Tuesday, May 19, 2009

T4 - The Exploding Planet

I spent the whole fourth episode of Galaxy Four waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for a twist to reveal itself. I mean, I do like the fact that it's the strange looking Rills who are the philanthropists and the "beautiful" Drahvins are the ones looking to ruin it for everyone. But these details are sorted out so relatively early in the story that you'd have to think, for dramatic purposes, that a last minute twist would make things interesting.

But it never happens. To borrow a phrase from the programme's future, the Rills are about as truthful, honest, and boring as they come. Once this is established, The Doctor and his friends set about helping the Rills fix their space ship, and the increasingly powerless Drahvins never get close to sabotaging their efforts. It reminds me of the film Star Trek: Nemesis (and you know that if I'm using that as a comparison, it can't be good) in that the main antagonist of the piece gets progressively weaker as the story goes along. Will our enemy manage to be victorious over our heroes? Or will our heroes simply out wait our enemies as they get weaker and eventually win the day?

So, in conclusion, not the best way to end a producer's tenure, as this was Verity Lambert's last story as producer of Doctor Who. (At least it was supposed to be if Louis Marks could have written FOUR good episodes of Planet of Giants. More about that in the next entry). It was certainly an interesting era that probably started off better than it ended. There were also some surprisingly adult themes and scenes that occurred in the show during Lambert's run that would never be touched on again in the show's history.

Lambert's era was also a time of great stability behind the scenes, whereas the two years to follow would be rife with change...


osirun said...

It's very easy to look at a 60's story and think of it as hailing from some prehistoric time when the art of writing a script had not yet been perfected... but I'm still sure that Galaxy Four was a bit shoddy. You have a potentially great premise of "who do we trust, beauty or the Beast?", but as you point out the Drahvins are obviously up to no good from the minute they open their mouths. If anyone had cared enough it could have been quite a tense story of misplaced trust in appearances, but no, quality control is completely absent and instead of ostensibly lovely Drahvins slowly revealing themselves to be sinister, we get a complete non-plot padded out by lots of fooling around. This must have looked so good on paper, why did no one bother to make it work?

osirun said...

Having said that, "The Exploding Planet" is a truly awesome name for an episode, no?

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