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Doctor Who Original Series 09 - Planet of Giants [Aug. 26th, 2009|11:06 am]

Okay, wrote this ages ago, but only just getting it up (oo-er) now.

2.01 Planet of Giants Pt. 1 - Planet of Giants Written by Louis Marks, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield

The TARDIS crew find themselves reduced in size to about an inch.

I remember liking this story on previous viewings, but this time around it seems a little slow. An okay starting episode, though the production design is quite reasonable as the travellers explore their surroundings and come to realise what has happened to them. The other storyline with Forester and Farrow seems a little clumsy, but does its job. Not a bad start, but mostly saved by the novelty of the idea more than anything.


"This isn't business, this is science." - Frank Crawshaw (Farrow)

2.02 Planet of Giants Pt. 2 - Dangerous Journey Written by Louis Marks, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield

Ian and Barbara get taken to the laboratory, and the Doctor and Susan follow.

Better paced than the first episode, with more nice props. The giant fly is especially nice. For the day, that range of movement was a major technical achievement, and I certainly didn't notice any obvious wires. That said, not a lot happens.


"The experiment must go through, it's too important! Nothing else matters! Not if we can save people from dying of starvation!" - Reginald Barratt (Smithers)

2.03 Planet of Giants Pt. 3 - Crisis Written by Louis Marks, Directed by Mervyn Pinfield

The Doctor and his companions must find a way to stop the production of DN6.

A reasonably fast paced finish, though the defeat of the bad guys is reached through what seems like a fairly unlikely coincidence.


"Yes, that it! We'll cause trouble! Start a fire, my boy!" - William Hartnell (Doctor Who)

Planet of Giants 6/10

The base idea for this tale dates back to the earliest story ideas of the series. It was one of the very first ideas put forward regarding situation the travellers would find themselves in.

The production team made a very wise decision with Planet of Giants. It was originally filmed as a four part story, and deciding that it dragged too much, they edited it down to a three parter. Given that I found it to drag a little this viewing, I can't imagine how slow it was originally.

The story isn't bad, and some of the production design is great. Forester comes across as fairly two dimensional, and Smithers, while passionate, obviously isn't much of a scientist to have worked on this project for so many years and missed what should have been a very clear and obvious issue. That said, it was the sixties and TV could get away with ignoring such issues a lot easier than they could these days with a better educated public.

Over all, not a bad story, a bit slow, but a nice idea and some nifty props help elevate it a little.

[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-26 02:10 am (UTC)
I've always thought the base premise of the story is ridiculously hokey, and was never surprised it took them a year to get around to actually making it. It's not a story I love.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-26 02:29 am (UTC)
It's the elements like the scale difference affecting sound and the like that appeal to me - not something I've seen done elsewhere. And it's one of those ridiculously insane ideas for the show even to attempt on their budget, and I always love it when it tries that, even when I don't like the results.

I don't think it's a bad story, but it's not that good either, hence the low score. I'm just glad they made the decision to cut out an episode! If only they had made a similar decision with Time and the Rani, but cut 75 minutes from the story. Hell, 25 minutes of that alone would have been mixed metaphors and pratfalls by McCoy!

RTD only has a small amount of time left to produce a story worse than TatR, will he succeed?
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-26 02:38 am (UTC)
Dude, pay attention: he produced "The Doctor's Daughter". The moment she stepped out in a tight t-shirt wearing makeup in a warzone and said "hello dad!", Doctor Who had its worst-ever episode.

Yes, even worse than whatever alternative suggestion you're about to mention. : )
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-26 03:18 am (UTC)
I don't have an alternative, but this is the thing, Doctor's Daughter doesn't bother me with regards to the actual daughter aspect. Seriously. Maybe on a future rewatch it'll piss me off, but I've seen it twice and that stuff is less annoying to me in the episode than -

- The fish that drowns in water (yes, I know they claim that it was sucked into quicksand, but if it's not obvious onscreen, then it fails)

- The fact they need warriors but don't copy Martha or Donna, without any explanation or excuse as to why not

- The one older semi-clone dude who is in charge makes no fucking sense in the context of the seven day war and the story as told.

- The Doctor's whole 'let this society be based on a man that wouldn't' speech

There's doubtless other stuff that annoys me that I haven't thought of, but from a base story point-of-view, the daughter is the least of the problems.

In terms of episodes that piss me off more than DD, Journey's End for lots of reasons. Six people to control a TARDIS, the daleks being remote controlled by Donna, the hypocrisy of the Doctor being angry about Doctor 2's genocide regarding the daleks, Rose, and Donna's demise being just some of what annoys me about it.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-26 01:50 pm (UTC)
I would actually really like a return of the Hath, despite hating the rest of the episode. They were that kind of wacky alien you only ever get on Doctor Who - and occasionally in the background in Babylon 5.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-26 02:15 pm (UTC)
I like the Hath. I also like the Tritovores from Planet of the Dead.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-26 02:23 pm (UTC)
I liked them until they pointlessly killed them.

No wait, I still liked the Tritovores - it was the writing I didn't like.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-27 01:43 am (UTC)
Killing both Tritovores was lazy writing. In the Confidential Davies talks about how if the Tritovores had lived it made things too complex because they'd get back to Earth, UNIT would want them, etc.

Yes, because it was already such a multi-layered and complex story, another layer would have killed it. Dude, if you want to be a lazy writer, that's fine, but don't make excuses!

I think if a Tritovore had lived it would have made things way more interesting. People on the bus freaking, UNIT freaking and waving guns about, and the Doctor stepping in both times to calm the situation in different ways. And the Doctor could get it back home. Which would have been awesome, because he says no to Christina, but yes to the giant fly!
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-27 01:50 am (UTC)
I don't think there's a scenario that could have played out in Planet of the Dead with the giant fly person that wouldn't have improved it.
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From: jblum
2009-08-26 08:14 am (UTC)
I don't think any new-series one-parter can be as horrific in its badness as an old-series disaster, simply by virtue of being over in one week rather than four!

Can you imagine the gutwrenching awfulness of sitting through the closing credits of (say) "Armageddon Factor" part two, and realising that there's a whole month of this left to come?...
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-26 01:43 pm (UTC)
That's just how bad The Doctor's Daughter is to me. I'd happily take weeks of Underworld even, rather than 45 minutes with "hello dad" and sinking fish people.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-26 02:19 pm (UTC)
Been a long time since I last saw Armageddon Factor, but I can't say I remember it being so bad. That said, I've just listened to Part One of Galaxy Four and I'm kind of dreading the next three parts. I didn't remember it being that... bland.

Hopefully the Rill will kick things up a notch.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-27 01:51 am (UTC)
I've never really liked Galaxy 4 all that much, but I do wonder if the opinion would change if I could actually see it rather than just listen to it. Seeing the Rills all obscured in mist could have been highly atmospheric.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-27 02:20 am (UTC)
It's interesting to me that the first missing non-historical grabbed me so little on audio, thus far. As a rule the historicals have fared much better even if I was unfamiliar with the events.

The six minutes that exists from part one have a mix of action and exposition, and it still failed to grab my interest. The visuals felt as bland as the story to that point.

That said, the two pictures I've seen of the Rill looked awesome. I wish there was just a little footage of the Rill, rather than the bland blondes.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-27 02:23 am (UTC)
I think the difference is that the SF stories of the first few seasons tended to rely on a sort of b-movie adventure style and the novelty of the monsters and spaceships. With the historicals they just had people to write scenes for, and as a result you get a much more well-rounded and interesting story. I think the best Hartnells stories might all be historicals, actually - Marco Polo, The Aztecs, The Massacre, The Crusade. I think the only one that doesn't really work is The Smugglers.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2009-08-27 02:53 am (UTC)
Yep, that was my thinking as to why G4 may have felt bland. With the historicals the emphasis is on character and story, with the SF tales, the emphasis is on ideas, and some of those ideas don't have much depth.

One of my big wishes is that Moffatt will produce the occasional pure historical. Can you imagine the first time that happened in the new series? Some fans would be totally confused because they'd be waiting for the monster, and in fact it's just ordinary people being monstrous!

I can't help but wonder whether Smugglers works better if you live in a country where the elements of the story actually have historical relevance.
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[User Picture]From: angriest
2009-08-27 03:00 am (UTC)
I desperately want Doctor Who to do something with Henry V.
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