Thursday, April 5, 2012

Liveblog: The Leisure Hive, episode 4

Titles:  So where were we?  Ah yes, we'd just left the aged Doctor, the French-dressed Romana and a chirruping insect to rip the face off another insect wearing a skin-suit.  Tell me, in which series could you fully expect to write an introductory sentence like that?  I love Doctor Who!

No matter what, though, I'm much more comfortable with Drs. Davison and Colin Baker in the "starfield" credits.  With Tom Baker, they just don't seem to feel right - too clean.  Tom Baker's best years were when the series had a real gritty feel to it.

Reprise: I don't get it - can the Doctor understand the Foamasi language?  And where did they find the second Foamasi?

2:32:  Unfortunte SFX there as it's obviously a mask of Klout's face that the second Foamasi is ripping off.

3:48:  C.f. The Creature from the Pit - an alien speaking with someone else's voice.  Although because there's no other distinguishing marks on the Foamasi (except for West Lodge ID badges which appear to adhere to their respective carapaces), it's a bit more confusing here.

4:12:  "The filaments will hold them [in a slightly homo-erotic/homo-androgynous embrace] until we board our shuttle".  With the Foamasi out of the picture, now it's time to focus on the madman.  Who's got such Mummy/Daddy issues that he just shoved his dying mother to the floor.  That sort of stuff gets you expelled from family reunions.

6:00:  It's a pity they've played Pangol so strongly intent that his only defence can be to plead insanity.  At least bloody Professor Zaroff wanted revenge on the world for the death of his wife and child in a car accident.

6:56:  With the line "Please get on with it, there's so little time" - and then his surreptitious escape to install the Randomiser in the Tachyon Generator, we witness again the dichotomy of the Fourth Doctor.  Since the advent of Graham Williams, he's become almost utterly incapable of displaying weakness for more than a second or two at a time.  When he does, it's elegant and telling, but is so quickly moved on from that it loses its effect.

7:54:  Isn't it enough just to save your race from certain destruction?  No?  Pangol?

8:15:  That dissolve of the sun was very "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" - in music and visuals.

9:00:  Really?  Using the red plastic men again?

9:30:  Really is a very impressive performance from Adrienne Corri; it's very Who, but it's good acting nonetheless.  It is revealing that Hardin cares so much for Mena that he's off to "rescue" her.  Perhaps there is some "biological" relationship there that's just (classily) hinted at.

11:48:  Note to Pangol: people who talk of "Nothing can stop us now" are usually quite easily stopped, as it happens.  And you're going to regret blowing up that shuttle when the Foamasi send another 2000 warheads to explode on your noggin - it won't give you much of a chance to do much in the war.  Rather an unneccessary addition to the script there - you can tell this wasn't written by Steven Moffat.

13:11:  This sequence of Pangol cloning himself reminds me of one of Tom Baker's more wacky ideas for the Doctor (probably occurred during the period between where he wanted a talking cabbage as his companion and the time he demanded - on pain of quitting - complete script and casting control) was to have the Doctor reprogram an entire robot army in his image, giving them his flaws and having them trip over their respective scarves.  Apparently he'd forgotten about The Face of Evil by this stage, where he did much the same thing only on a mental, rather than physical level.

16:06:  That's one hell of a choke hold from Hardin - works from the other side!  Unless it was an attempt at the Famous Vulcan Neck Pinch, in which case it was just crap.  One of your more unlikely Who love stories, I make this Hardin/Mena thing.

17:48:  Purple Tom Baker's clothes are purple.

17:49:  Again.

17:50:  It seems to be the the hat which really tops it off.

18:52:  Surely throwing a helmet at a viewscreen doesn't make everything all right?  And we're back to the deep, deep, deep Mena voice.  Pity it gives only lip service to her son and talks mainly of work.

18:58:  The Foamasi!!  Yay, it was written by Steven Moffat!!  The nice ones survived!  Everyone lives happily ever after!!  Woohoo!

19:19:  I'd scream too, if I had Tom Baker's 46 year-old face that close to mine.  I think now he's 78 and much more of a beloved institution, I'd be more OK with it.  He exudes a certain grandfatherly air now, that wasn't really there when he was dating his (far) younger co-star.  Oh well, if it's good for Milo and Hayden, it should be fine for Tom and Lalla.  I'm sure everything will work out swimmingly...

19:51:  Can you hear the music in the background?  A little Doctor Who theme vignette... But what about the rubbish onscreen?  At one stage the Black Guardian has enough power to stop a TARDIS in mid-flight and now he's "a cosmic hobo with ideas above his station"?  After five stories (and remarkably few Expanded Universe novels focused on this period, surprisngly enough)!  And people wonder why sometimes Who wasn't taken seriously in the 1980s!

 Rating: 3.  It doesn't have much to recommend it (PURPLE!!) but what it does, it does with a minimum of fuss and without too many holes in the plot.  Except that throwing a helmet at the screen of a tachyon generator that's set to "renew" can fix all your problems.

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