How Many Romanas Are There?

Back for the new year where I will hopefully be writing much more often.

So, I’ve been working through some classic Doctor Who and I just finished The Androids of Tara (part 4 of the Key To Time series).  This is one of the better classic Who serials, probably because Douglas Adams was a part of the writing team at the time (he would take over as script editor on the last serial of this season) and he really knows how to get the best out of an absurd premise such as Doctor Who (I love the show, but let’s face facts).

Anyway, this series takes place on the planet Tara, a world with a feudal government, but very advanced technology (androids, electrified swords, crossbows that fire electric bolts).  The Doctor and Romana arrive and the Doctor decides to go fishing while Romana looks for the fourth segment of the Key To Time.  Romana easily acquires the fourth segment, but is discovered by a Count who finds her appearance very interesting.  Meanwhile, the Doctor is discovered by men working for the Prince.

It turns out that Romana looks exactly like the Princess of Tara and the Count thinks her to be an android replica.  He has plans to take the throne, and now Romana is a key part in those plans.  As Romana is kept prisoner, the Doctor is taken to the Prince where he is asked to help fix an android replica of the Prince for his coronation.  The Prince and his men suspect the Count’s treachery and want to be prepared.

What follows is a tale of political intrigue and a fantastic sword fight between the Doctor and the Count.  Tom Baker shows some impressive swordsmanship in this one.

Of course, this serial takes place during the Doctor’s time with K-9, so he is a big help to the Doctor and some occasional comic relief as well.  I like how, depending on the circumstances, the Doctor may or may not take K-9 with him, but he always winds up calling him with his whistle eventually.

Also, the way Romana changes outfits in every serial is kind of hilarious, yet interesting in that she always tries to fit in to her surroundings (she has an outfit specifically for Tara because it’s “what they’re wearing right now”).

This is classic Who at it’s best.  If you get a chance to see it, I definitely recommend it.  As of this writing (Jan. 2nd, 2012) it is streaming on Netflix.

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