My Thoughts on Story 008 – “The Reign of Terror”

The one thing I’ll take away from this story more than anything else? Oh, sure, there were cautions on revolution, and lessons on history, but one thing sticks in my mind above all others.

the-reign-of-terror-the-doctor-1
Dat hat, doe…

In general this is a good story, with some excellent acting, some great sets, and interesting characters, all put into a fascinating historical settings.

As with the other long stories we’ve seen so far, this one does suffer a bit due to the length. But it actually doesn’t suffer all that much. It wanders and meanders a bit, but overall holds up much better than things like “Marco Polo” and “The Sensorites”

However.

Much as I appreciate having animated versions of the missing episodes, and much as I’m very much happier to have those than simply have reconstructions (“Marco Polo” again), I really can’t get past the fact that the animation wasn’t very well-done in the two missing episodes. At a distance, the clearly rotoscoped animation works quite well, but once you get into close up, where everyone’s cheeks and eyebrows seem to have their own agendas, it really falls apart. Of course, as mentioned, i’ll take even poor animation over none. It really is amazing the difference it makes.

The only other complaints I have is that there were two characters who were largely absent and needed to have greater roles in the story. The first is Susan, who really only has cameo appearances. She could have been completely excised from the story without changing anything, and that’s never good.

The other, oddly, is Robespierre. I would have loved to have seen more, and I would have particularly liked to have had some scenes where he’s justifying his actions and beliefs in a credible fashion. Something to muddy-up the waters would have been quite welcome.

But otherwise, this remains a solid, decent, entertaining historical, and while it isn’t perfect, I quite liked it.

Cast
Others
Production
Writer Dennis Spooner
Director Henric Hirsch
Script editor David Whitaker
Producer Verity Lambert
Mervyn Pinfield(associate producer)
Executive producer(s) None
Incidental music composer Stanley Myers
Production code H
Series Season 1
Length 6 episodes, 25 minutes each
Episode(s) missing 2 episodes (4 and 5)
Date started 8 August 1964
Date ended 12 September 1964

Next episode: “Planet of Giants”

Next story: “Planet of Giants”

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