Sunday, 7 June 2009

Doctor Who: The Dominators

Part One

"Running aground on an atomic island isn't my idea of fun."

We've reached season six, so from now on all episodes will mostly exist. Hooray! So it's the first BBC Video release of the Troughton era (!), and it's immediately apparent how poor a condition the prints are in. It's times like this you really come to appreciate the Restoration Team. The model work is instantly impressive, though.

We can tell from very early on that this is going to be silly and fun- squabbling, moustache twirling Dominators versus several men in dresses and a rather attractive blonde. But all the same it's a relief when Zoe's finished watching The Evil of the Daleks and the TARDIS arrives, for a "nice peaceful holiday".

The Dulcians are already showing themselves to be so wet that I'm on the Dominators' side.

Part Two

"Just act stupid- if you can manage that."

I love the sight of those stumpy little Quarks walking!

Interesting that this is the first story to mention two hearts- but not in relation to the Doctor. We also get the first scream from Zoe at the end which can truly be said to be up to Victoria's considerable standards. She's settling in nicely though, a more intelligent, proactive character than Victoria but with as good a rapport with the Doctor and Jamie.

I love the Dominators' quibbling, and the way it's performed. Depth of characterisation is all well and good, but sometimes there's nothing wrong with some good old fashioned pantomime villainy! The Dulcians, meanwhile, are not only wet pacifists but, even worse, seem to have no curiosity about the world around them, and no propensity to actually think about things. The mind-bogglingly stupid manner in which a bunch of them just walk up to the Dominators' spacecraft shows that natural selection must have been on the blink on this planet.

I'm enjoying this, though, much as it's a load of old cobblers. Could this be the first "so bad it's good" story?

Part Three

"Better to do nothing than the wrong thing."

Is it just me or is it completely impossible to understand a word the Quarks are saying?

More fun and silliness this episode, with the Doctor doing a lot of gurning in the capsule while Zoe gets an early chance to show how great she is by plotting escape with Cully. And we get more evidence of natural selection being on the blink when it comes to the Dulcians as it seems they happily leave live guns lying around as exhibits in museums.

Part Four

"I warn you- a Dominator must be obeyed".

I just love the little spats between Rago and Toba. Such naturalistic dialogue. Also great are the scenes with Jamie and Cully throwing rocks at the Quarks. Of course, this doesn't actually achieve anything except to make the Dominators kill the old bloke, but still...

Part Five

"It's so simple only you could have though of it."

So, another scene with Jamie and artificial food, for the second story in a row. Heigh-ho. I love the way Jamie comes up with the plan to defeat the bad guys and save the day here though. The scenes with Jamie and Cully chucking home made bombs at the Quarks are also fun.

We see the sonic screwdriver for only the second time (although we don't really get a clear look at it) and already it's "a little more than a screwdriver."

Well, I really enjoyed that. It was very, very silly, of course, and if I was being sensible I'd point out that the guest characters were just ciphers and much of the plot made no sense. But there's nothing sensible about this story which kept me amused all the way through, and I don't care whether the humour was intentional or not. Great fun, 3/5.

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