Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Liveblog: The Leisure Hive, episode 2

Credits: Watching them again, they seem much cleaner, brighter - a credits sequence for the video tape era.  It was the source of an interesting, but friendly, disagreement between Jacqueline Hill (initial companion Barbara Wright, and Lexa in the following serial Meglos) and First Doctor William Hartnell - he wanted the series modernised, shot in colour and made much more visually impressive while she felt the series was much better suited to dark angles and mystery.  I can completely accept both points of view - with the romantic in me probably siding with Miss Wright.

Post-reprise: I'm going to go on about, I can tell, but the music really is very intrusive as Pangol goes to the control panel.

2:00:  Suddenly there's another re-use of the same earth shuttle arriving.  At least Lovett Bickford is getting good use from expensive model effects.

2:10:  You can tell that Baker is ill - his hair doesn't have nearly the same spring as in past episodes.  It was about this time that unsavoury rumours began circulating as to the reasons behind his illness, and Matthew Waterhouse can distinctly remember Baker so ill on the set of State of Decay that he had to be fed baby food by Lalla Ward - who he had already dated and broken up with.  His face looks incredibly drawn and his hair isn't that of the Baker we all remember.

3:40:  That's not a convincing answer from Hardin - a flinch, then "Well, there may be certain adjustments...".  If Mena's half the businesswoman we think she is, then that's something a good CEO (or, to be honest, even a bad one) picks up on before you can say "tachyon".

4:20:  There's something wonderfully aristocratic about Lalla Ward, both in her demeanour and the delivery of her lines. Very upper crust (from which she did in fact hail).  The sort of gal you expect to end up marrying an eminent scientist.

(Pauses video.  Take a shufti at that bouffant in the 1990s!!  That fringe has been teased enough to change schools!)

5:00:  At the moment, the Foamasi are just being generically mysterious.

5:30:  It's a wonderful scene, this.  Where they discuss the effects of nuclear war on the planet and segue into a homily about pacifism.  An interesting point, ensuring each race understands "just what it's like to be a foreigner".  The Doctor has hardly been a pacifist though - in the second serial, he was forced to incite a culture into open warfare against their oppressors.  It's been a bit of a recurring theme throughout 49 years...

5:35:  Mena doesn't emote much, does she?

7:30:  A nice ageing process on Mena as the first of her pods departs.  Adrienne Corri actually quite resembles Anneke Wills a lot in her bone structure and magnificent swept-up beehive wig.  At least, I hope it's a wig!

9:00:  For a guy who's really book-smart, not seeing the dangers the Doctor and Romana, alleged experts on time, helping is really quite short sighted.  You can't call it a good, though, because through my wife's work I've met several academics who, while experts in their particular field, couldn't tie their shoelaces let alone identify confunding factors in their experiments.  I'm convinced academics are why velcro was invented.

10:22:  Hardin, not a minute after being told to cover up, admits to Romana.  That's the beauty of a companion like her, Jo Grant or any of the new series bods - they allow access that the larger-than-life Doctor wouldn't otherwise be able to access unless performing a considerable browbeating. Romana I couldn't do that, and Adric?  Hell, no.

10:45:  I've just noticed that Stimson's wearing a Nehru suit.  Although we already know he's morally dodgy, this confirms that he is in fact pure evil.  Only bad guys wear Nehru jackets in Who.

12:00:  Not much happening this episode, is there?  We're over half-way through and there's nothing going on - except for a skin-suit of Klout just discovered in the cupboard.

12:08:  Bickford's been very good, but closing in on an empty eye in the skin suit makes one wonder what the Foamasi are using for eyes in said suits?  Their own are red, and their bodies are said (in the New Adventures based upon fanboy theories that spewed from this serial) to compress, rather than change.  Perhaps there's something to my chameleon comment from last night?  (Self-congratulation time over now)

12:45:  The only fatter - and more impractical - aliens I can think of in Who history are the Abzorbaloff and the Giant Gastropods.  That's one hell of a Foamasi cankle.

14:45:  How the hell can the Doctor be in the same room as a murdered man without pausing to notice the crowd of yellow togas surrounding him?  Or they not notice him?  I mean, I get how with Matt Smith his character probably could, but Baker?  He was the second most alien Doctor there's been (Smith wins this in a canter) but never missed things.  A nice visual, but impractical.

15:00:  The helmet of Theron, made entirely of polystyrene.  No wonder they lost the bloody war.

17:00:  Congratulations Hardin & Romana!!  You've managed to reverse time, something we saw only last season in City of Death, only three hundred years earlier by a guy working in a basement being told when to eat and sleep (brings to mind - another shortsighted academic type.  We love a cliche!).

17:15:  Except for that.  Experiments always break when the Doctor's not involved.  Not even other Time Lords can do stuff that he can.  This is why Nathan-Turner made the decision to replace him with Davison who just oozed fallible.

18:15:  Because when you don't have any lab rats, you just use prisoners, right?  There's gotta be something about inalienable human/Time Lord rights in a treaty somewhere...

19:30:  Remarkable makeup job to make Tom Baker age like that.  Looking at the credits, it's down to the magic of the impressively-named Dorka Nieradzik (on whom there was a magnificent special feature in the 1983 special Radio Times magazine - strange what you remember from childhood).

Episode runs a little short this week at 20:45.  Just sayin'.

Rating: 3

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