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Reviewed by Ross Ruediger
ime-Flight” is a “Doctor Who” story I hadn’t seen since I was a teen, so I looked forward to checking it out all these years later. Unfortunately, it turns out that it actually has one of the worst reputations of the entire Peter Davison era.
Surely it couldn’t be that bad, right? Episode One seems promising enough, with the story picking up right where “Earthshock” (also available on R1 DVD) left off: the Doctor (Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) deal with the death of Adric. After some talk of rewriting the timeline in order to save his life (to which the Doctor staunchly objects), the trio find themselves at Heathrow Airport and involved in the case of a disappearing Concorde. The filmed location work done at Heathrow and the access to a real Concorde gives the episode a classy enough vibe. Before long, however, the TARDIS crew find themselves in prehistoric Earth, where the mysterious, Asian-garbed Kalid (Leon Ny Taiy) is hijacking planes from the future and casting spells over their passengers and crews, which result in them doing manual labor.
Sounds silly, right? It gets worse. With each passing episode, the plot devolves into incomprehensible nonsense, and the production values are cheap even by ‘80s “Who” standards -- you’d almost think the actors were playing on an old “Land of the Lost” set. (Actually, that’s unfair, their sets were better.). Kalid’s Plasmaton creatures are also laughably ineffective. The revelation of Kalid’s true identity at the end of the second episode is a mild highlight for anyone unfamiliar with “Time-Flight,” but it’s not nearly enough to save this wonky tale. Even the ending is strange: with the TARDIS crew back at Heathrow and the situation resolved, the Doctor basically ditches Tegan on Earth in lieu of having to deal with answering any questions from the authorities.
Time hasn’t been good to “Time-Flight.” Its reputation as probably the weakest entry of Davison’s tenure is deserved.
Special Features: A commentary track with Davison, Fielding, Sutton and script editor Eric Saward is the highlight here, mostly because all parties involved realize how weak the proceedings are and never hesitate to confirm as much. Fielding in particular has been vocal about the weaknesses of “Doctor Who” for years, and here she’s given a platform to bitch and moan. To be fair, she’s a sharp lady who’s clearly knowledgeable about film and TV, and she rarely says anything that can be argued. “Mouth on Legs” is an interview with Fielding, in case you didn’t get enough of her on the commentary. There are a few deleted scenes that are expectedly unmemorable, as well as an uneventful outtake reel. “Jurassic Larks” is behind-the-scenes footage that’s really an extension of the outtake reel, and there’s also an interview with writer Peter Grimwade, a photo gallery, some DVD-ROM content for hardcore fans, and a trailer for the upcoming release of “The Time Warrior,” which will hit DVD on April 1, 2008.