It’s said that if anyone were to find the Infinite they’d receive their heart’s desire.
And we’re back doing this again.
I’m not going to lie: I’m sort of regretting the decision to cover these individually, week-by-week, and if I didn’t feel obliged to stick with it for consistency’s sake then I wouldn’t be doing it at all. I want to be thought of as a serious writer! Can’t be spending my time writing thousands of words about a forgotten Doctor Who cartoon from ten years ago that no one really cares about.
But I do want to keep it all consistent, so… here I am.
The obvious reason why this was a stupid endeavour to undertake is that there’s not really a lot to say about The Infinite Quest without a significant amount of filler. I more or less got away with last week’s one by writing a fairly lengthy introductory segment, but you can’t quite manage that every week (for obvious reasons). And I also can’t make these a regular place of reminiscence, because I don’t actually have deeply ingrained memories of every single episode of The Infinite Quest. We’re probably still a few weeks away from that, and indeed a few weeks away from when… I left to do something else and forgot how I was going to end this sentence. Sorry.
Anyway. Let’s make a stab at treating this seriously.
What stands out most is how reflexive this is in terms of its shorthand – the Infinite is a concept that’s very easy to grasp, and it’s sketched out in terms of some very obvious, Hinchcliffe-era stuff, positing it as a relic of the dark times before the universe. It’s an easy shorthand, yes, but that’s because it’s an effective shorthand – within the confines of the medium and structure of the piece, this is the best way to contextualise the MacGuffin.
(Something that occurred to me though, there’s a little similarity between this and the Skasis paradigm from School Reunion, isn’t there? Both linked, oddly enough, by the voicework of Anthony Head. Though I suppose the power to rewrite reality is actually a little different from the “heart’s desire”, isn’t it? That again is quite an interesting level for the MacGuffin to play upon – there’s a concept here that is actually quite fascinating. Maybe when I’m showrunner I’ll bring the Infinite back for an episode. I’m sure no one would expect a reference to The Infinite Quest in Doctor Who, but then I don’t suppose anyone would expect thousands of words of analysis on it either.)
In that vein, then, you can understand it as a clear part of a larger (not grander as such) tradition – which makes sense, given the people behind it. Written by Alan Barnes and directed by Gary Russell, this is straight out of the minds of the Big Finish team who had developed over the past decade or so. They know Doctor Who well, and they know how to do Doctor Who by the numbers – which is essentially what this is.
That’s not to denigrate The Infinite Quest particularly. It’s fun. I enjoyed it, for the three minutes or so that I was watching it, and I do remember enjoying it during Totally Doctor Who. As strange ephemera goes, this is a perfectly serviceable piece of entertainment; indeed, it was probably elevated above that, built up as it was to be the crown jewel of a light entertainment show. I doubt it benefits in the same way in the YouTube home that I’m watching it on.
Hopefully, though, moving forward, it’s going to try and do something a little more interesting. I sense this might get worse than Primeval was when I tried to write about that.