Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Black Archive: Image of the Fendahl

Simon Bucher-Jones The Black Archive: Image of the Fendahl (2016)
I blagged a copy of this because Image of the Fendahl was great, and because Simon Bucher-Jones could publish a collection of notes left out for the milkman, and at absolute worst, it would still be worth a look.

Also, I wanted to have a look at these Black Archive books and see what it was all about. Image isn't quite so academic as reviews of the range had led me to believe, in so much as that it isn't a thesis which sets out to demonstrate the viability or otherwise of some point; but it is a very thorough dissection of not only an old TV show, but the genre which it could be said to inhabit, even though Simon doesn't actually mention what was at the top of the hit parade for the duration of those weeks. In fact, better still is that Image, as a critique, is itself an example of what made Doctor Who so great during the era under discussion, specifically that its subject serves as springboard to more expansive discussion, taking the viewer - or reader in this case - off to realms beyond self-referential reinforcement of its own mythology; so what we have is a fascinating discourse somehow incorporating evolution, the formation of the solar system, the history of our understanding of the formation of the solar system, and comparisons of gothic and post-gothic horror - subjects which would otherwise have no business hanging around with one another, yet which become beautifully entwined within this genuinely fascinating and even amusing train of thought. In other words, it makes you think innit, which is after all what Doctor Who was always supposed to do.

My view of Who might be described as somewhat cynical - although I prefer the term perceptive, personally - so it takes a lot to get past my defences, and certainly more than some idiot jumping up and down yelling Daleks!; so, possibly ironically, this one has me eyeing up my old copy of the Target Image of the Fendahl thinking maybe I'll give it a look for the first time in three decades.

Also, extra points for mentioning Robert Moore Williams.

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