Classic Dr. Who: The Spider Planet

The Spider Planet series has not aged well. On the other hand, Cloud Atlas also had a white guy playing an Asian guy, so…we haven’t progressed much in the 40 years since then?

It’s a shame there’s so much racism and sexism in these, as they’re the last John Pertwee series, with a storyline that carries over a bit into the Tom Baker era. Besides the casting, there’s the, spoiler, Tibetan who is really a timelord who has the answer to everything, the othering and appropriation of Buddhist meditation, and the familiar all-white future of humanity. Someone actually says something like, stay home, this is men’s work. Also, for some reason this episode made me really want to know why only women are wearing skirts in the future. It seems as likely that both men and women wear skirts, no one wears skirts or only men wear skirts, but somehow it’s always women. Why?

My favorite scene–gesture really–comes near the end when the doctor admits he didn’t think of taking the blue crystal from Metebelis 3 as stealing. He touches one finger to the corner of his mouth and his face is full of rueful acknowledgement of his faults and it’s just kind of amazing. He already knows this is the end of this incarnation and it’s there in his face.

Pertwee and Baker have always been my favorite doctors. Looking back it’s because they are older and their faces are full of that life experience, and expressive of it. And the clothes. Pertwee had panache: velvety jackets, frilly collars and cuffs, great capes. Baker had a schtick, always in the coat, hat and scarf. As a kid, the scarf delighted me. I’m looking forward to see what Peter Capaldi does with the doctor.

In other news, I will never be done writing my synopsis. And writing my synopsis might lead to re-writing my query letter and then I’ll never be done with that either. Sigh. I really would like to be writing a novel again.

By the time you read this, I’ll be on a writing retreat. Writing. I hope.


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