Image of the Fendahl (Fourth Doctor).
A fun story but I had to think about this one a little as I was watching it as there seemed to be some large plot holes. There was no explanation about what the Fendahleen were, how the Doctor knew about them and why the skull was found on Earth. Then in the final episode the Doctor gave a good deal of exposition and the questions were answered. The one question that wasn't answered was why Stael thinks he can control the Fendahleen to give him ultimate power and how he found out about them in the first place.
There's always an idiot megalomaniac human who thinks he can control the aliens to attain ultimate power.
Out of curiosity, I watched "The Daleks", the very first serial to feature the Daleks. It's weird how they're simultaneously goofier and yet more terrifying than those in the new series.
Try the Cloth-Faced Cybermen (The 10th Planet?). At first glance, they make you roll your eyes, but, a minute or two into their first appearance and they're the creepiest ever.
Agreed. I've never seen "The Tenth Planet." But whenever I see clips from it, I find them to be the creepiest things in the history of the series.
The Key to Time: The Ribos Operation (Fourth Doctor).
Another excellent story by Robert Holmes though comparatively quiet in relation to The Talons of Weng-Chiang. [...] The dialog between the two con-artists worked well, Cuthbertson gave his character Garron a great sense of comic timing.
If there's one thing that Robert Holmes excels in, it's writing delightfully funny intersteallar con artists. This is the same guy who gave us Vorg in "Carnival of Monsters," Sabalom Glitz in "The Trial of a Time Lord," and the con artist in "The Power of Kroll."
I love this one exchange between the Doctor & Romana in "The Power of Kroll":
"I know a rogue when I see a rogue and I have no desire to die in the company of a rogue. Have you any desire to die in the company of a rogue?"
"I have no desire to die at all."
"Yes, I know that feeling."
The War Machines
What a coincidence. I just finished part 2 of "The War Machines" last night. I preceeded it with spending most of my days off watching old Hartnell stories-- "The Space Museum," "The Chase," "The Ark," & "The Gunfighters." A few days before that, I was slogging through "The Sensorites." My breakdown:
I'm always a sucker for stories with the original TARDIS team of the 1st Doctor, Susan, Ian, & Barbara. But even so, this one was tough to get through and I think I nodded off halfway through part 4. The problem is that, even with all of the political wrangling among the Sensorites, there simply isn't enough plot to sustain a 6 parter.
"The Space Museum."
Apparantly, this story has a terrible reputation. I don't think it's so bad. At the very least, it's short enough to move at a decent pace. And Jeremy Bulloch is the nicest man I've ever met, so I can't be too harsh with anything he's in.
God, this story is all over the place. It's rediculous. But at least there's enough variety that I didn't get bored like I did with "The Sensorites." A few brief notes:
- Like many 6-part Hartnell stories, part 1 consists mostly of hanging around the TARDIS and then wandering around a deserted planet until the final cliffhanger when SOMETHING finally shows up.
- The acting in the historical reenactments on the Doctor's Time-Space Visualizer is really godawful.
- Peter Purves' southern accent while playing a hillbilly visiting the Empire State Building is equally atrocious. But he plays the part with such enthusiasm that I guess I can see what Verity Lambert liked about him.
- Ian gets accidentally bonked on the head by one of his friends again! First Barbara hit him with a vase in "The Romans," now Vicki nails him while trying to protect Barbara on the Mary Celeste.
It's an interesting story. And I don't mind the visual design of the Monoids so much. But the bit where Monoid 2 clearly lets slip to Dodo that they plan on killing all the humans left on the Ark has got to be one of the dumbest villain moments in TV history.
Dodo seems to be having a lot of fun in this story and Hartnell seems to be a bit stronger on his lines than usual, especially in Part 1. But Steven seems to be delivering all of his lines through clenched teeth.
Steven still seems to be clenching his teeth all of the time. And how did everyone become such good piano players?
Overall, I like it. But then, I tend to be a fan of the historical comedies.
"The War Machines."
Well done, although the Doctor's initial appearance investigating WOTAN doesn't make much sense. It would have made sense in a later story, when we could assume that either UNIT assigned the Doctor to investigate or he used the psychic paper to bluff his way into the WOTAN offices. And I don't think they ever get around to explaining exactly how it is that WOTAN knows who the Doctor is or what TARDIS stands for.