Streaming Who: The Edge of Destruction

Been a while since I’ve gone back to see what Classic Who various streaming organizations have available. Turns out that in my absence they’ve added a ton! Not only from the well known Doctors either. There’s a bunch from across the board.

With the 50th now behind us, and the 11th having said goodbye, and a new Doctor almost a year away, there’s no better time to go back into the vault. So, my short-lived Streaming Who series is back with Time Lord-y vengeance!

Instead of going back to An Unearthly Child (a story I’ve already reviewed – minus the cavemen stuff), or The Daleks, I thought I’d kick things up again with a short serial that not many people discuss, but is still highly regarded from the core Whovians.

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After barely surviving their first encounter with the deadly Daleks on the planet Skaro, The Doctor attempts to return his unwanted guests in the Tardis to their home. Unfortunately, a button got stuck. What follows is a claustrophobic paranoid thriller set in the confines of a space and time machine.

The Edge of Destruction is a fun little two-parter. At this early stage of production everyone involved was desperately straggling to keep their heads above water. They wanted to tell big stories, explore the far reaches of reality, and entertain. Not an easy task given their budgetary limitations. This serial goes to prove that you can do good science-fiction without the big fx and bug-eyed monsters. Locking people in a semiconscious machine plummeting to the beginning of time and watching things play out is the perfect mechanism for sci-fi drama. As awesome as it is to see The Doctor face down fleets of alien space crafts to save the universe, watching him cope with confusion, paranoia and old age is just as riveting.

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Reluctant companions go from enemies to friends in the coarse of the story. Secrets come out. Egos are tested. Chairs are murdered. Susan cries an awful lot. Time comes very close to ending. A Doctor Who pot boiler. An effective one at that. Everything moves at a quick pace for the time, and the production takes full advantage of their set. I couldn’t help but notice William Hartnell’s penchant for flubbing his lines, but they used it to their advantage by making him more absent minded than usual.

There is a lot here that reminds me of my other favorite show (one of them anyway) The Twilight Zone. Science as a device to get into the guts of what makes people who they are and testing their limits. That is what good science-fiction has always been about. The rest, as they say, is gravy.

I watched it on Hulu+. Not sure if it’s on Netflix or anywhere else. But give it a watch when you find it.

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