Doctor Who: The Gunfighters
(4 episodes, s03e34-e37, 1966)
“Oh my dear Dodo, my dear Dodo. You know, you’re fast becoming a prey to every cliché-ridden convention in the American West.”
With the closing line, this serial openly nods to the satire that it just completed. It opens just like a 1950s Western, and plays off quite a few of the Western genre tropes, including using guns with unlimited ammunition (until the plot requires an empty revolver). Our heroes, two of which pull a complete Marty McFly with the costumes, are totally inept with guns. The Doctor, who fits right in with his normal costume, keeps getting handed guns in spite of his intense dislike of them.
“Doctor who?” Quite right. I loved the opening episode’s title, “A Holiday for the Doctor”, for its play on words around the mistaken identity that drove the plot.
On the downside, the serial’s special ballad was vastly overplayed. Even though it was supposed to compliment the narrative, it was annoying after the first half of the first episode.
Regardless, the parody was fun, and I feel that the intense dislike that this serial garners in fandom is a bit much. Episodes like this are nice breaks, but I don’t want them all the time.
Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”
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