Thursday, September 10, 2009

NNN2 - The Mutants 2

Add George Pravda to the list of actors giving bizarre (or, to use another word, terrible) performances in this story. Pravda's Jaeger is strange creature - often an ally to the Marshall, but more often complaining about him in his presence. The Marshall and Jaeger make a perfect poor man's version of Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy. Or, at least, that's what they want you to think...

What more can be said about the acting thus far in this story when the best performance in it is easily that of Geoffrey Palmer, and he gets killed off before the end of Episode One? This story is the second of three Doctor Who stories to criminally misuse an actor of Palmer's calibre. He's given precious little screen time in Doctor Who and the Silurians, has a mere cameo here, and then has an even smaller role as the Captain in 2008's Voyage of the Damned. If the new series ever lands Judi Dench to play a role, one can only hope that she makes it until at least halfway through the episode.

This story is becoming a textbook example of what happens when the writer(s) and director disagree on the direction a story should take. Writers Bob Baker and Dave Martin intended The Mutants to be a satire on the apartheid in South Africa and Great Britain's colonial system of the 19th century. Director Christopher Barry didn't like this angle, and so veered away from it as much as possible. The tattered remains of the Baker/Martin version can be seen in long winded scenes such as the one between Ky and Jo in the cave in this episode where Ky complains about the effects that Earth colonization has had on Solos and its people. Barry's focus would seem to be more on the evil machinations of the Marshall. Guess which storyline wins out in the end.


Erik said...

I'm so glad you've singled out Geoffrey Palmer for praise--one of the best actors ever to appear on Who, period. BTW, I assume Judi Dench came to mind because of the "As Time Goes By" connection.

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