Any Advanced Form of Magic is Indistinguishable from Technology
Back in the mid-80's DC comics broke new ground in the comic book industry. launching several new limited-run event series with much more complex and mature themes than were previously common. Some of those titles, like Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, are still considered classics and landmarks of the art form. Prior to those two, the very first "maxi-series", was a twelve issue story by Mike Barr and Brian Bolland called Camelot 3000. I bought every issue of that thing as they came out and ate it up. The premise was an alien invasion all wrapped up in Arthurian legend, with all of the key characters reborn again a futuristic backdrop. These days the series is largely forgotten (probably deservedly so), but I thought of it again this morning as I watched the first half of Battlefield.
So let's talk about that.
Battlefield - Parts 1 & 2
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The final season of Classic Who kicks off with a story that includes the final appearance of Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Steward in Doctor Who proper (although he did appear in one episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures in 2009). The story also marks the first appearance of UNIT in the series since The Seeds of Doom twelve years earlier. It also notably includes actress Jean Marsh playing the primary villain. She was last seen on the show as Sara Kingdom all the way back in 1965. Also noteworthy in this story is the fact that the Doctor's clothing has changed in this final season to a much darker tone to match his darker character.
As for the story itself, it revolves around a group of Arthurian-era knights appearing in (then) modern day England answering "Excalibur's call". The majority of the knights are led by Mordred and his evil mother Morgaine, and they face off against UNIT troops who happen to be in the area and also happen to be transporting a nuclear warhead. The Brig has long ago retired, but is called back to active duty because of the circumstances and winds up butting heads with the new Brigadier who happens to be a black woman.
I have to say, I am not really loving it so far. Similar to Silver Nemesis it feels like a script that could feature any Doctor and does not particularly cater to the weirdness that pervades most Seventh Doctor stories. It is certainly fabulous to have Nic Courtney back onscreen as the Brig, and it's fun to have a big UNIT story for the first time in forever, but beyond that it is not really grabbing me so far. Sure, it's a damn sight better than Time and the Rani, but then so is everything else in the Seventh Doctor era. I'd go so far as to say that, of the nine Seventh Doctor stories I have watched so far, it is my eighth favorite.
There is a very good scene, though, in the second episode in which the Brigadier comes face to face with Morgaine and a group of her knights in a graveyard. It culminates with Morgaine stating to the Brig, "I wish you to know that I bear you no malice. But when we meet again, I shall kill you." This is a particularly clever bit of dialog in that both Jean Marsh and Nicholas Courtney played different characters back in The Daleks Master Plan, and in fact Marsh's Sara Kingdom did indeed kill Courtney's Bret Vyon.
Yeah, I'm that big of a Doctor Who nerd.
Episode(s): Battlefield - Parts 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,296 today, 2,481,150 total
Distance Walked: 3.79 miles today, 1,286.44 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 26 today, 149 total
Weight: 250.06 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.24 lbs