Friday, July 10, 2009

SS2 - The Wheel in Space 2

Just like The Web of Fear a couple stories back, The Wheel in Space staggers a bit in momentum thanks to the vacation of Patrick Troughton. (Just how many vacations does he get? It's becoming as bad as John Wiles-era William Hartnell). Instead of involving our main character in the story, we have to lay him up in a bunk or a hospital bed for an entire episode while we are slowly introduced to the (surprise) multicultural crew of an isolated station about to come under attack by an alien force.

One of the crew members that we meet is the librarian, Zoe, who is about to become the new female companion on the show. The recipe for Zoe's character combines precisely the worst aspects of companions from the years to come. She's a know-it-all smartass like K-9, a young genius like Adric, and utterly humourless and logical like Nyssa. Zoe is a disaster waiting to happen. Why, then, does she (eventually) succeed in becoming a particularly memorable companion? Is it Wendy Padbury's acting ability? Her character development? That shot from The Mind Robber?

If I'm making this story out to be less than stellar, it really isn't that bad, mostly because I have a penchant for stories set in space stations or space ships. When I was a kid, and I wanted to build my own Doctor Who adventures out of Lego, spaceships would be the easiest to build. Cybermen, on the other hand, were difficult to realize, mostly because I had to wrap up Lego minifigures in tin foil and sticky tape. Fitting, that, as it's how the real ones were made, too...


Her Bloginess said...

I blame Zoe's popularity on how cute (looks-wise) she seems, and the dresses they had her wear. An example of this are her scenes in the first few episodes of The Invasion, where she's posing for that photographer what's-her-face. That said, I consider The Wheel in Space to be one of her worst, partially because she is such a smart-ass (thankfully they toned that down in later ones.

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