chicafrom3: photo of the TARDIS (tv: dw: barbara/ian)
I've been reading through the Doctor Who Target novelizations in broadcast order, and I've just finished The Chase, Barbara and Ian's last adventure, which seems like a good place to pause for some thoughts.

I have long maintained that Barbara Wright is the companion most responsible for inspiring the Doctor's character growth, and frankly the Target novelizations have so far done nothing to suggest I'm wrong about that. Sure, Ian and Susan and Vicki are also partially responsible for dragging him kicking and screaming into empathy and compassion, but let's be honest here: If Barbara wasn't the first alien he ever kidnapped he might never have changed.

So far, as a general rule, the novelizations are a solid way to get a Who fix. Some of them moreso than others (choices were made with novelization of The Daleks! they are not choices I agree with), but overall most of the authors clearly love and appreciate early Who. They're not really a replacement for the actual episodes, and several of them diverge from their screen counterparts in significant ways (literally I could go on and on and on about how much I disagree with the choices made for The Daleks), but they try.

And because of the difference in format, the novelizations get to spend a lot more time on things like inner monologue and character motivation and side characters... not to mention the equivalent of an unlimited special effects budget...

Not everything works. Leaving aside The Daleks, there's a subplot added to The Rescue that really didn't work for me and didn't seem to add anything to the story, and some extremely odd decisions were made with The Zarbi, the novelization of The Web Planet (although in the case it can perhaps be excused because it was only the second book written, and they clearly hadn't quite figured out how they wanted to handle things). But for the most part, it's an enjoyable set of books, and while it's too early in the run to make any claims about the series as a whole I'm glad I've decided to do this.

Onward, with Vicki and Steven!