Doctor Who and the War Games: 04/24/09
Doctor Who and the War Games is a novelization of the last ten episode serial of "The War Games"(1969) to be filmed in black and white and the last regular appearance of the second Doctor. The novel takes about 250 minutes worth of story and boils it down to 143 pages. What's left is a quick but thought provoking look at war while providing some glimpses at the truth behind the Doctor.
The Doctor and his two companions, Jaime and Zoe land in what appears to be the middle of a WWI battle field. They hook up with a volunteer ambulance driver and quickly begin to realize that the battle field contains more than just one war. Between being captured, interrogated, and escaping they manage to put together a map of the different "time zones" where the different historical battles are taking place.
The reason behind this elaborate war game and the Doctor's reaction to it continues to have repercussions in the series. The Doctor's reactions to the War Lord and to the planned creation of a super army for some future invasion bring to mind the ninth Doctor's anger. His love for Earth and humanity and his flippant remark about stealing the TARDIS sounds more like sometimes goofy exuberance of the tenth Doctor.
The War Games is also the last appearance of the second Doctor (except for future multiple doctor episodes). His forced regeneration and exile on earth (see Spearhead from Space) makes me wonder if tenth doctor will have a similar fate. We know a regeneration is coming later this year since Tennant has bowed out of the show. The tenth Doctor as portrayed by Tennant has frequently reminded me of the second and third doctors so it wouldn't surprise me if the upcoming regeneration harkens back to The War Games.
books | scifi | Doctor Who | Malcolm Hulke | 1979
The short length of the novel came from the policy of the publishing company for Dr Who novelizations. They were limited to 126 pages at the time this was published.
I read this right after I saw the War Games for the first time and found it disappointing. It felt like a Cliff's Notes version of the story. The story is set for DVD release later this year.
If you like the new series of Dr Who, I recommend Prisoner of the Daleks, a solo outing for the Tenth Doctor as played by Tennant on TV. Anytime you get this Doctor with the dreaded Daleks is a must for me.
Thanks for the War Games review! I read the book and plan to get the video quite soon.