August 11, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Exploding Planet”

The First Doctor. "Galaxy 4," Final Episode.

So, yeah, that more or less went the way I thought it would.

The final part of the serial went off the way it probably should.  The Rills would gladly take the Drahvins along, but the Drahvins won’t go along with that.  Steven, who spent less time with the Rills, doesn’t trust them at first, but he later changes his mind after talking to them for a while.  The Rills even appear on screen as some sort of squat warthog people.  Vicki doesn’t freak out, one Chumbley is sacrificed to make sure the Doctor and his friends can get back to the TARDIS in time, leaving the surviving Drahvins to be blown to bits when the planet, you know, explodes.

Heck, the story even says bluntly how you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover when the ugly Rills turn out to be more peaceful and benevolent than the more human-like Drahvins.  Heck, to the show’s credit, Steven’s distrust of the Rills has nothing to do with their appearance but more he wants to know how he can tell if they don’t suck as much as the Drahvins.

On a more nuanced show, that would be a good observation.  This is early Doctor Who, and it was aimed more at younger viewers, so having that many shades of gray would probably have been asking too much.

Still, I was reminded how slow the First Doctor’s adventures generally were.  This is four episodes long, and not a whole lot happens.  I’m willing to wager the animation makes the Chumbleys a lot more impressive than they were in reality, but that may be about all.  With the Second Doctor story, the characters were generally doing interesting stuff in the background.  Not so much here.  The most interesting little bit of background action may have been Vicki giving Steven a haircut in the opening minutes of the first episode.  It doesn’t help that this animation is not exactly great for stuff like running or action, but then again, neither was the First Doctor’s adventures in live action back in the day.

I don’t regret checking this one out as it is always nice to, you know, see a bit more of the Doctor.  That’s especially true for those lost serials where animation matched to surviving sound tracks is the only way to get it.  And, for what it is worth, this did capture the tone and spirit of old First Doctor adventures…and they were always slow.

Regardless, I have something very different in mind for next time.

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