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SpaceProg
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31 Mar 2011, 1:43 pm

Though I've seen all the eps from the Pertwee era onwards, I have to say that this particular era was the one I liked the least. Inferno was a gem, as were several others, but as a whole (especially when the Doctor is 'landlocked' so to speak, it becomes sort of a futureish Avengers or James Bond type show. I much prefer the exploration aspect after the Doctor is freed.



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31 Mar 2011, 6:31 pm

SpaceProg wrote:
Though I've seen all the eps from the Pertwee era onwards, I have to say that this particular era was the one I liked the least. Inferno was a gem, as were several others, but as a whole (especially when the Doctor is 'landlocked' so to speak, it becomes sort of a futureish Avengers or James Bond type show. I much prefer the exploration aspect after the Doctor is freed.


In theory, I agree. But in practise, a lot of the Earthbound ones tend to have better production values. The Curse of Peladon was great in terms of design, Arcturus notwithstanding, but I look at The Mutants, and I think that the sets look very samey. So do the costumes for the humans, though the Solonians and their Mutant counterparts are done well.

I watch some of these Doctor Who stories set in the future and on an alien planet, and they tend to age worse, ironically, than the Earthbound stories. You see future people using computers with tape reels. The Seeds of Death was one of the worst offenders that I saw. The only character who could pull off the bodysuits they used in that story was Gia Kelly.

While the exploration aspect is better storywise, it does have an impact on the production values.


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31 Mar 2011, 10:58 pm

I can agree with the aspect of alien sets aging more than real-world locations, as I mentioned that in one of my earlier posts back about the 1st Doctor's era.

I don't know what it was, but to me, the Pertwee era seemed just ... needing something. I really don't know what, but it was like it was missing some metaphorical sugar or salt... or maybe some obscure spice.

I liked UNIT, the Brigadier, even Bessie... just there was something missing. I think the Master showed up a little too often as well.



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04 Apr 2011, 4:58 am

REVIEW: The Mutants by Bob Baker and Dave Martin

SERIAL
: NNN, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: No.

Doctor Who, at times, has dealt with political comment, strongly or subtly. The Dominators had elements of satirising the hippie subculture, Aliens of London/World War Three commented on the War on Terror, and many Dalek stories dealt with racism and facism. In The Mutants, we have the Doctor taking on one of the most controversial topics of the 1970s, apartheid...

During the 30th century, the planet Solos has been under the oppressive rule of the Earth Empire for five centuries, and only now, as the empire begins to collapse, is it being given independence. However, the Marshall of Solos intends to hold onto power, even if it means assassinating his own Administrator, framing rebellious Solonian leader Ky, and performing atmospheric experiments that will make Solos' atmosphere breathable for humans, but wiping out the natives. The experiments are causing monstrous mutations to appear amongst the populace, creatures that the Marshall delights in hunting down and killing. Into this mess comes the Doctor and Jo, on a mission from the Time Lords. The Time Lords want the Doctor to deliver a mysterious box to someone on Solos. But who is the box intended for? Are the mutations really a disease? And can the Doctor, Jo, and Ky, along with their allies, stop the Marshall's genocidal plans?

The script for The Mutants is very ambitious, and puts one in mind of the later-done Avatar. After all, we have so-called primitives on a planet ruthlessly mined and commanded by a militaristic commander, with more aspects to the natives than meets the eye. Of course, it is doubtful that James Cameron had even watched this particular story of Doctor Who. Being the second script by the 'Bristol boys', this shows an improvement on The Claws of Axos, with a deeper theme, that of apartheid in South Africa, being involved. Many of the concepts involved are also quite intriguing, being about a race of beings that change their appearance during the unconventional 'seasons' of Solos.

The acting in this story is a little variable. While the characters look good on paper, the acting of Rick James as Cotton (a pity, as the casting of a black actor in a story about apartheid is a delicious irony) and James Mellor as Varan are the worst offenders. George Pravda as Jaeger could have been better, although he has his moments, as does John Hollis as Sondergaard. However, Paul Whitsun-Jones as the Marshall and Garrick Hagon as Ky (Hagon particularly after the first episode, where the character has less depth until later) are redeeming guest stars, with Whitsun-Jones being delightfully repulsive and nasty, and Hagon showing depth to Ky as the story progresses. Jo gets less to do here, but Katy Manning still gives as good as she can, and Jon Pertwee as the Doctor is as good as ever.

If there are two things that are the worst parts of the production, it's the production design and special effects. While the Mutants (or 'Mutts') are excellent designs, the costumes for the rest of the characters range from the above average to the mediocre. The sets have aged badly for the most part. And while the CSO effects work well enough in the caves, they work less well in other sequences, like the end of episode 4. The model work is significantly better, and rates amongst the more impressive in the series.

The Mutants was ambitious. It could have been much better, but as it stands, it is still a fairly impressive story, even if the production proper isn't up to scratch.



SCORE: 8.5/10


Here's the trailer for the next story, The Time Monster, along with that for two other stories, Underworld and The Horns of Nimon...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPPZO4C_BTg[/youtube]


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05 Apr 2011, 5:30 am

REVIEW: The Time Monster by Robert Sloman (with Barry Letts, uncredited)

SERIAL
: OOO, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: No.


While not the first Doctor Who story to deal with Atlantis (The Underwater Menace is set in underwater remnants of the city in the modern day, and in The Daemons, Azal implies having had a hand in its destruction), The Time Monster is the first to be set in the kingdom of the time, at least partially. With quirks of time and Atlantis being involved, this story could have been a winner. Unfortunately, that turns out to not be the case...

The Doctor is suffering from apocalyptic dreams of the Master. The Master himself, however, is using the work of a pair of scientists to gain power. The TOMTIT device is meant to transport objects through interstitial time, but the Master intends to use it as a tool to ensnare Kronos, most powerful of the Chronovores. He intends to gain power over all time, or risk the destruction of the universe trying. From a research station in Wootton to ancient Atlantis, and into the depths of the time vortex itself, the Doctor and Jo must stop the Master from unleashing Kronos, before all creation will perish...

Compared to Barry Letts and Robert Sloman's previous work The Daemons, this story is a functional but mediocre dog's breakfast. Which is a shame, as the concepts of TOMTIT, the Chronovores, and Atlantis seem to be decent in principle. Unfortunately, in practise, the story is spread way too thin over six episodes (it really should have been four at most), too many parts aren't explained properly (like how the Master gets the crystal in the first place, and how the earthquakes in Santorini are linked properly), and the Atlantis sequence is almost an afterthought on the story when it should have been a much bigger part. One of the best parts is a sequence in the final episode where the Doctor reminisces about his childhood.

The characters of Stuart Hyde and Dr Ingram, while not the best written, are still the best guest characters of the story, with Queen Galleia being the only Atlantean to be interesting in terms of both writing and acting. Most of the Atlanteans are acted...not badly, but too variably, ranging from large hams at the wrong times to decent acting. Inconsistent is the word that I am looking for. However, the regulars are done well, and Sergeant Benton gets a chance to shine, rather than being the butt monkey he sometimes is. Roger Delgado as the Master is at his best here, despite the deficiencies of the script, and both Jon Pertwee and Katy Manning do well.

The production design and effects, unfortunately, are rather bad. Kronos is not very well realised for a cosmic threat, being basically a man in a silly plastic bird suit swinging on a kirby wire. Even the Minotaur in this story was better realised, which is saying something. The Atlantean sets seem all too strikingly mediocre, and many of the time-slowing or stopping sequences are blatantly acted out instead of being done with special effects.

The Time Monster could have been done far better. There were some intriguing concepts that nonetheless were not realised to anywhere near their full potential, even by the standards of 1970s Doctor Who. A very real pity.



SCORE: 6/10


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05 Apr 2011, 1:52 pm

Time Monster is the first DW story I fell asleep while watching. If that says anything...



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05 Apr 2011, 4:01 pm

SpaceProg wrote:
Time Monster is the first DW story I fell asleep while watching. If that says anything...


Probably. I noticed how the Myths and Legends boxset brought together three of the less-liked stories in Doctor Who history, with Underworld probably being the best of the lot. It's going to be a while before I watched The Horns of Nimon, though...


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05 Apr 2011, 5:57 pm

Horns of Nimon is so bad it's good. At least, IMO; though, I do like several DW stories which get panned a lot by fans.

Liked reading your reviews so far. You write them well. :)



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05 Apr 2011, 11:52 pm

SpaceProg wrote:
Horns of Nimon is so bad it's good. At least, IMO; though, I do like several DW stories which get panned a lot by fans.

Liked reading your reviews so far. You write them well. :)


Thanks. I'm going to be starting on The Three Doctors this afternoon, and may finish the tenth season by this time next week, though that's a little optimistic. I want to finish the Pertwee era soon, as well, as a lot of my favourite stories are coming up...


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06 Apr 2011, 5:32 am

REVIEW: The Three Doctors by Bob Baker and Dave Martin

SERIAL
: RRR, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.

The tenth season, a milestone for the program in more ways than one. Barry Letts tried, unsuccessfully, to change the theme music. The show was moving away from its earthbound phase, and by the end of the season, two beloved regulars would leave the program, Katy Manning, and (thanks to a fatal car accident) Roger Delgado. But, for the first (and certainly not last) time, there was a story with multiple Doctors...

A mysterious cosmic ray, moving beyond the speed of light, is beaming to Earth from the depths of a black hole, a black hole which is also draining the resources of the Time Lords, and threatening all creation. The Doctor is being sought out by strange blob-like creatures sent from the black hole, and he needs help. The Time Lords, in their desperation, send the Doctor his past two incarnations, though his first gets stuck in an eddy of time. Transported into the black hole, the three Doctors confront the deranged Omega, a powerful member of Time Lord history, and who is intending to wreak his vengeance for his perceived abandonment on all of the cosmos...

This story is celebratory, pure and simple. The plot exists mostly to get the three Doctors on screen and against a powerful foe, and while it does have its deficiencies, it is nonetheless does things fairly well. The guest characters, barring Omega, are functional, but it is Omega who steals the show, with a wonderful performance by Stephen Thorne. Despite Omega's insanity, you do feel a little sorry for him, especially when he realises something vital about himself.

The performances here are pretty good all around, with my only real complaint being against what appears to me to be a derailment of the character of the Brigadier. He seems far more antagonistic than usual, although I believe this to be more of a fault with the writing than with the performance of Nicholas Courtney. Katy Manning as Jo does well, as does John Levene as Sergeant Benton, but it is Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton as the Third and Second Doctors who shine, with an interesting relationship that evolves from the antagonistic to the brilliantly cooperative. Less well is William Hartnell's prefilmed performance as the Doctor, but this can be excused for a number of reasons, not least his declining health.

Once more, as is often the case, it is the production design that can be at fault. The Gel Guards look silly, especially in comparison to the more eerie-looking electronic effect of the scout blob seen earlier, and some special effects sequences look cheap. Omega's cathedral, however, is quite eerie, and Omega himself is as well designed as he is acted, though he could have been written to exploit him to the fullest more. And, of course, the plot itself is rather thin on the ground.

The Three Doctors, like The Time Monster, involves a universal threat to all creation. The difference between the two that, despite the high concepts of The Time Monster, The Three Doctors succeeds, because it doesn't try to do so little spread over so much. The Three Doctors is entertaining, and doesn't pretend otherwise.


SCORE: 8.5/10


Here's a DVD trailer for Carnival of Monsters, along with The Seeds of Death (previously reviewed) and Resurrection of the Daleks, as part of the second Revisitations set...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz9CQLVDTPs[/youtube]


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08 Apr 2011, 1:02 am

REVIEW: Carnival of Monsters by Robert Holmes

SERIAL
: PPP, 4X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


It would be a long time before Robert Holmes would truly get the reputation for writing some of the scariest Doctor Who stories ever written. That being said, he was noted for having wit and interesting concepts in his stories, and both are in Carnival of Monsters, the first story to take place after the Doctor's exile has been lifted...

The Doctor and Jo, while attempting to travel to Metabelis 3, end up on the SS Bernice, a ship apparently in the middle of the Indian Ocean. But the ship is attacked by a dinosaur, and the passengers seem to be looping over and over in their actions. Meanwhile, on the world of Inter Minor, the decrees of President Zarb have allowed the first aliens in a long time to visit their world, and this does not sit well with a xenophobic, hypochondriac populace. And the first two visitors is a dubious Lurman entertainer called Vorg and his assistant, Shirna, who are here to earn money, displaying the creatures within a sort of miniaturised menagerie, the Miniscope. With the ambitious Kalik looking to overthrow Zarb, his own brother, and the paranoid Pletrac desperate to keep contagion off Inter Minor, Vorg has his work cut out for him to keep out of trouble. Can the Doctor and Jo escape the Miniscope? Just how dangerous are the Drashigs, vicious creatures Vorg has imprisoned in the Miniscope? And how far will Kalik go to fulfill his ambitions?

This is not a particularly deep script, being here mostly for pleasure. There are two layers of story, with the Doctor and Jo trying to figure out what's going on from within the Miniscope, and Vorg and Shirna struggling with the intrigue on Inter Minor. The SS Bernice sequences, to me, feel like the weaker parts of the story, filled with cliches that repeat themselves on variations of a theme, although Ian Marter as Andrews and Tenniel Evans as Major Daly do fairly well.

However, the sequences on Inter Minor are more intriguing, with Vorg desperately trying to get money for Miniscope performances and using con-artist tactics to try and stave off deportation, while Shirna, portrayed as being brains as well as eye-candy (just as well, as that leotard, while fetching, is also almost as hideously coloured as the Sixth Doctor's coat), is more reasonable. The bickering Inter Minor officials are also written and portrayed well, with Pletrac showing an interesting mixture of bureaucratic officiousness, pragmatism, and a paranoia about disease. Each speaking Inter Minoran is excellently played by their respective actors, with Peter Halliday as Pletrac and Michael Wisher (later to play Davros) as Kalik very well done. Lesley Dwyer as Vorg and Cheryl Hall as Shirna also excel in their roles.

The Miniscope sequences are quite well realised at the time, and the Drashigs are also moderately decent threats, with excellent design and chilling roars. Their screams are enough to signal to anyone that it's brown trousers time, and it is only when they are superimposed on the screen using rather poor CSO that they become a little more ridiculous.

However, the time loops aspect of the story, at least on the SS Bernice, is tiring after the first time around, and one has to admit to a certain degree of failure with some elements of production design. Inter Minor works best during the later parts of the story, apparently set at night, where it is more moody and atmospheric, but when brightly lit, it doesn't work as well. The Functionaries too are disappointing, and seem to be there mostly to reinforce the xenophobic nature of the Inter Minor officials. Pletrac's paranoia also seems unreasonable, for someone more willing to follow the liberal tendencies of Zarb earlier in the story. Finally, Vorg and Shirna should have had more tatty costumes rather than the garish ones we saw in the story, given their characters.

Still, Carnival of Monsters is an enjoyable story. There are some aspects that could have been better, to be sure, but still, it's a decent example of Pertwee-era Who.


SCORE: 8.5/10


Here's a DVD trailer for the next two stories, Frontier in Space, and Planet of the Daleks, released together as the Dalek War Boxset.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAMk7eTiIIE[/youtube]


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11 Apr 2011, 7:00 am

REVIEW: Frontier in Space by Malcolm Hulke

SERIAL
: QQQ, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: No.

As part of the tenth anniversary celebrations, the production team wished to create a twelve-part epic in the mold of the 1960s story The Dalek Masterplan. In practice, the story was split into two six-part stories by two different writers, linked together. The first story, by veteran writer Malcolm Hulke, is an intriguing space opera, the first done in Doctor Who for some years...

The Doctor and Jo land on a cargo shuttle that is boarded and raided by beings the human crew think are Draconians, a race that has an empire that has been at an uneasy peace with Earth until now. But the Doctor and Jo see only Ogrons. Taken prisoner, the Doctor and Jo are accused of being spies for the Draconian Empire. With Earth accusing the Draconians of raids, and vice versa, war seems inevitable. A war being engineered by the Master, who has been employed by someone else. Who are the Master's employers? Why do they want the Doctor, preferably alive? And can the Doctor and Jo convince the two sides of the conflict of the truth, before it's too late?

Malcolm Hulke's strongest point is his characterisation, and here in this story, very few of the notable characters disappoint, with only General Williams being a major disappointment. How such a raving paranoiac got to such a high position is beyond me, and only a few lines and his later apology for mistakes he made go anywhere near redeeming him. There is also a certain degree of moral ambiguity here that wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Blake's 7, and even the Cold War themes could be changed minimally to War on Terror allegories without damaging the story much (the Moon Penal Colony screams 'Guantanamo Bay' and 'extraordinary rendition' to a modern viewer).

The Draconians are an intriguing race of creatures, and while they suffer that bane of all science fiction aliens of having an extraordinary singular society ('Planet of the Hats', TV Tropes calls it), they are still an effective one. Their masks and costumes are amongst the best of the story, as are their characterisations.

The regulars of the Doctor and Jo, along with the Master, also get chances to shine. The Master is a rather humourous figure here, but still a dangerous one. It is a pity that this is Roger Delgado's last appearance as the Master, and it is so undignified for him to be hustled off by a fearful stampede of Ogrons at the end, as he is very good. The Doctor, as always, gets plenty of moments to shine, and we have Jo managing to ward off multiple attempts of the Master to hypnotise her, a nice little take that at their first story, Terror of the Autons, where the Master had hypnotised Jo with ease.

The story itself is also good, with politics involved and nice little touches and complexities that raise it above the usual melodrama of Who. It also makes the future look like a scary place, with the Earth being a far more totalitarian regime than we are used to. Not an actual dictatorship or police state, but certainly more restrictive than today. There are some nice touches with the Draconian culture. The weakest point of the writing, besides the not very well written (or acted, perhaps?) role of General Williams, is the rushed ending. It's an ending of sound and fury, signifying nothing but the Doctor injured and in need to find the secret base of the Daleks.

The weakest part of this story has to be the production design. Nothing dates faster in Doctor Who than portrayals of the future, and with high-necked collars that would give Time Lords the screaming horrors, padded uniformed soldiers with silly helmets, and glamorous dresses for female technicians, the human costumes haven't stood the test of time, instead looking camp in a serious production. It is saying something when the most reasonably dressed humans in the story are political prisoners in slippers and pyjamas! And that isn't going into the Ogron Eater, or some of the dodgy spacewalk effects used.

Despite these deficiencies, Frontier in Space shows that Malcolm Hulke is an excellent writer, and while elements of the story seem a bit like Star Trek, they are still very Who, and very Malcolm Hulke to be precise. Interesting characters, complex politics, and a cliffhanger ending, Frontier in Space is a highlight of the season, and of the era.


SCORE: 9/10


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13 Apr 2011, 10:58 pm

Those are really good reviews so far and I'm mostly in agreement with your ratings. I'm glad you did separate ratings for Episode 1 of the two Hartnell stories. You could almost split the ark in two as well.

I'm not sure that your anti-Pertwee bias isn't showing a little. He was my first doctor so naturally, I'm a little protective of him. IMHO, Spearhead could have been rated a little higher and the Mutants could have been rated a lot lower. I dislike it more than the Time Monster.

You didn't mention the other aliens in the Sea Devils. Maybe they could come back for the 11th Doctor. You know, the ones that the Master was watching on TV.

The Three Doctors could probably have rated a little higher too because the Troughton/Pertwee banter was awesome.

I'm actually a little surprised that there were so many that you haven't seen. The ones I haven't seen are the ones that nobody my age will ever see unless a miracle occurs.

Keep up the good work.



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14 Apr 2011, 4:05 am

gbollard wrote:
Those are really good reviews so far and I'm mostly in agreement with your ratings. I'm glad you did separate ratings for Episode 1 of the two Hartnell stories. You could almost split the ark in two as well.


I only got The Ark on Sunday, and as I am doing this review series in order, I'm not reviewing it. However, I also got the Mara Tales boxset (with Kinda and Snakedance), which I will review when (or if) I get to the Davison era. I love Kinda. :)

gbollard wrote:
I'm not sure that your anti-Pertwee bias isn't showing a little. He was my first doctor so naturally, I'm a little protective of him. IMHO, Spearhead could have been rated a little higher and the Mutants could have been rated a lot lower. I dislike it more than the Time Monster.


Hmmm...Actually, I could have rated many Pertwee stories lower. I very nearly gave a lower score to The Curse of Peladon, and The Mutants was up in the air for a while, though The Time Monster sucks majorly in comparison. In fact, I was surprised to come across such a mediocre Pertwee story.

gbollard wrote:
You didn't mention the other aliens in the Sea Devils. Maybe they could come back for the 11th Doctor. You know, the ones that the Master was watching on TV.


*facepalm*

You know, the Master seems to enjoy children's TV involving weird aliens. I wonder what that says about him?

gbollard wrote:
The Three Doctors could probably have rated a little higher too because the Troughton/Pertwee banter was awesome.


Agreed, but unfortunately, the production design was a big strike against it, as was the story. Omega was underutilised, and was really only saved because Stephen Thorne is a damned good actor. "A hero? I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A GOD! !!" Not to mention that wonderful and terrifying howl of despair when he realises that all that exists of him is his will to exist.

That's actually a major problem with the first two multi-Doctor stories. They should be The Two-and-a-half Doctors and The Four-and-a-half Doctors. William Hartnell only appears on a monitor to gripe at his successors in the former story, and Tom Baker only appears thanks to footage in Shada in the latter story.

gbollard wrote:
I'm actually a little surprised that there were so many that you haven't seen. The ones I haven't seen are the ones that nobody my age will ever see unless a miracle occurs.

Keep up the good work.


Thanks, gbollard. I thought that I had watched less, but while watching some, I find some memories coming back, presumably from when I watched the VHS tapes over a decade ago. Another problem is that I have read the majority of the novelisations, which may make me a little confused as to what I have or haven't watched.

I watched pretty much every Patrick Troughton story that came out on VHS, barring all of The War Games. As I come to the Tom Baker stories, I think the amount of stories I haven't watched will decrease dramatically. Out of the DVDs available for the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era, the only one I haven't watched is The Masque of Mandragora. Of course, when it gets to the Graham Williams era, it gets better. I haven't watched any of the Key to Time stories barring The Pirate Planet, I haven't watched all of Horror of Fang Rock or Image of the Fendahl, never mind The Horns of Nimon or The Creature from the Pit.

BTW, the story that I just watched, Planet of the Daleks, had a pretty damn fine restoration to turn the monochrome episode 3 into full colour. Not a perfect restoration by any means, but a damned fine effort.

I'll post the review for Planet of the Daleks shortly.


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14 Apr 2011, 4:26 am

REVIEW: Planet of the Daleks by Terry Nation

SERIAL
: SSS, 6X25 minute episodes

SEEN IT BEFORE?: Yes.


As a writer, Terry Nation has his finer stories and his lesser stories. Dedicated to creating adventure stories with lots of excitement and many ideas, he is responsible not only for the creation of the Daleks, but also the TV series Survivors and Blake's 7. But there are times when his creativity seems to fail him. Planet of the Daleks, while not a true failure, is still not quite a distinguished story, even when it should be...

After the plans of the Master were thwarted, the injured Doctor requests the help of the Time Lords to find the Dalek base. While he recovers from his injuries, Jo, concerned for his wellbeing, ventures out onto the deadly planet of Spiridon, where deadly plants and animals abound, and where the native intelligent life is invisible. But they are not alone. A group of Thals are also present on Spiridon, on a suicide mission to destroy a Dalek taskforce that is researching invisibility and bacterial warfare. But with Jo succumbing to a fungal infection, and the Doctor captured by the Daleks, they may not be able to stop the Daleks, as there is a secret army of 10,000 Daleks in cold storage, ready to be loosed on the galaxy...

I'll be honest: after the great characterisation of Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks is a bloody letdown. The story, while never short on incident, is arguably nothing but, with relatively shallow characterisation saved only by the performances of the cast. The Doctor is apparently surprised to see Daleks on Spiridon, despite the fact that the Time Lords sent him there, so unless he is surprised at the invisibility of the Daleks, it isn't logical. Neither is that whole thing with the TARDIS oxygen supply, given its relatively large size on the inside, and I get the feeling that Nation just wrote that in to give extra peril to the Doctor. And Marat's sacrifice, considering he was carrying a map concealing the Thal's explosives, is just stupid.

The Thals aren't particularly well written, with Vaber an over-eager idiot, Taron a little too wishy-washy for his own good, and Rebec a little too traditional female to be believably part of a suicide mission. However, Prentis Hancock, Bernard Horsfall and Jane Howe respectively make the most of what they are given without being too ridiculous. The Daleks, too, aren't as menacing as they should be, especially considering how they try to destroy a barricade near the end with brute force than using their blasters (I think the novelisation stated that the blasters merely melted the barricade together, making it stronger, but that's not the point).

The jungle sets, while lush and verdant, don't look alien enough, and while the concept of liquid ice and ice volcanos are quite original, sometimes the realisation does leave something to be desired. The production design looks like it was stretched just a tad too far, even for a Doctor Who story.

Planet of the Daleks is not bad. What it is is run of the mill. Average. The story is basically Terry Nation cobbling together elements from his previous stories (you can turn spotting how many plot elements were used in previous Dalek stories into a drinking game, and I guarantee you'll die of alcohol poisoning by the end of the story) in a way that isn't inspiring. Not actually bad, but it could have been much better. A disappointing second half to the Dalek War duology.


SCORE: 7.5/10


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(No longer a mod)

On sabbatical...