Episode 131 – “The Tenth Planet” – Part 01

And so here we are, all these months later. When I started this blog, I knew that the biggest problem I’d face would be the Hartnell years. The First Doctor was occasionally hard to be around, and the large number of missing episodes, combined with a very different style of storytelling, would, I knew, make it somewhat difficult at times.

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Then there’re the wacky costumes, the cheap sets, the wrinkled backdrops…

But now here we are, at the end. The final Hartnell story. So…let’s get started!

We start off with a multi-ethnic spaceship crew launching off and mission control tracking them. Seems like they’re doing some sort of weather thing. Interestingly, one of the astronauts looks quite a bit like Bernie Casey, but isn’t. An actor from Bermuda, apparently. Neat! We then cut to a lot of stock footage, and finally arrive at an underground base, where there’s snow and ice, and a periscope.

Yes, we’re in Antarctica, and it turns out, we’re also in 1986. Not that it looks like any version of 1986 I remember, but there you are. Armed men come out from the underground base and take our heroes below.

One of the actors is doing an American accent, and he’s doing a pretty decent one; good enough to make me wonder if he’s an actual American. There’s also an Italian who sounds like the second coming of Captain Bertoelli. The base commander is also an American, and another one with a good accent (played by a Canadian, which explains that), who takes some time to mock the Doctor’s hair.

Everyone starts running around in a panic as we find out that a new planet has just sort of appeared in the solar system. That would indeed be a good reason to run around in a bit of a panic.

Up on the spacecraft, our astronauts are attempting some complex maneuvers, and wind up spinning out of control. We get some stock footage that was obviously taken from one of the early space missions showing the rockets firing. Neat!

“Space fatigue”. I think I prefer “space…madness…!” when it comes to my fictional maladies.

We peer at the strange planet through a telescope, and tit turns out to be the Earth, completely upside down. This is one of the more eye-rolling aspects of this story, and it really makes no sense. This is a second planet that used to orbit the sun on the same path as Earth. And it therefore looks the same, only upside down. Because…ugh. God, what a fucking stupid concept.

The Doctor somehow knows all about this odd planet, and voices his knowledge. This, of course, makes him a suspect in everything that’s going on.

We then see a spaceship landing on the ice and follow a couple people from the base as they go out to investigate the Doctor’s TARDIS. And then…the Cybermen! They show up, karate chop the soldiers to death, and look generally menacing, while also having human hands, which is kind of creepy.

Next time: Part two!

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