Gallifrey is an interesting series, starring Lalla Ward as Romana II, Louise Jameson as Leela and John Leeson as K9. A political drama on Gallifrey seems like it would be either dreadful (Timelords in the classic series from what I’ve seen are yawn-inducing) or a fascinating deep dive into an often neglected aspect of the show. I’ve not seen very much Romana and no Leela at all so this is maybe an odd series to choose but it’s interested me for a while (and I bought them on sale a while ago so better late than never)! So let’s dive into series 1.
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1.1 – Weapon of Choice
I feel a bit stupid because there was quite a lot of stuff here that I was very confused about. Maybe it’s due to my unfamiliarity with classic who Gallifrey but some of this was almost incomprehensible to me, there was a lot that I felt like I was missing, like who characters were and their relationships. Of course, I know Romana and Leela, but there’s Narvin and Braxiatel and Torvald and Leela’s timelord husband who may or may not be dead/missing… wew. Despite this though, I did enjoy Weapon of Choice; the planet of Gryben is a fun concept, a planet that beginner time travelling races are rerouted to, and I do rather like Romana, so overall it’s decent!
1.2 – Square One
Square One sees Leela and K9 sent to a summit about how time travel should be regulated throughout the universe, and there’s a time loop element to this one. I generally really like time loops and find them a lot of fun, but this one was pretty disappointing, I just found it a bit boring. Lalla Ward gives as arresting a performance as Romana as always and I am intrigued about the general status quo of the world here, but the plot and character interactions aren’t quite doing it for me. I wonder if I will actually enjoy this series.
1.3 – The Inquiry
Yay, I really liked this one! The Inquiry deals with the fallout of Weapon of Choice and Square One, with Romana on trial (although not for most of the story). The topic in question here is whether or not the ‘Timonic Fusion Device’ actually exists, since it’s rather difficult to make. The plot is quite complex but the basics were easy to follow. I’m also really beginning to like these characters now. It took me a couple episodes but Narvin and Braxiatel are really growing on me. I think this series suffers from being a bit too complex. There’s a lot to keep track of: various sub plots, character relationships, the main plot, but The Inquiry was very enjoyable for me!
1.4 – A Blind Eye
This was a weird one. I’m pretty sure I liked it, but this series as a whole leaves me unsure about what exactly I think of it, maybe I’m too small brain for it but it’s kind of confusing! A Blind Eye starts with Romana meeting Mr Arkadian on a train in 1939, with him asking Romana to let him do his business until midnight before she calls anyone from Gallifrey to investigate. Soon all the other characters start showing up, but why are they here? There are some big revelations here and an enjoyable plot that gets us there. The train setting is fun and there’s also some cool timey-wimey shenanigans. Guest star India Fisher shines as Charley Pollard’s (a companion of the 8th doctor) racist (!) sister Cecilia, and Lalla Ward gives a riotous performance as a completely fed-up Romana. A strong conclusion to Gallifrey’s mixed first series.
A mixed start to the series, but Gallifrey series 1 finished strong, and I am very intrigued as to what will happen next, especially with that big twist in A Blind Eye!