable banter from the Doctor and his companions, but also from the strong female supporting character and many of the soldiers. There are so many twists and turns in the story that are just as impressive and completely caught me off guard on first viewing.

The atmosphere is another aspect I think of as ahead of its time considering the amount of attention this would get back in the 60's normally.
All of the location filming never wastes an opportunity to flaunt that THEY'RE ACTUALLY REALLY FILMING IN THE REAL LONDON UNDERGROUND EVERYBODY LIKE THEY GOT PERMISSION TO DO THIS, which is quite nice as none of that is wasted (something which did happen a lot back then). Every scene set in the labyrinthine tunnels, be it genuine or just a set, is clouded in a tangible mood that had never come before it.

So as to not spoil the ending, we basically get an anti- climax that feels somehow satisfying in its subversion and general tone. Again, this isn't something that happened regularly, and it feels so much more special than another typical 'turn the enemy's plan against themselves and then everything's completely fine afterwards' ending; instead this feels different, bittersweet and even a bit nuanced.
Which could also be said for the whole story, really.

Here's just some things that I want to call out for just being great: the classic, Hammer- esque intro scene, the whole who- dunnit mystery in the last three episodes, Anne and Professor Travers and their character development and interactions, Jimmy Court and Alan Jonas nailing the cinematography, the fantastic use of public domain music and:
Victoria: Well, where are we?
The Doctor: I really don't know, Victoria. Shall we go out and have a look?
Victoria: Now?! Is it safe?
The Doctor: Oh, I shouldn't think so for a moment..




What kept me going through this review: Tyler, The Creator - (Scum Fuck) Flower Boy (2017), What So Not - Not All The Beautiful Things (2018), Joker - Marching Orders / Polka Dot (2018)

2 comments:

  1. Nice review! It makes me want to go back and watch Web again... which is surely the ultimate accolade for any good review :-)

    I didn't realise they did any location filming in the Underground - I thought it was ALL done on those fantastic sets. Shows what I know...

    Wouldn't it be great if the missing episode ever turned up? We can but dream...

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