So I finally saw "Survival," the final story of the original Doctor Who series the other night. Can we all just agree that not only was it a terrible send off for the show, but possibly one of the worst Who stories ever?
I don't think I've been ruined by the better-quality scripts and high(er) production values of the new series - I still enjoy the old show quite a bit, especially the Pertwee era, which I never cared much for as a kid - but this was pretty hard to take. I realize that budgets dwindled in the last few seasons, often leaving them with less money to pull off more effects (which is why you never saw the TARDIS interior that last year, among other things), but it just looked bad. Like a high school production of "Cats" running around in a quarry for a few hours. And for the kitlings, the carrion-eating housecat-looking things... would it have killed them to just use a real cat in the close-ups rather than that godawful puppet?
And that script. Endless prattle from secondary characters. Lots of the 7th Doctor muttering to himself, not to mention all that standing there and yelling at people to do and/or not do things, rather than actually doing anything himself. The Master sitting in a tent, standing by some ruins, maybe picking up the occasional rock, and generally acting un-Mastery. And of course, that conclusion, where the story doesn't so much end as just sort of stop. If all it took to end all this was having 7 shout a bit, I'm thinking he could have done that back in Episode 1 and saved us all a lot of bother.
And you know, it's really too bad, because there were some good ideas here and there. It was necessary to bring Ace home to Perivale to see how her character arc through the events of "Ghost Light" and "Curse of the Fenric" (not to mention all of her experiences since ending up on Iceworld back before we meet her in "Dragonfire") has changed her from bratty punk to a more mature woman. It was important to finally have the Master clash with 7 onscreen, since his absence was very noticeable through those previous 2 seasons (and the Rani was always a poor substitute). Lastly, for such a long-running, well-remembered show, it was important to give it a good send-off. That closing line of the Doctor's is great, but that's about it.
The original Doctor Who always had a lot of shortcomings you had to overlook and/or embrace in order to really enjoy it. At it's best, it was charming, and the good bits were more than enough to carry you through the rough patches. At it's worst, well... bad Who is incredibly tough to take. And "Survival" is very, very bad Who.