The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Serial Review: The Time Warrior (Season 11)

“The Time Warrior”
Written by Robert Holmes, dir. by Alan Bromly
Featuring the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and a Sontaran

Rating: D

In episode #008 of the Raggedy Podcast, we pretty much all agreed that his story was pretty much garbage. Thinking about it more in the weeks since seeing and reviewing hasn’t really done much for it in my memory, but it’s been long enough that I feel like I can do a formal written review.

The problems of the serial basically boil down to two major problems as I see them: absolutely awful direction, and a supporting cast that perpetually makes me cringe. There are few performances in Doctor Who I was more irritated by than those of pretty much every single medieval character in the story. Jon Pertwee is wonderful as always, and Elisabeth Sladen is very strong in her debut as Sarah Jane Smith, but the only one-time character that was well acted at all was the Sontaran.

As far as the direction, I feel like this story is a perfect example of things that you should never do as a director. Awkward zooms here, terrible long shots for action sequences, this serial has it all in terms of bad camera decisions. He probably didn’t help much in terms of the hammy performances from his supporting cast, either.

I know there are a lot of people who love Robert Holmes, and this story is certainly notable for being the first appearance of the Sontarans as well as Sarah Jane, but beyond that I think it is really devoid of value. The plot has no gravity, the actors have no acting ability, and the director can’t direct. That makes this one a failure, in my book.

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3 thoughts on “Serial Review: The Time Warrior (Season 11)

  1. DailyPOP won’t like this review, he loves this story.

    I agree with you that it has problems with the acting and direction, but the script is so enjoyable. The relationship between Linx and Irongron is so wonderfully portrayed, not to mention Irongron’s relationship with his henchman Bloodaxe. This is one the Pertwee stories I like best.

    It makes a change to see somebody other than me running down a Pertwee story/ famous monster story.

    I suspect that if you don’t like this story, you are probably going to hate a good deal of the Graham Williams era stories.

  2. Yeah, I still can’t see your problems with this one, but given that you are praising Torchwood (a program with atrocious writing, cardboard characters and horrible direction) I throw my hands up here.

    The plot is actually inspired (a star-spawned warrior bringing scientists into the past) and gives a different perspective on the Doctor through Sarah Jane’s eyes (he could easily be the cause of the problems rather than the hero). As Matthew points out, the supporting characters are also very entertaining. I dunno, man. I’m just not feeling this review.

    • I think the points you mention are the strongest parts about it. I feel like in the hands of a better director, and with some decent casting, it might have been good. I like the idea of this story more than the actualization of what is on screen.

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