Friday, August 14, 2009

BBB6 - Doctor Who and the Silurians 6

The introduction of the plague released by the Silurians is a stroke of genius, giving the story a new thrust and doing its best to justify the seven-episode length of this serial. There are some genuinely horrific scenes of characters succumbing to the plague and dying, particularly those involving Masters and Dr. Lawrence.

Unfortunately, some of the least exciting television or film to watch is that of scientists and the like working hard to cure a plague. It happened in Doctor Who once before in The Sensorites, where the portrayal of The Doctor working hard to solve the poisoned water problem was achieved through a musical montage with several dissolves thrown in for good measure. In this episode, we see every aspect of The Doctor's efforts, including several good shots of him preparing slides, adjust magnification on the microscope, and so forth. Exhilarating. While it might not have been that much fun to watch, biology teachers around England at the time were delighted, and were no doubt greeted by a few more attentive students at Monday morning's classes.

Another less successful aspect about this story is the Silurians themselves. Despite an impressive head design, the join between headpiece and body is quite apparent (glaringly, in some scenes), but the most annoying quality about the Silurians is their movements when they are speaking. There's only a minimal amount of "lip" movement that the costumes provide, so, instead, the actor inside each Silurian costume has to bob his head back and forth to indicate when he is speaking. I think the actor playing the Young Silurian must have given himself whiplash by the end of Episode Six...


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