Thursday, November 19, 2009
We first meet K-9 in this episode, otherwise known as producer Graham Williams's first and most famous attempt to take Doctor Who away from the grim, horror laden days of the Hinchcliffe era into the land of, to borrow a line from Episode Three, dreams and fantasy.
K-9's debut is by no means subtle. By the sheer nature of the character, he's obligated to give a full and detailed description of himself and his operating parameters to anyone who asks, although his master, Professor Marius, does his best to fill in any gaps in the story. How it wasn't 100% assumed by those making the programme that K-9 would be joining the TARDIS crew at the end of this adventure is beyond me. K-9 doesn't steal every scene he's in. He doesn't have to. Every one of his scenes is handed to him to do with what he pleases. K-9 acts as a know-it-all in this episode, giving everyone all the answers before anyone's even asked for them. Plus, in order to get tight two-shots involving K-9, everyone now has to kneel down to get into the same shot as K-9.
The direction from Derrick Goodwin also leaves something to be desired. Goodwin came from a background of directing sitcoms and light dramas before doing his first Doctor Who, and he was inexperienced in working on science fiction programmes. It shows. There are one or two model shots that were done in the studio, as opposed to film, which are quite poor. There's also a lack of imagination or dramatic tension to some of the scenes. Look at the resolution to the cliffhanger from Episode One. The Doctor is arguing with the Swarm in his head about whether to kill Leela or not. It could have been an intense scene, shot in a way to show the conflict between good and evil taking place in The Doctor's mind. But what to we get? A static medium camera shot of Tom Baker standing still while the voices of The Doctor and the Swarm are dubbed over it.
Boring, boring, boring. Kind of like the episode itself.
Posted by Steven at 12:46 PM