Thursday, December 31, 2009

5N2 - The Leisure Hive 2

Director Lovett Bickford may have gone wildly overtime and over budget while making this story, but, even though it meant that Bickford would never work on the series again, the results proved that Bickford was precisely the right man for the job of introducing the series to the 1980s.

Bickford's direction is filmic and ambitious, with numerous shots set up as if it were for a film shoot. The results gives the story a unique, slick look that has seldom been duplicated in the series, before or since. Many shots are in tight close-up (David Haig as Pangol is a benefactor of many a shot for the show reel), yet others are shot in long shot from behind corners. Look at the scene where Mena explains the history of the Hive and the Argolin-Foamasi war to both The Doctor and Romana. All three characters are shot in profile, with only the red-orange light from the radioactive surface of Argolis serving as illumination during the entire scene. The camera never wavers throughout the entire scene. It's art house direction in a teatime science fiction drama.

The only thing that detracts from the story on a technical side is that most of the sets had ceilings, thanks to Bickford's predilection for low angle camera shots, which means that boom microphone placement was difficult. Coupled with that are the fact that most of the sets are made out of corrugated metal. All these factors combine to make a lot of the dialogue tracks sounds hollow and tinny.


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