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08 Mar 2011, 5:18 am

REVIEW: The Romans by Dennis Spooner

SERIAL
: M, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


While comedy, at the right times, makes an excellent contribution to Doctor Who, it is a matter of opinion as to how much should be done. Perhaps the first overtly comedic Doctor Who story, The Romans was written by Dennis Spooner, who wrote the less comedic The Reign of Terror. And while it has equally grim subject matter, The Romans is not quite as serious as the previous Spooner story...

The time travellers take advantage of a vacated villa to have a holiday. However, a month into it, and both the Doctor and new companion Vicki are getting restless, and head off to Rome, only to come across murdered lyre player Maximus Petullian, whom the Doctor is mistaken for. Meanwhile, a pair of slave traders raid the villa and capture the relaxing Ian and Barbara, and while Ian is sold to a slave galley, Barbara is bought for the household of the emperor Nero, whom the Doctor, as Petullian, is meant to play the lyre for. Can Ian and Barbara escape slavery and, in Barbara's case, the lust of Nero and the wrath of Nero's wife, Poppaea? Why was Maximus Petullian murdered? What was his true purpose coming to Rome? And can the Doctor, who can't play the lyre, fool the court of the demented emperor?

The story is fairly light on character compared to some previous stories, but there are still some interesting characters, such as Ian's fellow slave Delos and the devious Tavius. Nero's characterisation owes a lot, I am told, to the Nero of Quo Vadis, and it certainly is an entertaining interpretation of the character, who (especially as played by Derek Francis) can be a childish buffoon one moment, and a chilling psychopath the next.

The actors for most of these all give pretty good performances, and the regulars, including newcomer Maureen O'Brien's Vicki, get many a moment to shine, although Barbara, for the most part, tends to be chased up and down corridors by the amorous Nero for most of the third episode. Even the Doctor has a spectacular fight with a mute assassin, managing to humiliate him in a brilliant fight sequence, and manages to use his wits to solve the problem that he cannot play a lyre.

The storyline itself, as noted earlier, is more about incident than character, and plays out, especially in episode 3, like a farce, with Barbara missing the Doctor and Vicki by mere moments. For what it is worth, though, The Romans does show as much of the darker side of Roman society as would be permissable on children's TV at the time, with slave-trading, poisonings, assassinations, gladiatorial combat and, of course, Nero's mad plan to burn down Rome.

While the production design proper is quite well done, much of the effects work, especially for the great fire of Rome sequence at the end, is pretty naff. And while comedy in Doctor Who is not always a bad thing, here, it seems like they did too much, particularly at the expense of the story.

All in all, The Romans was moderately enjoyable. A not too bad historical, but one that certainly would not reach the heights that The Aztecs did. Decent enough, but a little too silly for its own good.



SCORE: 8/10


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09 Mar 2011, 12:14 am

Soon, The Web Planet...


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09 Mar 2011, 1:45 am

REVIEW: The Web Planet by Bill Strutton

SERIAL
: N, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


One day, I should really write something on the contribution Australians have made to Doctor Who. After all, it was an Australian, Ron Grainer, who composed the theme tune, an Australian, Anthony Coburn, who wrote the very first story, and one of the most famous companions, Tegan Jovanka, was an Australian, portrayed by one. And this story, one of the more famous of William Hartnell's era, was written by Australian Bill Strutton...

Forced down on the desolate planet Vortis, in a galaxy far away from Earth, the Doctor and his companions struggle to find out what entity would be so powerful as to be able to prevent the TARDIS from leaving. The time travellers are captured and separated, and this may be their downfall. For Vortis is a world soon to be at war. On one side, we have the giant ant-like Zarbi, animals controlled by the enigmatic Animus. And on the other, we have the butterfly-like Menoptra, who were forced off Vortis by the Animus. It is a brutal fight for survival, and winner takes all...

Let me start by getting the worst part of The Web Planet out of the way: by today's standards especially, it is primitive, with the effects work barely standing up to scrutiny. There are a number of blatant painted backdrops, and some of the sets are so cheesy, you have to wonder.

And yet, if you are willing to look past this, there is an ambitious, if somewhat simple, story. This is the first, and debatably the only time in Doctor Who where we have, besides the regulars, a cast of completely alien creatures. The Menoptra are strange, ethereal creatures with strange accents and movements, the most human of the vast but still quite alien, mispronouncing the names of Ian and Barbara as 'Heron' and 'Arbara'. The Zarbi are large enough to be at least menacing enough, even if their appearance is a little comical.

The script is rather lyrical, with much of the dialogue for the Menoptra and their grub-like cousins the Optera filled with dialogue with colourful metaphors, or else almost poetic lines, particularly from the Menoptra Prapillus. This helps bring home the alien nature of this world, and the scope of the ambition of the writing cannot be underestimated. One cannot help but wonder what could have been done with modern effects technology.

The regulars all have something to do, and all the guest cast have great performances, no doubt helped by choreographer Roslyn de Winter, who also played Vrestin. This story is a clear case of what happens when, unfortunately, the effects can't be up to speed with the rest of it. However, many of the costumes, particularly the Menoptra and the Zarbi, are done well.

The Web Planet may seem silly and cheesy by today's standards, but try to appreciate it for what it is, a brave attempt to do something different. A simple, but satisfying story and interesting concepts make for one of the better William Hartnell stories...


SCORE: 9/10

Next...The Space Museum, followed by The Chase. Here's the DVD trailer for both...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN9tMLpZi-k[/youtube]


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09 Mar 2011, 3:31 am

A lot of people bash the Web Planet, but I quite liked it. It was certainly unique in motion and acting, and the costumes were very good for the time and budget.

The Menoptera were my favourite creatures from the serial as well.

EDIT: Come to think of it, it'd be nice if we could see them again in the present run of the show.



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09 Mar 2011, 4:50 am

SpaceProg wrote:
A lot of people bash the Web Planet, but I quite liked it. It was certainly unique in motion and acting, and the costumes were very good for the time and budget.

The Menoptera were my favourite creatures from the serial as well.

EDIT: Come to think of it, it'd be nice if we could see them again in the present run of the show.


Agreed. They do make a return in the Missing Adventures novel Twilight of the Gods, and the Big Finish audio Return to the Web Planet. I was hoping that the Silurians would make a return, and they did. The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood was the best Silurian/Sea Devil story since the original. And I'd really like to see the Ice Warriors again...


REVIEW: The Space Museum by Glyn Jones

SERIAL
: Q, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: No.


Every now and again, Doctor Who will experiment with its format. Between the (now mostly lost) historical drama of The Crusades, and the adventure romp of The Chase, comes a story which is often overlooked, The Space Museum, one of the first stories to seriously start tinkering with the potential of time travel...

Landing on a war-torn planet, the Doctor and his companions find themselves experiencing strange effects. A broken glass reassembles itself, they leave no footprints on the ground, and they are invisible and intangible, unable to hear anything. Wandering through a space museum, they find themselves, as dead exhibits in cases. They have gotten a glimpse into their own personal futures, and when the problem they are experiencing with time rectifies itself, they are forced to act to prevent themselves from becoming exhibits. The declining empire of the Moroks has the world of Xeros under its thumb, and the key may be to help the last remaining Xerons fight off their invaders, but could it be that every decision they make leads them closer to a fate worse than death?

The first episode of The Space Museum is excellent, make no mistake about that. It's atmospheric, eerie, and we get a number of nasty shocks. And throughout the story, you get a feeling of dread, that the time travellers may be walking into their fate instead of running away from it, a feeling not helped when the Doctor is taken away to be prepared to become an exhibit.

The concept of the museum being run by a race of beings who are beginning to decline works to explain their incompetence in-story, but the Moroks, while physically imposing and certainly threatening enough at times, are not a very effective Doctor Who villainous race. And while this could have worked as a story elsewhere, it doesn't quite work here, where they should be much more of a threat to give the time travellers more concern. They are beaten mainly by the teenage remnants of a race they had mostly destroyed, led by Tor (played by Jeremy Bulloch, who was the original actor to play the body of Boba Fett) and helped by Vicki. It seems all too easy.

The acting seems to be mostly by the books, though with a guest cast of middle-aged men in weird hairdos and teens with strange eyebrows, its not certain how much better it could have been. The production design isn't exactly inspiring, and it was clear that this got the budget cuts in order to fund The Web Planet and The Chase.

With an excellent first episode and a below-average story for the rest of the story, The Space Museum, while not abysmal and still perfectly watchable, is disappointing. It's hard to reconcile the mystery of the first episode with a rather below-par formulaic story afterwards. Watch it anyway, but don't have too high expectations.


(Note, I have decided, in view of circumstances similar to An Unearthly Child, I have given separate ratings for the first episode, and the subsequent episodes of the serial)

First episode: 9/10

Episodes 2-4: 6.5/10


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10 Mar 2011, 3:37 am

Soon, The Chase...


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10 Mar 2011, 4:16 am

Hehe... Oooh, that one was a doozy.



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10 Mar 2011, 5:25 am

REVIEW: The Chase by Terry Nation

SERIAL
: R, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


This, I believe, was one of the first Dalek serials I ever watched. It was certainly the only complete black and white story with the Daleks that I watched. Having been entertained by The Chase, I come back to it years later, wondering what I would make of it now...

The Daleks, fed up with having their plans thwarted by the Doctor and his companions, have created their own time machine, and have sent it, crewed by a hit squad of Daleks, in pursuit of the TARDIS. Catching a glimpse of the Daleks' plans on a time-space visualiser, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki must flee across time and space. From the desert planet Aridius, to New York, to a dark, haunted house, to the Mary Celeste, the Doctor and his companions struggle to stay ahead of the Daleks. But can they ever find a battleground to make one last desperate stand?

Let us make something very very clear: this is a cheesy, campy storyline, despite the serious situation. There is not much plot beyond the Daleks chasing the Doctor and his compatriots through various eras of history, with more incident than actual character. There is comedy abound here, ranging from a stuttering, slow-witted Dalek, to the TARDIS crew and the Dalek's encounter with Alabama tourist Morton Dill. And there are goofs galore on the production side of the story, with a Dalek being clearly visible in a darkened tunnel at a point in the story where the Daleks haven't even arrived at that location yet, a BBC camera being visible in the Mechanus jungle at one point, and a body-double for William Hartnell being all too-visible all too often when playing a malevolent android double of the Doctor. So much for being 'indistinguishable from the original in every way'...

And yet...there is something about The Chase that gives it a certain charm that elevates it beyond the mediocrity it would have otherwise sunken into. Of all the Dalek serials surviving from the 1960s, this is the inferior, and yet, it is still an entertaining, if simplistic romp. Compared to the similar Terry Nation romp The Keys of Marinus, this story, while not done at all perfectly, is done in such a way that you can at least overlook most of the flaws in the story. And indeed, there are a number of atmospheric moments to the story, like a brief visit to a certain ship, or the haunted house interlude.

Doctor Who, done in a camp way, sounds like a bad idea. And indeed, it often is. But somehow, it doesn't detract from the entertainment value of this story, at least not terminally. And what's more, there's a fairly good ending, when Ian and Barbara depart for good. A little sudden, but still handled fairly well, and one wonders if the Doctor's reticence at letting them go was more due to him being used to their company than concern for their safety...

In any case, The Chase, while not the best of Doctor Who stories, is still entertaining enough that it does not get consigned to the bin of mediocrity. Enjoy it as comedy and light entertainment. It is a pity that the subject matter, of a Dalek hit squad, isn't treated a little more seriously, but, well, there you go.


SCORE: 8/10


Next is The Time Meddler. Here's the DVD trailer...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNPBvnWU0g0[/youtube]


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10 Mar 2011, 7:43 am

REVIEW: The Time Meddler by Dennis Spooner

SERIAL
: S, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: No.


Although the identity of the Doctor's people was not exactly given until the last story of the black and white era, The War Games, there was one Time Lord who appeared, other than the Doctor himself and Susan. The Monk was a rather ineffectual villain, rather sympathetic, but otherwise irresponsible. He acted against the Doctor on two occasions, the first being in the second season's finale, The Time Meddler...

After Ian and Barbara have left the TARDIS, the Doctor and Vicki find that they have a stowaway, the young astronaut Steven Taylor, who escaped the destruction of the Mechonoid city. However, Steven is sceptical that they are in a time machine, and while the Doctor is certain that they have landed in the 11th century, Saxon England, when Steven finds a modern wristwatch, he is still not convinced. It is 1066, however, and a nearby Saxon village lives in fear of Viking attack. But an even more dangerous threat lies in the nearby monastery, where a strange monk has taken up residence, using technology that should not be available for centuries to come. What does this meddling monk want, and how can he have technology beyond what should be available in 1066? The answer will shake the Doctor and his companions to their very cores...

The story proper is a little flat and simple, involving the threat of Viking invasion and the Battle of Hastings to take place shortly after the events of this story. The Viking characters, while decently acted, are not very well written, although the Saxons are a little better written and acted. Their interaction drives part of the story, including a brutal Viking attack that is strongly implied to end in the rape of one of the Saxon characters, though whether this was the intent of the writer is unknown. But this part of the story, while functional, doesn't quite keep up to standard.

The regulars have a decent enough time, with newcomer Steven Taylor, played by Peter Purves, getting a small amount of mileage at his scepticism of the TARDIS' abilities. However, he also comes across, at times, as being a little ham-handed, and Vicki, while capable, can be a bit shrill at times. William Hartnell as the Doctor is as good as ever, particularly his interactions with the Saxon Edith, and the Monk.

However, of particular note to this story is that it is the first full 'pseudohistorical' story, of which would become a mainstay in the series. In other words, one that, instead of being a story which has the Doctor and his companions as the only science fiction elements in the historical period, we have another alien party, in this case, the Monk, the very first Time Lord other than the Doctor and Susan to be introduced.

Unlike later adversaries like the War Chief, the Master, or the Rani, the Monk is a more amoral, albeit good-natured fellow who wishes to improve history. It is ironic to see the Doctor, who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, talk about stopping the Monk from changing history, but the Doctor knows how to preserve the status quo when travelling, whereas the Monk, played pretty well by Peter Butterworth, is, in the Doctor's own words, 'determined to have his own way'.

The Doctor and the Monk facing off against each other is done okay, but the story elements themselves are fairly average. That being said, the Monk is entertaining to watch, and the ending of the third episode, where Vicki and Steven discover that the Monk has his own TARDIS, must have hit home to many a viewer in 1965, causing many to no doubt yelp 'WTF?', or at least the 1960s equivalent.

The Time Meddler, while flawed and flat, is still a decent enough story to watch, and will no doubt be something to watch, even if only for the fact that they introduced the first Time Lord villain to the series. There was a lot of potential in this story, and while it could have been better, it still stands up okay.



SCORE: 8/10


Next review, The War Machines. Here's the DVD preview. Warning, this trailer has strobing effects, so people with epilepsy should not watch...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d91AfSeSvgA[/youtube]


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10 Mar 2011, 11:29 pm

REVIEW: The War Machines by Ian Stuart Black, from an idea by Kit Pedler

SERIAL
: BB, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


The last available William Hartnell story is also one of the more prescient. Not only is the prototype of the internet hinted at, but also the format many a Doctor Who story would take in later times, especially during the 70s and the new series...

Landing in 1966 London, the Doctor and Dodo investigate the recently finished Post Office Tower, from which the Doctor feels a tremendous force. Ensconced within an office in the Tower is Professor Brett's supercomputer, the Will Operating Thought ANalogue, or WOTAN. Meeting vivacious secretary Polly and righteous sailor Ben Jackson when Dodo goes missing, the Doctor soon realises that Dodo has fallen victim to the influence of WOTAN, who has become sentient, and has decided to take over the world. C-Day is when WOTAN will be connected to the most important computer networks in the world, but WOTAN is planning a hostile takeover, hypnotising Professor Brett, Dodo, and other people to do its bidding. And it is also building war machines, mobile computers who will be its weapons in a war against humanity...

Many parts of The War Machines were very ahead of its time. Nowadays, we wouldn't think twice about computer networks, and fiction about computers taking over the world in such networks is ubiquitous now. Also, for the first time, we have a Doctor Who story set in the present that the program was transmitted in, in this case, the Swinging Sixties. A small part of the story, where the Doctor's companions-to-be, Polly and Ben, meet each other, is in a nightclub called the Inferno, and certainly feels like a real setting.

Unfortunately, this is the only complete story, I think, that I have watched with Dorothea 'Dodo' Chaplet, and it's hard to gauge what she is like as a character. Jackie Lane's performance is good, but I am not sure that the character gets a good send-off, being hypnotised, and then telling the Doctor by a message that she wishes to stay at home.

Of the new characters presented here, very few of them are interesting (this may partly due to a good chunk of the cast being hypnotised before the end of the first episode), but Ben and Polly, the new companions, while not fully developed as much as they should be, are entertaining enough so that they sustain interest through the story. Ben, however, seems a little too much like a hysteric at times, though really, that would be anyone's sane reaction to being confronted with a homicidal mobile computer and hypnotised people bent on killing you.

While a decent enough story with much to go for it, there are many downsides, IMO. The War Machines have aged badly, and while imposing and looking like a computer from the 60s, they also have fire extinguishers for weapons. Okay, so, technically, did the Krotons, but the Krotons' weapons were explained as a sort of acidic mist. WTF is the principle of the War Machines' weapons, and how can they jam bullets and grenades unless WOTAN is a precursor of the Patriots from the Metal Gear games? The fact that they suffer from programming bugs will certainly give people dealing with computers a good chuckle, though.

The War Machines is a decent enough adventure that has aged badly. It's more of a vehicle for introducing new companions, but there are still enough interesting concepts in it to give it a whirl...



SCORE: 8/10


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11 Mar 2011, 2:08 am

REVIEW: The Tomb of the Cybermen by Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis

SERIAL
: MM, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


The Tomb of the Cybermen holds a special place in my heart. Not only was it the first Patrick Troughton story I watched, but it holds the very special distinction of scaring the absolute s**t out of me when I first watched it. After seeing the end of the first episode, I was afraid to watch it again for at least a year afterwards, afraid that I was going to see something gruesome later. While that turned out not to be the case, Tomb remains to this day one of my favourite stories for a variety of reasons...

The Doctor and Jamie take their new travelling companion Victoria Waterfield on her first journey in the TARDIS, and they happen to land on Telos, the Cybermen's second homeworld. There, an archaeological expedition led by Professor Parry and financed by logicians Klieg and Kaftan is searching for the tombs of the Cybermen. But one death follows another, the expedition's rocket is sabotaged, and it seems that someone wants the power of the Cybermen. For the Cybermen are not dead, but merely dormant in cryogenic chambers, waiting to be reawoken...

Watching it again after so long, you see a lot of holes in the special effects. A wire is clearly used at one point to suspend a character in the air, another one is replaced by a dummy, the Cyber-Controller breaks his way through a polystyrene casing at one point, and you can see the spark generator overlaid whenever the Cybermen use their 'taser fingers'. There are some unfortunate implications, in Toberman being a rather simple-speaking black man who is the servant of the villains, a German and, apparently, an Arab.

And yet...The Tomb of the Cybermen is pretty much as close to perfection as any Cyberman story can be. This is a wonderful, atmospheric story with, if not well-written, then well-acted characters, genuinely scary threats, and one of the best uses of the Cybermen ever. Unlike the more absurd plans of The Moonbase and The Wheel in Space, the mostly-missing Cybermen stories preceding and succeeding this one, the Cybermen's plan is actually reasonable sounding. Not to mention that the Cybercontroller has one of the most chilling cliffhangers in the series when, covered in frost, he tells the assembled captives, in a cold monotone, "You belong to us. You shall be like us." One of the best cliffhangers ever, really. The Cybermen feel like a real threat, and so do their minions introduced in this story, the cute but deadly Cybermats.

The regulars are entertaining, with Patrick Troughton, now settled into his role as the Doctor, giving one of the best performances of his time as the Doctor, delighting in antagonising Klieg. He tells Klieg that his best technique is to 'keep his eyes open, and his mouth shut', and given how much he was the dark manipulator in Evil of the Daleks, the previous story of Troughton's time as the Doctor, you can see how he uses something similar in this story. And there's this wonderful little interlude where he comforts the recently orphaned Victoria about the loss of her father at the hands...sorry, suckers of the Daleks.

While not perfect, and having a lot to forgive, give it a chance, and The Tomb of the Cybermen will show you what vintage Doctor Who is really all about. Atmospheric, chilling, and the earliest surviving Cyberman story: you can't ask for more than that.


SCORE: 9.5/10


Next, The Dominators. Please, no laughs. Here's the DVD trailer...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxZkb0ajaU4[/youtube]


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11 Mar 2011, 3:27 am

Well... Having Toberman in the cast was a bit ahead of its time. He wasn't an eloquently spoken guy, but he certainly wasn't an idiot. If I remember correctly, he's the hero of the story.

It's a huge pity the 1st and 2nd (especially the 2nd) Doctor's runs are so patchy and incomplete. If only. If only.



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11 Mar 2011, 4:08 am

SpaceProg wrote:
Well... Having Toberman in the cast was a bit ahead of its time. He wasn't an eloquently spoken guy, but he certainly wasn't an idiot. If I remember correctly, he's the hero of the story.

It's a huge pity the 1st and 2nd (especially the 2nd) Doctor's runs are so patchy and incomplete. If only. If only.


Yeah. Why Fury from the Deep doesn't exist...I would have loved to review that. Or Evil of the Daleks...

Of course, we should be thankful that we were spared ALL of the ignominy of The Underwater Menace. Bad enough that we had the episode that ends on Joseph Furst screaming "Nuzzink in ze vurld can stop me now!! !"


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11 Mar 2011, 4:26 am

Something I make sure to say when I'm in a Mad Scientisty mood. :D



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12 Mar 2011, 12:24 am

REVIEW: The Dominators by "Norman Ashby" (pseudonym for Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman, with elements rewritten by Derrick Sherwin)

SERIAL
: TT, 5X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


From what might have been the zenith of the Troughton years, straight to the surviving nadir. The Dominators had a fraught history which may have contributed to the end result, with the originally six-part story cut down to five and the fifth episode rewritten. This sudden change and an attempt to merchandise their Quark creations without permission leading the writing team of Henry Lincoln and Mervyn Haisman, who created the Yeti and the Great Intelligence, to never work for the program again. But even such production problems do not always cause the end result to work out into a study in mediocrity...

On the peaceful planet of Dulkis, the TARDIS lands with the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe eager to begin a holiday. But unwittingly, they have landed on a former atomic test site, with the radioactive residue having been absorbed into the recently arrived spacecraft of the Dominators, ruthless warlord beings who are here to look for resources for their invasion fleet. With their deadly Quark robots, the Dominators are set to enslave the Dulcians, but what are they really after?

Why, oh why, was this story intact in the archives, and not Haisman and Lincoln's earlier Who stories, like The Abominable Snowmen, or The Web of Fear? It is a sad indictment, as I am sure that they could have done much better than this over-long tripe. The Dulcians may have been a satire of the hippy culture, but Dull-cians would have been more appropriate, wearing togas, or swimsuits-with-skirts for the women. Even Zoe points out that it isn't very practical. Cully is the only remotely interesting Dulcian, and even he seems to just rebel for the sake of it.

The special effects are variable. Many of the models are not well used, and the Quarks, I'm afraid to say, are not menacing enough, although their child-like voices do make them even more disturbing than they would have been otherwise, even if they are hard to understand. That being said, there are two very impressive special effects sequences in the first episode, both when the Quarks use their weapons, with a female character's face apparently melting from the Quark ray (a sequence which, while I know how it was done, by superimposing footage of oil rippling over a photo of the actress, is very gruesome for the time) and a hovercraft being blown up, impressive even for our time.

While the story is underwhelming, as is much of the production design, the titular Dominators themselves, while not the best villains in the series, certainly have some meat to their characterisation, even if they are too arrogant (or stupid) to see that the Doctor is smarter than he looks. Navigator Rago, the superior, is a brutal pragmatist who doesn't kill unless necessary, while his inferior, Probationer Toba, is a sullen sadist who wastes the Quark's energy to kill on a whim or when his temper is riled. The actors involved do their best with the lines they've been given, elevating dull, monotonous beings into characters of some interest.

The performances, unfortunately, are somewhat below par when it comes to most of the Dulcians, though this is the way they were probably written. The regulars, including newcomer Zoe, all get something to do, although Patrick Troughton does have a tendency to ham things up. This may be a dull script, but the Doctor should be taking things a little more seriously when in front of the Dominators, and a couple of his and his companion's actions in the story, while admittedly done under duress, do lead to further mayhem.

The Dominators, while not abysmal, is perhaps the worst of the surviving Troughton stories. There are a few interesting elements, but ultimately, it is a disappointing effort from two of the otherwise better writers to ever work for Doctor Who. Still, it could be worse. The Underwater Menace could have survived...


SCORE: 6.5/10


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(No longer a mod)

On sabbatical...