The Creature from the Pit (Fourth Doctor).
A good story somewhat hampered by the visual effects. I've always liked the idea of non-humanoid lifeforms, Devil in the Dark
is probably my favorite Star Trek episode, but the Doctor Who team seems to have bitten off more than they can chew this time around. The model shots of the full scale creature look excellent, especially when compared to similar shots done in the serial The Power of Kroll
, but the interactive prop just didn't seem to work. For example at the end of Part Two we're meant to think Erato is trying to eat the Doctor but it actually just looks like it's bashing him into the ground.
Romana also came across as rather stiff and aristocratic in this serial. Lalla Ward seemed to be trying to channel Mary Tamm more this time around, a complete turn around from her performance in the previous two serials. I looked up the serial on wikipedia and learned however that this was the first serial filmed for season 17 and that Ms. Ward was still trying to work out her character at the time.
David Brierley's as K-9 just doesn't have the same feel as John Leeson's. While I'm okay with the fact that the voice no longer sounds very synthetic, the performance just sounds lackluster.
Myra Frances' performance was the highlight of the serial. Her motivations were easy to understand, when your rich you want to remain so, and she had a very commanding presence. I understand the need to kill the character off but there definately seemed to be something missing in part four.
Nightmare of Eden (Fourth Doctor).
Doctor Who's first 'drugs are bad' serial, at least as far as I can remember, and it was very well done. Like The Creature from the Pit
, the alien design was somewhat poorly executed but it still worked. The model designs were excellent and most of the shots were well executed. The only one that had problems was the shot that showed both ships merged. It just looks like one is parked in front of the other.
I also enjoyed the fact that this episode was sort of a semi-sequel to Carnival of Monsters since the conecpt behind Tryst's CET machine was similar to Vorg's miniscope.
Most of the major characters had something to do in this serial and that's always a plus in my mind. The captain showed us the effects of the vraxoin, the cops motivation was spelled out as we the motivations of Professor Tryst. The only characters I believe were short-changed were Della and Stott. Neither had much of a role beyond running around and giving exposition.
The Leisure Hive (Fourth Doctor).
The beginning of the final era of the Classical Doctor Who series with Johnathan Nathan-Turner taking over the producer's chair. I was surprised however to see Barry Letts listed as Executive Producer in the credits. That said this serial had a very different feel and I can't put my finger as to why. Perhaps it was the new electronic music, perhaps it was the tone, but it just didn't seem have the same feel as the rest of Tom Baker's era.
The story itself was good but not that well developed. It felt like two different stories had been compressed together into one and the script needed to go through a few more drafts in order to make it work. First there is the story of the Foamasi and their desire to buy Argolis and then there is the story of Pangol and his desire to clone himself and begin a war of conquest. One of these stories probably would have been enough. That said, I found it interesting that the Argolin seem to have been the aggressors in their war with the Foamasi. In most sci-fi series the reptilian aliens would have been the agressors like the were in season three Enterprise. Kudos for switching it around.
Also I'm glad to see that John Leeson has come back as the voice of K-9 and that the effects crew gave him tank tracks so that he could move over obstacles. Of course he then immediately went into the water and exploded part one so that was it.