Episode 032 – “The Unwilling Warriors”

So I guess I can kind of see the whole Ood thing in the design of the Sensorites. If I squint hard. And get drunk.

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I was going to make a reference to the Great Carnac, but would any of you get it?

I find the sci fi idea of psychic powers to be really stupid. It’s basically magic, with no real explanation, and it turns up just about everywhere. How would it evolve? How would it function? What mechanism in the brain would make it work? Never explained. Just magic. So annoying.

The Sensorites themselves are kind of dull so far. But again, at least it’s different from much of what else was being done with sci fi on TV at the time.

“Molybdenum”. The man can’t say “anti-radiation gloves”, but has no trouble with molybdenum.

Hmmm. One of the astronauts looks like Richard Hammond

Next time: “Hidden Danger”

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Episode 031 – “Strangers in Space”

So we leave the historicals for a while and move fully back into the realm of science fiction.

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There is a nice moment at the beginning where our team takes a moment to recap their adventures, and realize just how far they’ve come and how much they’ve changed. I like that. From there we go to a strange spaceship full of dead people and an explanation of self-winding watches.

I also kind of like the idea that we’re far enough into the future that things are starting to get  very different from the present. One thing I’ll never fault the old series for is their attempts at showing very different futures and alien worlds. Compare that to a lot of other shows, where someone might also a few Chinese characters on the side of a space craft (with no Chinese characters actually in the space craft), and call it a day.

Apropos of nothing, but I just remembered that the Ood were supposed to be from near the Sense Sphere.

Man, that final shot…

Next time: “The Unwilling Warriors”

My Thoughts on Story 006 – “The Aztecs”

I’m really becoming enamored of John Lucarotti. I wasn’t overly impressed by “Marco Polo”, but here he proved he can turn out an excellent historical story.

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There is nothing that really fails in this story. It’s intelligent and interesting. Even the bad guy is someone you can understand, and by the standards of his culture, he’s not that bad at all.

The acting is also quite superb. Hartnell is never better than he is here. He’s as convincing when dressing down Barbara as he is when flirting with an Aztec woman.

And speaking of Barbara, how great is Hill’s performance in this story? She really is a better actress than she’s generally given credit for, and this story proves it.

All in all, if you want a good, solid, accessible First Doctor story to show someone, you probably can’t do better than this.

Cast
Others
Production
Writer John Lucarotti
Director John Crockett
Script editor David Whitaker
Producer Verity Lambert
Mervyn Pinfield (associate producer)
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Richard Rodney Bennett
Production code F
Series Season 1
Length 4 episodes, 25 minutes each
Date started 23 May 1964
Date ended 13 June 1964

Next episode: “Strangers in Space”

Next story: “The Sensorites”

Episode 030 – “The Day of Darkness”

And so our visit to Aztec Mexico winds down. Will our heroes live? Will the bad guys be punished? Will we get an interesting, but somehow lacking, fight scene?

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Take a wild guess.

Ian’s dilemma with the water is resolved annoyingly quick. He gets his feet damp, and that’s about it. I’m ok with them not dragging it out, but really?

So now Tloxotl starts to get really evil. The amusing thing is that he and the TARDIS Team both want the same thing: for our heroes to leave. If only he knew how easy that could be to accomplish.

Again I do remain impressed by the costumes in this story. They really are well done and look fantastic. I imagine they were probably great in color.

The final scene where the Doctor and Barbara chat about what happened is rather nicely done. I’m glad they took some time to discuss things.

And now, on to our next story!

Next time: “Strangers in Space”

Episode 029 – “The Bride of Sacrifice”

More garden-based conspiracies. Maybe this idea will catch on after all!

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Though I suppose that in a pinch, you could just conspire openly.

I do find many things about this episode to be interesting. I like the theological discussions, for example. We all know that Western religions have their little sects and divisions, but it’s neat to be reminded that other religions did, too.

The highlight of this episode, of course, is the Doctor and his Aztec lady sharing cocoa. The two actors have a lovely chemistry, and it’s wonderful fun to see them on screen together.

I’m also quite pleased at Ian and Barbara’s conversation about Aztec culture and religion. It’s also nice to see her finally learning that doing the right thing for the right reasons doesn’t always work.

Tloxotl is an interesting character, and I haven’t said as much about him as I should. Not really evil, per se, and practically a good guy by the standards of his religion, and like any well-written villain, he believes he’s the hero of the story. I like that he’s basically right about everything he says with regard to false gods. He is, however, a dick.

“I made some cocoa and got engaged.” Such a wonderful line, and such a great delivery.

Next time: “The Day of Darkness”

Episode 028 – “Warriors of Death”

So, apparently it’s a bad idea to impersonate a god, even by accident, and it’s a really bad idea to interfere with native culture. Lesson learned!

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Conspiring in a garden? I don’t see it catching on.

Another thing we learn here is that Ian is schooled in Vulcan defense techniques. This is quite amusing, given that  Star Trek  wasn’t even in production yet.

I like that the Doctor makes it very clear that Barbara’s plan was quite literally worse than doing nothing. Not only did she fail to save the man, but she humiliated him, cost the team their status, and put everyone in danger.

Hartnell really does some of his best acting of the series in this story, especially in this episode. He takes Babs to task and flirts with an Aztec pensioner with equal aplomb.

There’s an impressive amount of Aztec cultural information transmitted in this episode, which I rather like. Clearly much research was done, and it shows. The increased budget shows here, too. People praise “Marco Polo”, and rightly so, but this story also has much going for it when it comes to production design.

On a side note, would someone out there please get the video of Ian and Ixta fighting and overlay the Trek  fight music? It needs to happen.

Next time: “The Bride of Sacrifice”

Episode 027 – “The Temple of Evil”

Scheming priests, strong warriors, and a city of noble savages! It’s time to set the Wayback for Aztec Mexico, where live is cheap, blood flows like blood, and a white person is mistaken for a deity.

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Something that will never backfire on them.

The story moves very quickly. Just within the first episode, we have a brief discussion of Aztec history and culture, and Barbara, as mentioned, bring mistaken for a goddess. Due to that status, she quickly decides to end the practice of human sacrifice, and we get our first conversation on changing history.

Barbara’s attempt at doing so fails, and does so rather dramatically. I like that, and I like the notion that one can’t change history. Yes, this is something the show only pays attention to when convenient, but I’m glad they addressed the issue early on.

In the meantime, how great is Tlotxl? Shakespeare would have loved this guy.

Next time: “The Warriors of Death”