Doctor Who #516: The Creature from the Pit Part 1

"Stands to reason. Stupid expression, stands to reason. Why doesn't it lie down to reason? Much easier to reason lying down."
TECHNICAL SPECS: This story is available on DVD. First aired Oct.27 1979.

IN THIS ONE... The TARDIS lands on Chloris, finds a big egg shell and is captured by tumbleweeds. Romana is captured by, and escapes from, metal scavengers.

REVIEW: We know the eponymous Creature is, if not the worst, one of the worst Doctor Who monsters ever fabricated. But does that mean the whole story is bollocks? Since Part 1 doesn't feature the monster, we have a chance to find out. Open-minded we go... No, yeah, sorry, the story is, indeed, bollocks. Oh, the set and costume design is pretty cool, in an Indian style we haven't seen a lot of. I like the wolfweeds, killer tumbleweeds that respond to the crack of the Hunter's whip and smother their prey. They look a little silly, and the bit where they smother K9 is completely unbelievable, but it's a fun idea. The Medieval "engineers" and their various theories about the shell in the woods gives the Doctor the chance to be insolent, even though his theories are just as silly on paper. I like the Doctor's reaction to the cliffhanger, throwing himself into far greater danger. And I suppose there's something to be done with a planet that has little metal, setting rich aristocrats against metal-starved, grubby primitives. Those are the positives.

Unfortunately, many of the characters in the story are stupendously idiotic, which means the Time Lords may well take control of the situation, but it's hardly a feat to do so. The guards who scratch the Doctor's nose. The oddly-democratic scavengers trying to blow into Romana's dog whistle. A "Place of Death" no one has access to, except just about everybody we meet in the story. And they're not just stupid, they're all jerks as well. Who are we supposed to care for on Chloris? Everyone's an enemy, a threat, a fool, or all three. Maybe the Creature then, except fans know how THAT turns out.

In such situations, you can usually count on the regulars to keep things alive, but there are some major problems there too. The jokey opener, for example, wastes our time with unfunny bits that had nothing to the plot, and little to the themes. Time Lords reading children's books. A trunk full of souvenirs from unseen adventures, unseen because they would have been thoroughly stupid. Tonally, it makes everything that comes after part of the same silliness. How can we then take the wolfweeds or the It's Man tribe seriously? Nobody in the story does, going by the comedy stun falls and such. Lalla Ward is too pale to be wearing that costume and so much make-up, this being her least memorable look. And then you have K9... NOT voiced by John Leeson! David Brierley's perky tones are irritating and devoid of Leeson's mechanical charm. The little things that might have saved the episode just aren't present.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - Dare I say it? This episode is the pits.

0 comments:

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (52) Aquaman (70) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (30) Avengers (58) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (677) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (60) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (11) Buffy (6) Canada (70) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (55) Cat (156) CCGs (50) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3958) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1676) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (83) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (762) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (60) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (431) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (39) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (94) JSA (25) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (98) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (129) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (41) oHOTmu OR NOT? (76) Old52 (11) One Panel (290) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (76) Podcast (487) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (539) Sandman (21) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (368) Siskoid as Editor (34) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1711) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (38) Supergirl (89) Superman (1060) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (83) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (203) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (246) X-Men (102) Zero Hour Strikes (25) Zine (5)