Friday, September 11, 2009

NNN3 - The Mutants 3

Episode Three benefits from the fact that most of the scenes in it are on film in a cave. everything looks gloomy and atmospheric, there's fewer scenes with the grotesque Marshall, and The Doctor finally manages to meet up with Ky (whose name is slightly rude, I've only just noticed) and give him the mysterious capsule that the Time Lords have entrusted to him.

However, all the effort in getting some good filmed material is completely wasted when it comes time for Varan to return to his village. The village set is embarrassing. Only a small hut is seen, you can almost hear the dry ice machines spewing forth the fog, and the scene is so brightly lit that it puts most of mid-1980s Doctor Who to shame. When the camera zooms in on Varan's stunned face, you can almost see the reflection of the lights in his face. And when a cheesy voiceover happens, supposedly to represent Varan's inner monologue, that sound you hear is my 14-year-old self switching this story off. Even in my most loyal of eras of my Doctor Who fandom, I thought that Doctor Who had, at that moment, been the cheap, embarrassing programme that had been derided by my friends and family for so long. From this moment on, I would hide my Doctor Who passion from anyone who I met, and I wouldn't come out of the closet, so to speak, for a good few years afterward.

Christopher Barry continues to phone it in for this, his weakest directorial effort thus far. There is no drama in the cliffhanger for this episode at all, as Barry makes the baffling decision to shoot the final scene of our heroes in peril in long shot. The sense of danger is not made evident at all because we can't see how the characters are reacting to it. Not good.


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