Archive for August 2010

Planet of Evil

August 2, 2010

medium used: DVD

Good, but not exceptional; this story is made memorable because of the remarkable alien jungle set.

Great Moments

As mentioned above, the jungle.  Its amazing, really.  Not only does it look very alien, but it exudes a sense of menace.  What also works well is the contrast with the spaceship, with its orderly metallic design.  The jungle is a cacophony of life; the ship artificial and orderly, with the disorder in the jungle ready to  — and, in a way, actually does  — invade.

Sorenson preparing to eject himself and the container of antimatter into space.  The Doctor has, in effect, talked him into suicide. He does  one of his Jeckle-and-Hyde transformations before being able to do the deed, thus allowing him to wreak more havoc aboard ship. It is nevertheless a rather startling moment for DW.

Random Thoughts

I suspect the Doctor of deliberately putting the TARDIS off course.  He’s just a bit too evasive with Sarah, and just a bit too eager to respond to that distress signal.

It may be my over-active imagination, but that exterior shot of the space ship looks like a giant vacuum cleaner.

It looks like someone’s put a jinx on Sarah’s lungs.  How many times, now, has SJS been unable to breath?

And what are those guys doing to Sarah?  You call that a search? It’s more of a grope! I realize they’ve probably been without women for awhile, but that’s no excuse.

I’m puzzled as to why a canister of anti-matter would deter an anti-matter creature from attacking.  It’s all a bit like holding up a crucifix to a vampire. Well, not quite the same, the creatures don’t scream and hide their eyes, but they back off quickly — but, why?

The Doc is dropping names again.  This time he claims to have met Shakespeare.

The Shipping Report

The actual nature of the SJS-Doctor relationship is still unknown, although they are clearly fond of one another and work well together.  The Doctor does give Sarah an admiring look as she recovers from her first “out-of-body” experience (Tom Baker, in the DVD commentary, calls it an “adoring” look). He also is a bit irritated with her when she calls after him as he goes to seek the anti-matter monster. “Yes, I know, I’ll take care,” he replies, and sounds distinctly annoyed.

Food and Drink

The Doctor puts samples of anti-matter pebbles into an empty toffee box.

Sorenson drinks a dark liquid that emits vapors to stop the anti-matter transformation. (although this is more properly a medicine than nutrition)

Grade: 3/5

August 2, 2010


Terror of the Zygons

August 1, 2010

medium used: novelization by Terrance Dicks (titled “Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster”)

Judging from the other reviews I’ve read, this is a good story.  Unfortunately, this is not apparent from this book version.  I am definitely getting the feeling that, whatever his other talents, Terrance Dicks was not much good as a novelist.  He’s had a few hits and quite a lot of misses – this one is a miss.

It starts off well, with a load of spooky atmosphere, but quickly descends into silliness.  And it doesn’t help that the book contains an abrasive forward by Harlan Ellison,  slamming Star Wars, Close Encounters, and Star Trek. (It’s a rather peculiar notion that to praise one fictional world, you must insult the others.) In any case, this novel is not a good representative of the broadcast version, and I will not attempt to grade “Zygons” from it.

It’s a pity we lose Harry as a companion in this story; he’s one of my favorite characters, and, despite what the Doctor says, he is NOT an imbecile.  And we won’t be seeing the Brig for a long while, which is also too bad, but, to be honest, as much as I like UNIT, its value to the series has about run its course.  Time to move on . . .

Food and Drink

The novel has quite a few mentions of food:

Opening scene: Jack Munro drinks a mug of rum-laced cocoa and orders provisions via radio, requesting haggis (Page 1)

“They started, after a large and filling lunch, with a visit to the shore base of the oil company.” (Page 13) (It occurs to me that the TARDIS crew haven’t had the opportunity for a proper meal for quite a while.  No wonder they make a point of having a nice, big lunch)

SJS discusses what she’s learned in the village over tea and scones with Angus MacRanald (page 16)

Harry, upon regaining consciousness, request something to drink.  SJS gives him water. (page 31)

The Zygons need the lactic fluid of the Skarasen to survive (page 43) (Rather limited diet, that.)

Palmer offers to make SJS some tea (page 59)

After escaping the Skarasen, the Doc wants “a very large meal, and a nice, long sleep” (page 79)

Before visiting the Duke, the Brig, Doc and SJS have a breakfast of porridge. Sarah and the Brig request milk and sugar for theirs, the Doctor eats his with a sprinkle of salt (page 83)

“The Zygons had even brought him [Harry] food and water from time to time. (page 98) (milk from the Skarasen?)

Benton shares a chocolate bar with SJS in the UNIT communications room (page 119)

Grade: none for now