Archive for February 2009

The Ice Warriors

February 28, 2009


Not bad.  I love the ice warriors; they’re very possibly my favorite “monsters”.  What lets this serial down is all the padding, resulting in a story as slow and plodding as the reptilian warriors themselves.  There are never-the-less some very nice moments, particularly the one-on-one interactions between the Doctor and Clent, Penley and Storr, and Victoria and Jamie.

Food and Drink

Food is directly related to the plot.  World hunger was eliminated because of the invention of artificial food.  The population burgeoned, with housing being built on land originally given to farms and natural areas.  The lack of plant life created an ecological crisis which led to a new ice age, which in turn led to the high tech efforts to combat the ever-growing glaciers. (No wonder Storr hates scientists.  It’s easy to see why he blames them for all the troubles.)


Clent dials up something on the food dispenser, and retrieves a cube wrapped in foil; presumably the above-mentioned artificial food.  The Doctor gets a glass of water in a similar fashion.


Storr and Penley live in a deserted plant museum, which has preserved certain ancient food plants.  Those mentioned are: tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and strawberries.  Storr is also a skilled hunter.  And thus they eke out a living, but must also steal from the base. (An early scene shows them sneaking away from the base with a bunch of boxes — no indication of what’s in them — and later Penley steals medications for the seriously ill Storr)


The Shipping Report

I can no longer think of the TARDIS crew as a sort of family.  Jamie clearly lusts for Victoria.  It’s hard to say what she feels for him.  As for the Doctor, while he’s clearly worried about Victoria, he practically comes unglued when he hears that Jamie’s been shot.  It makes me wonder about the nature of their relationship.


I really can’t end this without mentioning the great scene between Jamie and Victoria, shortly after they arrive at the base.  He teases her about the women’s uniforms — very short jumpsuits [they look more like cocktail waitresses than skilled technicians, but that’s a digression] — and asks her if she’d ever dress like that.  She’s suitably mortified at the thought.  Filled to the brim with nineteenth century primness, she announces “We will now change the subject, please.”


The Abominable Snowmen

February 27, 2009

Well-done.  Suspenseful and atmospheric.  The only thing that lets it down is the Yeti design;  bottom-heavy and furry, they look like they belong on Sesame Street.


Food and Drink

Victoria accepts Thomni’s offer to bring her food, in order to get him out of the room.


Ralpachon brings the imprisoned Victoria and Thomni food and water.  Victoria pretends that it has made her ill, once again as a ploy for escape.


The Shipping Report

Victoria coerces Jamie (who, as we’ve already seen, is quite susceptible to feminine manipulation) to leave the TARDIS by threatening to go outside on her own.  She does, in fact, seem to be quite an old hand at tricking and manipulating people around her, as we can see by her efforts to get into the sanctum.  (Must have been quite frustrating for her when none of her tricks worked on the Daleks.)


As for her quest to see the sanctum, it seems to arise more from contrariness than any genuine desire to investigate.  Having been told the place is off-limits, she just has to see it! Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Victoria, it’s just that I’m getting the feeling she’s not always trustworthy.  She comes, of course, from an era in which women often needed to use their wiles to get what they needed in life. Moreover, being the only child of a widower, and a child that strongly resembled his late wife, she was no doubt indulged.  Victoria is, in other words, a young lady used to getting her way.

The Tomb of the Cybermen

February 26, 2009


I can’t quite see this as a great classic like many do, but it’s a good story none-the-less.  Contains one of the creepiest moments in Doctor Who, the Cybermen emerging from their tombs like insects hatching from a mass of eggs.


Food and Drink

Captain Hopper brings anoraks and food to the stranded archaeologists.  The food comes in small, foil-wrapped cubes [according to the production notes, these were actually bouillon cubes], and include roast beef, veal, and chicken.  There’s also coffee in thermos bottles.  A thermos comes in handy later on when Victoria uses one to beat off a Cyberman.


The Shipping Report

There’s  a touching scene between the Doctor and Victoria when they discuss family.  Victoria misses her father, who died the previous episode; she believes her memories of him will always be sad ones.  The Doctor discusses his own family, although in very vague terms, saying that they’re in the back of his mind, and he must make a conscious effort to remember them. (He is trying to comfort Victoria, who is haunted by her father’s death, i.e., she won’t always be having this constant grief in the forefront of her mind).


The Doctor once again behaves in a rather dubious manner, correcting Krieg’s formula, and later surreptitiously pushing a button that allows the hatch to be opened.  Nor did he do much to prevent Krieg from awakening the Cybermen.  Is the Doctor’s curiosity once again getting the better of his common sense?  How many deaths is he indirectly responsible for?  And there may yet be more — as the humans (what’s left of them) make their escape, the Doctor electrifies both the hatch and the outer doors, so that any more curious folk will get a lethal shock in trying to gain entrance.  Okay, that may keep the Cybermen inside, sleeping away eternity, but what happens to some innocent traveler who unwittingly stumbles upon this site and touches the doors?  ZAP!  And another death.


Miscellaneous Thoughts

These Cybermen are a bit lame, aren’t they? They get confused by a smoke bomb, and they didn’t even have the foresight to place the revitalizing chamber next to their tombs.  Victoria even hits one with a thermos bottle!  The Controller is downright pathetic, needing help to get himself re-energized. (Of course, he isn’t so pathetic a few minutes later)



The Evil of the Daleks

February 25, 2009

What a splendid serial!  There’s a few plot holes, but they don’t get in the way of a terrific story.


Food and Drink

Following a clue, the Doctor and Jamie go to a coffee bar called “The Tricolour”.  Since they have to wait there some time, they most likely have had to buy something to drink (or management would object to them taking up a table)  Per narration: the Doctor is playing with sugar cubes while waiting for something to happen.


Per transcript:  Kennedy is eating a sandwich when called by Waterfield.


Molly serves the Doctor and Jamie a pitcher of some kind of fizzy drink, evidently a cure for hangover (which she believes they are suffering from).  Later, she brings in a tray of tea things.


When we first meet Victoria, she is putting crumbs on the windowsill for birds (or “flying pests”, as the Daleks call them) .  When the Daleks weigh her and find she has lost 17 ounces, they tell her more food will be brought — she must eat it or be force fed.


Taking a break from observing Jamie’s quest/test, the Doctor drinks some wine.  


The Doctor remarks that Terrall has never been seen to eat or drink.  It turns out that Terrall is living off electricity, being under Dalek control.


Jamie and Victoria drink water while conversing.  Later, Jamie looks for water on Skaro and can find none.


The Shipping Report


The Doctor is disturbingly manipulative during this story.  He allows Jamie to overhear him say “Jamie will do everything he is asked to do,” and later tells him “I won’t have you ruining everything to rescue Victoria Waterfield.” This arouses both the young man’s rebelliousness and chivalry, so he naturally does just that.  Through the Doctor’s manipulations, Jamie is put in serious danger.  The Doctor also lies to Terrall, to get him out of the way.  It’s all for the greater good, perhaps, but, as Jamie later says, it’s also callous.


While #2 is certainly concerned about Jamie– and the possibility of an enhanced Dalek race — he seems most worried about the fate of his TARDIS, and expresses little concern about Victoria at all.  Nor is this an isolated case; in “Power of the Daleks’, the Doctor is just a little too casual in suggesting that Bragen’s guards be used as a diversion, and thereby possibly sacrificing their lives.

The Faceless Ones

February 24, 2009

A good story, although it suffers from padding.  It’s disappointing that Ben and Polly have so little to do, considering it’s their last adventure with the Doctor.


Food and Drink

Jean, pretending to be ill, claims to have had neither breakfast or lunch.


Stewardess Ann Davidson (or, rather, the alien who has taken her form) hands out trays of airline food, which Jamie is too ill to eat.  It turns out that this meal is the first step in the miniaturization process, and so Jamie is spared that indignity. (Yeah, I always knew there was something strange about airline cuisine!)


The Shipping Report


Jamie and Samantha have a charming but short-lived relationship. She, flirtatious, and he,a little slow to respond.  Samantha knows just how to manipulate him; to convince Jamie to accompany her to the Chameleon hanger, she remarks that “they can only murder me”, which immediately triggers off his protective instincts.  But two can play this game — in order to steal her ticket (and protect her from her own headstrong nature) he gives her a kiss and hug, and deftly lifts the ticket from her purse.  Ultimately, though, he’s rather be with the Doctor and share his adventures than stay behind with Samantha.


Ben and Polly make the opposite choice, although assuring the Doctor that they’ll stay with him if needed, it’s clear they’d both rather get on with their lives.  The Doctor wishes them well :”. . .Ben can catch his ship and become an admiral and you, Polly, you can look after Ben.”

Like Ian and Barbara, I hope they marry and live happily ever after.

The Macra Terror

February 24, 2009


Not bad. Would be quite good, actually, if the Macra themselves weren’t so silly to look at.


Food and Drink

Nothing to report, although the crew presumably has eaten during their stay, as Ben says “ We can’t just eat their nosh without helping out.”

The Moonbase

February 24, 2009


Not bad.  Nicely mixes suspense and humor.  And if it has some goofy scenes, it also has one of the all time great shock moments in Doctor Who, when the hidden cyberman in sick bay uncovers itself.


Food and Drink

The moonbase personnel thrive on coffee.  Ben has coffee cups to clear up, and Polly make coffee for everyone twice. She also plays nurse in the sickbay, serving up water and sympathy.


Ralph looks for milk and sugar in the store room. The latter, of course, turns out to be the tainted substance.


The Shipping Report

I suppose it’s inevitable — two young men, one attractive young woman; mix them together and you get, at the very least, some rivalry.  And so we have the following bit of  dialogue:

Ben: No, you stay where you are, Jamie.

Polly:  Jamie, You’re not well enough.

Jamie: It takes more than a wee crack on the head to keep a McCrimmon down.

Ben: Look, mate, we don’t want you cracking up on us.  I’m sure Polly is very 

impressed . . .

Jamie: Look, I said I’m feeling better. Now, would you like me to prove it to you?

Ben: Any time, mate.

Polly: Now, come on.  Don’t we have enough trouble with you two fighting?


Miscellaneous Thoughts

It would seem that Cybermen do indeed have emotions, in spite of their claims to the contrary. One of the metal monsters just can’t resist taunting its victims for their “stupid earth brains”.