1)An interesting idea, here, in which an attempts is made to depict a truly alien society.  The first episode is quite eerie despite featuring only the regulars and a few Zarbi.  The music is very distinctive in this.  While I enjoy the work of Murray Gold immensely, I do think that the new show loses something by having all of the music done by one guy only. The "blurred" camera effect was driving me nuts - I kept wondering if my eyes were messed up.

 

2)Much is made of the Doctor's ring being of great value, but I don't recall much more being done with it.  Probably the Ring of Sauron.

 

3)I liked the conversation between Barbara and Vicki about future education - making Barbara feel like Wilma Flintstone. Just as well, since Vicki didn't get to do too much else in this. Nice "possessed arm" acting from Hill in the first episode. I gather that the final episode was running a bit short, which is why Ian goes on about his tie with the Doctor - they needed to kill time. The business with the "Atmospheric Density Jackets" was amusing.

 

4)As for the aliens:

The Zarbi: Were essentially pantomime ants with a tendency to bump into the camera.

The Larva Guns : An interesting idea, unconvincingly executed.

The Menoptra: The most interesting of the bunch character-wise - I liked the way they couldn't pronounce anyone's name - "Heron?" In the end, too obviously people in bug-suits. The Zarbi-wrangling scenes are quite bizarre.

The Optera:  The worst of the bunch, looking like refugees from The Bugaloos.  Although Nemini sacrificing herself to plug the acid leak was a shocking moment.

The Animus: I quite liked the voice of the Animus. Again, an interesting idea not so well carried out.

The problem here is that once you've seen "The Unicorn and the Wasp", it gets much harder to suspend your disbelief watching this.

 

5)Some fun quotes:

  • "What if the power's gotten hold of the TARDIS has taken your pen?" Doctor Who and the Pen-Thieves!
  • "I hope my pants stay up." "Yes, that's your affair, not mine."  Why was Ian using his favorite necktie as a belt?
  • "I've seen a colony of ants eat their way right through a house." I've seen something similar -it's creepy.
  • "Drop this hair dryer or whatever it is."
  • "You may not believe it, but you nearly ended up as lost property. And the same to you."
  • "Zombo. It's his name. I gave it to him."  Vicki's a Rockman fan! 

  • "I'll buy you a collar for him at the next stop."
  • "A silent wall - we must make mouths in it with our weapons. Then it will speak more light."  Interesting attempt to create an alien speech pattern.

 

6)Cliffhangers:

"The Web Planet":  The TARDIS is gone!

"The Zarbi": The Animus questions the Doctor!

"Escape to Danger": Ian and Vrestin fall down a hole!

"Crater of Needles": The Zarbi close in on Barbara and the Menoptra!

"Invasion": The Doctor and Vicki get webbed!

"The Centre": None. Somewhat unusually for this period, this story des not lead into the next one. I note that the infotext points out that the next story was "The Crusaders", which was not shown in Moslem countries, who skipped ahead to "The Space Museum", so maybe the ending of this one was set up that way deliberately.

 

Overall:

An ambitious idea let down by the fact that they just didn't have the resources to do it justice.  A story I would like to see re-made with modern budget and technology.  that said, it was a bit slow-paced in parts. Like most six-parters, it could've been edited down to a four-parter without doing it much harm.

 

[Part of list of Doctor Who episodes here.]

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The problem here is that once you've seen "The Unicorn and the Wasp", it gets much harder to suspend your disbelief watching this.

On the other hand, I've now got a mental image of David Tennant in a Menoptra suit ... and I'd pay good cash money to see that.

I agree with your overall analysis.  This was ridiculously ambitious, but on the whole I give the show more points for daring to think big than demerits for not being able to completely pull it off.

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