Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Gryffen: "This couldn't possibly be any worse!"

Well, 'nuff said! :)

This laid-back and low-scoring series has already proved that it doesn't know how to make us care about the characters, nor script a robot dog, or even how to record actors speaking, so in this episode they just have to have a go at handling time-travel.

And, as seems to be the form in K9, there isn't anything in here that hasn't been done in loads of other TV shows before, only better.

Well, perhaps that should read not quite so badly. In K9's seeking to elevate itself to the level of popular science fiction, as usual they've simply gone and copied what's been done before, without any awareness of its inherent lack of value.

Such bad luck, but I do have to admire them for trying.

So, well-worn time-travel fails that get dutifully re-trotted out here include:

1. The changing of history with no attention to how the characters can be aware that it has changed.

2. A lack of awareness of events in the past's ripple effect. (eg. firing lasers in a police station really ought to have ballooning consequences)

3. Travelling in time but not space, yet arriving on the same spot on Earth, rather than left behind in its orbit. This might sound like a picky one, except that they did take this on board some weeks back in The Bounty Hunter.

4. The unexplained - or even noticed - coincidence of arriving in the exact space, time and historical events that you have just been talking about.

5. The unexplained coincidence of encountering an acquaintance's ancestor who looks just like them at their current age. (Darius / William)

6. The unexplained coincidence of encountering another acquaintance's ancestor who looks just like them at their current age again. (Thorne / Barker)

7. No-one in the past batting an eyelid at future technology, in this case an intelligent flying robot dog with a laser beam coming out of its nose.

8. Depending upon a bolt of lightening as a power source.

9. The inclusion of what we here in America refer to as the Russian cold war.

10. Someone being revealed to be a Ruskie spy, and from that moment on their proficiency in spoken English regressing back to when they still had a thick Russian accent.

11. A character in the present somehow fading in and out of existence depending upon events that, for them, have always taken place in their distant past.

Well, I think I'm about done with the clichéd errors, so I guess it must be time to start on this episode's unique ones.

1. Gryffen: "If you don't save Darius' grandfather, Darius will disappear forever. He won't exist."
Starkey: "His great grandfather?"

Bizarrely, Starkey is the one who is correct.

2. To accompany the above warning, Gryffen also transmits some footage into the past of Darius fading out of existence. Sure, I can accept that he must have fortuitously had a camera set up and running in his lab when this unexpectedly happened, but… on the footage Gryffen isn't there???

3. When the Police force eventually move out of their offices, they carelessly leave a load of their files behind. Well, in accordance with so many cop shows, I guess they really don't like paperwork. (EDIT: This seemed less unlikely to me after I had watched the later episode The Last Precinct)

4. The headlines on the Daily Standard on November 23rd 1963, which feature JFK's assassination bumped into second place! Yep, even this popular time-travel event gets namechecked in this one.

5. It's snowing at the front of Darius' cab, but not the back.

6. Jorjie makes a snarky remark about recognising Thorne's ancestor. "Does he remind you of anyone?" Except that she's never met Thorne.

Here's where I segue into the episode's praise points however. The real reason for Jorjie's recognition of Thorne senior is because he is unashamedly reading Drake's lines, after his sudden being written-out off-camera last episode. Part of me wishes that Drake had been retained or got back for this episode, because finding his villainous ancestor in authority would carried a lot more punch, but then on the other hand… well, you know, then he would have been Drake.

Despite being set in London in 1963, there are no Police Boxes to be seen anywhere, but then, since the characters never travel more than a few yards away from the Police Station, there shouldn't really be any in the vicinity.

Most positively, this is yet another episode continuing the show's new lease of life started half way through this series. There is quite a lot of story packed in here, and a lot of imagination gone into ways to pump out yet another episode using the same regular set and most of the cast.

For all its faults - and K9 has a dimensionally transcedental starship of them - this is a show that tries, and is constantly improving, even if they don't seem to have much emotional investment in the outcome.

In terms of being able to root for it, those good intentions really do make it soar over the smugness and apathy of its sister show The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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