Thursday, May 7, 2009

N3 - Escape to Danger



It was around 1965 when Bob Dylan introduced marijuana to The Beatles. I can't help but think that Dylan made a detour to Riverside Studios at around the same time and offered some of his stock to the makers of The Web Planet. These six episodes are as way out as any that were made before it, and most of what was to come after it.

When you actually sit down and watch these episodes, the plot is remarkably straight forward. The Animus has come to Vortis, empowered the Zarbi as its slave force, and is taking over the planet with some sort of webbed fungus that will eventually grow over the whole planet. In the process, the Animus has increased the gravitational pull of Vortis so much that several wayward satellites (and the TARDIS) have been drawn into the planet's orbit. Also, the Menoptra, once fellow inhabitants of Vortis, have been forced to relocate, and are trying to liberate their home planet.

It's in the execution of this where things go completely mad. Each alien race, to its credit, is completely different from one another (and we haven't even seen all of the species yet). The Zarbi are big ants who speak Radiophonics. The Venom Grubs are giant bugs that look like armadillos and have laser guns on the tip of their noses. The Menoptra are giant moths that wave their arms everywhere and just plain talk funny. The Animus appears as a giant tube and only talks to The Doctor. I can hear the backwards guitar solo from The Beatles' "Rain" cueing up as I type this...

It almost seems as if there's a scene missing in this episode. It happens after Ian escapes from the web, encounters a Menoptra coming in to land, then runs off. The next scene, he and the Menoptra (name of Vrestin) are lying on top of a rock, looking pretty relaxed and chatting calmly as the exposition starts flowing freely. Did Bob Dylan drop by here, too?

I have the feeling that this is only going to get trippier...

1 comments:

36 said...

I have a thing for the Optera, they're like comedy characters from a Dreamworks animated feature who accidentally hopped onto the set of Doctor Who (moving a bit like Tigger in a straitjacket)...

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