Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death

doctor_who_diamond_logoHome Video Title — Doctor Who: The Curse of Fatal Death

Year: 1999

Synopsis: The Master attempts a modified diabolical plan to destroy the Doctor for good, but the wind quickly breaks, leading to catastrophic problems for both.

• A fun and watchable parody.
• Builds a production continuity for the eventual Revived Era.
• The Doctors, particularly Rowan Atkinson, are more than believable as a Doctor, as Jonathan Pryce is almost too perfect as the only slightly caricatured Master.
• Written by Steven Moffat, who would write for and subsequently run the revived Doctor Who for years.
• Certainly related to the special’s writer, the overall plot has many elements seen later, particularly the Doctor wanting to retire, the Master wanting to turn over a new leaf, the Doctor circumventing his mortality, and the Thirteenth Doctor being a woman. With Moffat retired from the show now, I doubt the true Thirteenth Doctor will muse about her sonic screwdriver having “three” settings, however.

• The regular fart jokes might become tiresome for some viewers.
• Largely predictable story.
• As would be the case for Moffat’s official episodes, the story can feel almost too direct and snarky at times.
• One might be distracted by how none of these non-cannon Doctors ever became one officially.
• Considering the show almost never did take itself that seriously, the parodic plot seems almost an unnecessary comedic layer.

Of the Wilderness Years, this was perhaps the most interesting entry. It almost felt more like a real Who story than the 1996 TV film, and just barely rises above the nostalgia via its parodic nature. It simply holds itself together with a new kind of narrative glue that would later be seen in the 2005 rebirth. Like in Dimensions in Time (1993), everyone is having almost too much fun in their roles. Everything feels right, even though it is a parody. Intentionally or not, the whole production became a bizarre kind of teaser for what was to come.

Doctor Who Franchise

Link to Full Special


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