Archive for November 2012

The Seeds of Doom

November 25, 2012

medium used:  DVD

I’m in the minority here, in that I really don’t think this was a particularly great serial.  The first two episodes are splendid, but then it degenerates into a rather tedious run-around.  By episode five, I kept thinking, “Oh, just get on with it, will you?”  Nevertheless, this story line has some pretty interesting characters (more comments on that below).

 

Great Moments

Just about everything in the first two episodes, which have lots of great stuff.

The Doctor jumping through the skylight.

Every scene with Amelia Ducat.

 

Random Thoughts

The animal life on the Krynoid’s home planet must be particularly robust, else, given the carnivorous plant’s aggressive nature,  it would soon run out of food.

This serial uses a lot of stock characters, who are given just enough extra dimension to prevent them from being cliches.  Examples: Scorby, who starts off as a typical thug, but is later given some dialogue to make him rather interesting;  Chase, the mad, evil millionaire, who becomes rather pathetic when he is consumed by his own obsessions; and Miss Ducat, the dotty old lady, who turns out to have a core of real strength (and should have had a larger role!)

Chase’s complaint about the cruelty of creating bonsai is not unique to him.  I remember a local newspaper printing an article on the bonsai tradition, and getting in response letters calling it a barbaric practice.

Nor are vicious plants anything new.  The blackberry vines invading my yard are always trying to kill me.

 

The Shipping Report

The Doctor refers to Sarah Jane as his best friend.  Well, we know that by now, but it’s nice to hear him say it.

 

Food and Drink

At the Antarctic base, when the botanist (have forgotten his name) says he thinks the pod is alive,  another member of the team jokes that “it must be that rice pudding you had for lunch” (Eh?  Rice pudding has mind-altering qualities?)

The team discuss having coffee.

Upon arriving at the base, Sarah is offered a hot drink.

The team offer brandy to the stranded pilots (who are, in reality, Scorby and Keeler)

Hargreaves brings the infected Keeler a meal of chunks of raw meat.

 

Grade: 3/5

 

November 25, 2012

 

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The Brain of Morbius

November 24, 2012

Medium used:  DVD

 

Quite liked this serial, a riff on the classic Frankenstein tale, without being a slavish copy.  Particularly loved the dark humor, with its straight-faced delivery (the “brain on the floor” line is my personal favorite.)

Great Moments

While not technically a “moment”, I have to mention the sets, which I found impressive, most particularly Solon’s castle.  I assume it was an abandoned dwelling that he appropriated for his own uses, and it has that sense of decay about it.  Much of it is covered with dust, as though he just can’t be bothered to keep things up; even the generator is left unrepaired until needed. The slanted columns add to the sense of things being askew.

Sarah recovering her sight — and the first thing she encounters is Morbius the monster!

Maren  sacrificing herself in the fire — and turning young again before she vanishes.

 

Random Thoughts

I was curious about the name “Morbius”, so did a little research on it.  According to one source, it comes from Dr. Morbius, a character in the movie Forbidden Planet; unfortunately, I haven’t seen that film, so I can’t make any comment on possible connections.  “Morbius”  also may be derived from the Latin morbus, meaning disease, which gave rise to our English morbid — and we’re certainly dealing with some morbid material here (brain in a jar, brain on the floor, a body stitched out of spare parts, etc)

In the matter of name origins, we might also mention “Karn”, which could come from cairn or the mining term karn, both meaning a pile of rocks, which is a good description of the planet upon which this tale occurs.  Of course, this could describe a great many DW planets, which are usually piles of rocks, if they’re not steamy jungles.

One way to view this serial is as a study in stagnation.  The sisterhood, having achieved near-immortality with their elixir, have not experienced change for many, many years, and seem hide-bound and cruel as a result.  Solon is obsessed with the past, and bringing back to life his hero, Morbius, and thus lives a moribund life in a decaying castle with a brain in a jar for company. Along those lines, I suspect Maren’s self-sacrifice is motivated by being weary of her state — she may feel it’s time to move on to whatever death may bring.

 

Shipping Report

What a cold-hearted bastard that Solon is — you’d think he might have some trace of affection for poor, old Condo, but no, he talks about “putting him down”, like he was some kind of animal.  I do get the feeling that Solon may have been a decent person at one time, but , somehow, he got obsessed with Morbius, and ended up losing any trace of humanity.

 

In terms of the Doctor/Sarah relationship, this serial continues to show them as having a friendship of equals.   The Doc is unusually fallible here; Sarah, for instance, noticing something amiss with the wine, pours it into an empty dish when no one is looking.  But the Doc drinks his portion, and ends up unconscious and at Solon’s mercy.  It’s up to the companion to rescue the Time-Lord!

 

Food and Drink

The Doctor jokingly requests a glass of water from Solon.

Solon offers Sarah and the Doctor wine (drugged) and food.  The food doesn’t look very appetizing; from what I could see, it appears to be boiled spinach.  The novelization, in a line that doesn’t appear on-screen, has Solon offering them blue lobsters.

In describing the taste of the elixir, the Doctor mentions nectar, stewed apricots, and custard.

 

Grade:  4/5

 

November 24, 2012

 

The Android Invasion

November 23, 2012

medium used:  DVD

I found this one to be a bit of a snooze-fest.  It’s slow-paced, has some rather silly villains, and not too much of a mystery.  You have the word “android” in the title and a bunch of people acting like machines;  it doesn’t take a genius to figure out these “people” are really androids.

I will admit that, on my first viewing, I was a little surprised to find we were on an alien planet.  On second viewing, I realized the clues to the non-earth location were not that subtle, and I had been pretty dense not to notice.

Great Moments

Slim pickings here, but I can mention some dialogue:

Sarah to the suicidal android (now repaired): “You shouldn’t be drinking so soon after breaking your neck.”

The Doctor: “Is that finger loaded?”

Random Thoughts

One of the enjoyable aspects of this story line is being able to see Harry and Benson again.  Too bad the Brig was out of town.

Shipping Report

Doc 4 and Sarah Jane have developed a remarkable friendship, which, although almost certainly platonic, is closer than most Doc/Companion relationships. (even Doc 2 and Jaimie).  It’s a relationship of equals.

Food and Drink

In the first scene, the Doc drinks ginger pop from a bottle, and offers some to Sarah.  She declines, claiming she can’t stand the stuff.  Later, her android replica not only drinks the ginger pop but likes it — verifying the Doc’s realization that this isn’t the real Sarah.

The androids drink beer or ale in the pub.

The Doctor says he’s partial to tea and muffins (although, given the context, he’s probably being facetious.)

The imprisoned Doctor and Sarah are given bread and water to eat.

The returning Crayford requests champagne on ice.

The personnel in the control room discuss getting coffee.

Grade: 2/5

November 23, 2012