Thursday, October 13, 2005

'Planet of the Daleks'

6 episodes

Err, nothing much to say really. It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been led to expect, but it didn't actually tie up the threads left dangling from the last story and so there wasn't much to distinguish it from any other generic Dalek story; indeed it has been much noted that this adventure is in many respects a straight rewrite of the original Daleks serial from ten years earlier - the Doctor helps the Thals (finally making their return) infiltrate the Daleks' base, where they are plotting to release a deadly substance to wipe out the other life on the planet, there are strange and deadly forests, lakes and cave tunnels, the Doctor's companion falls ill and is healed by a member of the indigenous population, someone hides in a Dalek casing, etc... Rarely actually boring but never gripping, the highlight is the nicely-done realisation of the invisible Spiridon Wester - a shame this effect wasn't used more instead of having the Spiridons walking around covered in big purple fur coats all the time. Lowlights include the horrendously studio-bound jungle scenes, which like the 'plain of stones' contrast badly with brief location footage shot for the scene at the ice pools, and the Doctor and Jo's apparent memory lapses which enable them to totally forget why they came to this planet for long enough to be surprised by the presence of Daleks! In between the two extremes, I'm merely indifferent towards the Doctor's cheap white bedroom storage unit that has arrived in the console room, seemingly from a stopoff at IKEA...

The Daleks are better than in 'Day of the Daleks', I'll say that, and their voices are much improved through the talents of Michael Wisher (him again) and Roy Skelton - and the Dalek Supreme (a refurbished prop from the 1960s Dalek Invasion Earth - 2150AD films) looks quite cool with his 'torch' eyestalk and big 'ear' lights, even if these lights are woefully out of synch with his voice! Otherwise, short-lived Thal Marat, from the black-and-white episode 3, is played by Hilary Minster who went on to be General von Klinkerhoffen in 'Allo 'Allo and Bernard Horsfall (Taron) was a Time Lord at the Doctor's trial and was Gulliver in 'The Mind Robber' before that, but there's little else of note here except that Jo gets asked to stay behind at the end after a terse and shoehorned-in 'romantic' subplot - a taste, if you will, of what is to come...


Episodes watched: 241
Episodes still to watch: 481

After all that, I am now pretty much exactly one third of my way through the surviving Doctor Who television canon!!

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