At the http://tardiseruditorum.blogspot, the writer lays out in detail WHY this story plunged so far in quality from the one before it.
    Here's my own comments in response to various ones there...
Nice rundown on the problems.

"And an eight year old probably has the length of patience identical to the length of time each of those idea are explored in."

I was just saying earlier today that when I was a kid, I always preferred half-hour shows. Less attention-span. Hour shows always got boring!!! Notable exceptions: THE OUTER LIMITS (which was just scary as hell) LOST IN SPACE (I related to Will Robinson and wished I had a family like his), and STAR TREK (which got even better as I got older).

I developed my own crackpot theory about this. It has to do with how long it takes blood to circulate in your body, as far as how fast or slow time seems to pass to a person. Younger, shorter, smaller, faster circulation, time slows down, shorter attention span. See? Probably crazy... but what if it's not?

"another victim of the cancellation of The Witch Lords"

Thanks to the previous post, I noticed something... the way people keep being taken over, as the infection spreads, is like a latter-day vampire story. Beginning at least with COUNT YORGA VAMPIRE, some vampire films had people become vampires INSTANTLY on being bitten, rather than going thru a warped parody of the Jesus thing about dying and rising from the dead on the 3rd day. Also, Dr. Marius' accent & personality is not that far removed from Frank Finlay's version of Van Helsing! the story begins and ends in a dark, dingy place (Castle Dracula?) while the middle section is at a medical facility (Dr. Seward's Sanitarium?). Coincidence? Hmm...

"K9 is fantastic: a sarcastic robotic dog."

I LOVE K-9. Crazy but true: the first "Doctor Who" convention I went to in Philly, before things really exploded, the 2 guests were Terrence Dicks and John Leeson!

Iain Coleman:
"the spacecraft model work is surprisingly good"

Actual Gerry Anderson leftovers from "1999". Not bad. Until that one ship wobbles back-and-forth like in a kid's cartoon just before it crashes. (Can't be an accident. "HEY, KIDS! WATCH THIS!")

"I had no interest in Star Wars either"

Unless I'm mistaken-- ah yes, October 1977-- this debuted 5 MONTHS after STAR WARS opened. Sheesh. Which in some people's minds, probably made it look worse than it was.

William Whyte:
"a noticeable structural similarity to The Deadly Assassin"

Fascinating. Hadn't noticed that before.

Wm Keith:
"Episode one, with its infections, possessions, and cold-blooded killing, is very, very scary, if you don't know what's coming next. As a child, I was so terrified by episode one that I opted not to watch the rest of the story."

Yes... which makes the look and tone of the rest of the story quite jarring, by comparison. I suppose what was needed here was a "hospital" that looked more like (dear God, dare I say it?) --"TERMINUS".
Further... I can believe that Louise Jameson put her foot down when they did "HORROR OF FANG ROCK". Baker seemed to treat her with a lot more respect in that. He treated her with virtually NO respect in this! In fact, he seemed, especially in part 3 (the "clone" Doctor) to be totally over-the-top when it came to rudeness. It hit me, watching it tonight-- "My God-- it's COLIN Baker!!" (Either that, or William Hartnell from "AN UNEARTHLY CHILD".)

There were jokes at Leela's expense all the way thru this. Like when Marius would like to figure out why she's immune... "Sorry?" "Yes, perhaps it is a matter of intelligence..." (Surprisingly, they DO find out it's something in her bloodstream-- but never go into enough detail to even bother spelling out what it is.)

I almost found myself wishing she'd held onto that green jumpsuit for later "space" stories-- but definitely, without the hat.

"Moffat understand, as all the best horror movie writers, that you leaven the horror with humor and you control the level of tension within the episode. That is why the best horror has always treaded closely to being so OTT."

You have no idea how GOOD this makes me feel. I recently (almost unintentionally) wrote my first novel-- a horror story-- and a good friend pointed out that the first 2 chapters felt like something out of Abbott & Costello or SCOOBY-DOO. I told him, I knew what terrible things were coming, and wanted it to have "balance".

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Watched this agian, a few thoughts below:


1)The Bristol Boys are back, introducing their most famous contribution to Doctor Who.. The disk on this has an option to watch the story with CGI-enhanced effects.  It's an entertaining gimmick, although the original effects were good enough that the CGI stuff isn't as much of an enhancer as they were for say, "Day of the Daleks".


2)We open with yet another re-vamped console room -  I gather that the wooden one warped while in storage. Shame, I rather liked it.


3)Ah, the ubiquitous Michael Sheard as Lowe. Sheard was practically a semi-regular!


4)The "futuristic" spelling was an interesting idea, but it came off as kind of goofy.  "Imurjinsee egsit", indeed!


5)Leela's shown practicing writing he rname and readiing signs and such - just a little hint that the Doctor's been educating her.  she may as well learn to write "Cassandra", since she spends the whole story beign right about everything and being ignored.


6)Frederick Jaeger returns, this time as Professor Marius. He manages to avoid being too much of a goofy Germanic stereotype.


7)And the first words spoken by K-9 are "Affirmative, Master."  I always liked K-9 as a character, but I understand that the prop was murder to work with.


8)The Swarm is an interesting enemy - a virus that can affect both organic brains and computers!  That's John Leeson doing double duty as the voice of the Nucleus, as well as that of K-9.


9)I remember watching this as a kid and thinking, "Even I know that cloning doesn't work that way!"  Looking at it again, I see that they at least paid lip service to the idea that it wasn't really cloning, but a sort of duplication, which might explain how they managed to "clone" Leela's knife and Lowe's blaster.  Still scientific nonsense, though.


10)The Doctor apparently has a breathable atmosphere inside his brain - which I guess makes him an airhead!


11)If you watch the bit where K-9 blasts away a chunk of wall, it's pretty obvious that the wall was pre-cracked.


12)The Phagocytes remind me of the balloon things from The Prisoner. Holy crap, those things used to freak me out.


13)Some fun quotes:

  • "Contact has been made."  I wish it hard occurred to me to take note of how many times this was said in the story. Rather alot, really.
  • "Around 5,000 A.D. The was the year of the Great Breakout..." Kind of inconsistent with the fact that Earth had already had an Empire in the 2700's, but, oh, well, maybe humanity retreated back to Earth after the Empire fell.
  • "Some of my best friends are humans. But when they get together in large numbers, other life forms sometimes suffer."
  • "I'm not ashamed of what I am, and I tell you, Doctor, I can smell danger."
  • "Place of origin?"  "Gallifrey." "Ireland?"  "I expect so."  Wow, that joke got more mileage than I remembered.
  • "I've never been inside anybody's head before." 
  • "I think I told them my liver was disintegrating, I think."
  • "Sometimes my brilliance astonishes even me."
  • "Why don't we just blow up Titan?"  Blow it up real good!
  • "Shall we try uisng our intelligence?"  "Well if you think that's a good idea."  Love that line.
  • "I only hope he's TARDIS trained." Oh, shut up.



  • Part One: The Doctor prepares to shoot Leela!
  • Part Two:  The clones of the Doctor and Leela go on a fantastic voyage!
  • Part Three: The Nucleus grows into a a giant prawn!
  • Part Four: The Doctor and Leela take K-9 with them!



Another enjoyable story.  Leela really carries the story for large chunks of this.

I recently finished watching choice stories by Doctors 3-7, skipping any I didn't like. I didn't skip this one.  (In fact, I only skipped ONE Tom Baker story. And it's definitely a "good" one. I just don't like it... and, I've seen it way too many times.)

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