The scary one about the giant vampire... (re-posted from the blog)
Philip Sandifer:
"this keeps being true of the Nathan-Turner era. With maddening frequency it soars on advanced topics in television production while crashing and burning on the basics."

True-- TRUE!! (Vincent Price said that once.) The first one that came to mind was having the music too damn loud, except, it wasn't in this story. But it sure was in every one of the McCoy's, covering up the fact that 66% of them were better-written than anything Davison or Colin got in the writing dept. what's good's dialogue if you can't hear what they're saying?

"Even if his heights of genius are lower than those of Robert Holmes - or even of Christopher Bidmead - Terrance Dicks’s worst case scenario is still leagues above most people’s best day at the office."

Left-handed compliment, but okay. I love Dicks' work on the show. It's difficult to convince some people that "clear storytelling" is extrememly under-rated these days, amid all the writers trying too damn hard to be too damn clever. By the way, the very 1st WHO convention I went to, the 2 guests were John Leeson-- and Terrence Dicks! (What an accent on that guy.) If only I could have met him with all I've learned about him in the years since. I barely knew who he was back then.

"I always felt that this was the most thematically-consistent "regeneration" season, running with a theme of entropy/decay and rebirth that culminates in the death of Doctor 4 and his rebirth as Doctor 5 (rather than most seasons where the Doctor just has a bunch of adventures and finishes with one episode in which he just happens to regenerate)."

I agree. Which makes it all the more bizarre, considering, as far as I know, Tom Baker had no thought or intention of leaving until he was in the middle of shooting "THE KEEPER OF TRAKEN". And then, suddenly "LOGOPOLIS" became a "regeneration" story, and JNT never even had time for a proper "search". He just hired a guy he was already working with on another show at the same time. Nepotism.

"A comment which reminds me of Jim Shooter's blog: in which the former editor-in-chief of Marvel comics not only shares his anecdotes, but also analyses how American comics have - for the most part - forgotten the basics of storytelling."

A walking paradox. Shooter is so brilliant in certain areas, yet in others, he's totally lost. Simply, the last job in the world he should ever have is one where he has to deal with creative people. If he were just a writer, or, a publisher, no problem. But an editor? Disaster in capital letters.
"Anyone else see plot similarities between The Krotons and State of Decay?"

Now that you mention it... the best and the brightest are "chosen", only to be destroyed in one fashion or another. And everyone just accepts that it's the way things are.

"It certainly is a step back in terms of storytelling in places."

I dunno. Seemed to fit the story. I was remarking the other day how vastly, infinitely superior the storytelling in "MEGLOS" was to "THE LEISURE HIVE". Who'd a thunk it? Not that both scripts ddn't need work, but "MEGLOS" only appears to need work after you've really, really thought about it, while "HIVE" it's clear as you're watching that's something's dreadfully wrong.

"A lightsabre and a magic flaming sword differ in virtue of the different (albeit overlapping) bodies of tropes and narratives they invoke. One invites us to see it as a fairy tale come to life, the other invites us to see it as an extrapolation of present-day science, albeit with a fairy-tale-come-to-life flavouring."

So where does that put THUNDARR's sun-sword?
"Star Trek annoys me because I don't understand why they need a ship with rooms and furniture and whatnot. Given how the holodecks are presented, why don't you just make a ship that's one big holodeck with a warp engine attached and then reconfigure the rooms as needed?"

Hey-- that's how the TARDIS works!

My late best friend once said he thought "STATE OF DECAY" was the single best vampire story he'd ever seen. (Not sure how many he'd seen, but I'll guess he'd at least seen some clunkers.)

Aukon reminds me of 3 different characters here-- Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) during one of his "evil" phases; Oliver Reed in almost anything (including "THE BIG SLEEP"); and (when he's telling the guard to die) Count Federico (from "MANDRAGORA").

But, why, why did anyone ever think a character like Adric could ever be a good idea?

I do love how the scene of The Doctor and Romana in the cell, where he mentions Kam-Po (if not by name) mirrors the one with Jo in "THE TIME MONSTER". Then, when he's hit in the face with the door, I was reminded of how the exact same thing happened to Colin in "REVELATION".

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Watched this yesterday, just a few thoughts:


1)I hadn't realized it, but this was actually the first Doctor Who that Peter Moffatt had directed. Supposedly JNT hired him because he thought Moffatt would enjoy directing a nice gothic horror. Then Bidmead went and re-wrote the script to take all the "gothic" out, and Moffatt complained to JNT, and JNT made Bidmead put all the "gothic" back in. Waterhouse says he found Moffatt much easier to work with the Peter Grimwade. Apparently,. Moffatt hated K-9, too, which seems to be a common thing with directors.  Baker was ill during the making of this, and he and Ward weren't on speaking terms, which is why he almost never looks directly at her. This was the first story Waterhouse filmed, and apparently Ward wasn't too thrilled with him, either.


2)I thought this had a good look to it - the set design and costuming are both very good.


3)If you watch the shots when they're out in space, e-space is green.  This was done deliberately to differentiate it from n-space.


4)The actors playing the "Three Who Rule" did good jobs, managing to be both elegant and creepy.


5)Romana seems quite timorous in this - somewhat out of character.


6)Zargo's beard deserves its own spin-off series.


7)I liked the gag with the Doctor caught behind the door. I also liked the bit where he does Henry V and the bit at the end where he "reviews the troops". The peasants' reaction to K-9 was funny, too.


8)Alas, when we see the Great Vampire, it is extremely cheesy-looking. The aging effect on the Three wasn't bad, though.


9)Some fun quotes:

  • "Immature humanoid, non-hostile."  A good description of Adric.
  • "The Wasting is..the Wasting." Ooh, that's helpful.
  • "There's nothing worse than a peasant with indigestion."  Yeah, it makes us cranky.
  • "No, I'd say a sociopathetic abscess."  You would.
  • "Have you ever heard of the Brothers Grimm?"  Didn't they fight Spider-Woman at one point?
  • "I have a suspicion, but it's too horrible to think about."  Oh, you're always saying stuff like that.
  • "Only this isn't rocket fuel, it's blood."  that's nice and creepy.
  • "There are vampire legends on almost every inhabited planet."  And parts of Canada, too.
  • "Well, you know, I've nver been a great one for swarming."  Baker seems to have fallen in love with the word "swarm" in this.
  • "There was once an old hermit from the mountains of South Gallifrey."  Exit 17 off the Interstate.
  • "In the misty dawn of history..."  One occasionally gets the impresison that the Time Lords spent all of prehistory fighting ancient horrors.
  • "Inner sanctum, please."  The Great Vampire is Hiram Brown?
  • "I'm sorry, Time Lady. One of my family's died for your lot already." 
  • "Unless you aid us, we shall all be killed."  "Then die."  Good stuff.
  • "It was just a bluff." Yeah, sure, you little liar.



  • Part One: Romana sees alot of bats!
  • Part Two: Aukon welcomes the Doctor and Romana!
  • Part Three:  Camilla and Zargo attack Romana and Adric!
  • Part Four: The Doctor tells Adric he's going home!



Not bad. well-written, and very atmospheric. If only the Doctor had done a "Steven Taylor" to Adric and left him there to help clean up...

 This was the first story Waterhouse filmed, and apparently Ward wasn't too thrilled with him, either.

I've heard he mouthed off to a crew member and Lalla read him the Riot Act.


"There was once an old hermit from the mountains of South Gallifrey."

Gallifreyan limericks are too complicated.

This was the first story Waterhouse filmed, and apparently Ward wasn't too thrilled with him, either.

I've heard he mouthed off to a crew member and Lalla read him the Riot Act.


Yeah, I think it was a costume person or someone like that.

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