scene by scene, episode by episode
A story that would not have been out of place in the Hinchcliffe/Holmes era (and I have heard it said that the script was originally intended for one of those seasons). This is the first vampire story in the show's history and thus is actually a bit scary for kids.
There is the usual sort of Hammer build up, with the Doctor and Romana learning from an inn keeper about Lords who live and rule the land in a nearby Tower; and they then meet the undead by going to their lair (as captives). However, the story doesn't have the usual vampire/Dracula plot as the victims are selected and don't get visits at their windows in the night, whilst the main vampire has a sci-fi quality to it. Furthermore, there is the interesting idea of a society regressing over centuries (science is forbidden and must be kept hidden).
The long scene at the end of episode two, as the Doctor and Romana explore the bowels of the Tower (a spaceship in reality), is one of my Who moments. The plot is developed and drips tension.
The costumes and throne room are beautifully made; Aukon, Zargo and Camilla have that ageless but decrepid look one associates with Bram Stoker figures. The death of the vampires is quite an impressive effect for its time (and for the Beeb) and quite adult for the show. The death of the great vampire is, sadly, the major let down because of the poor modelling work.
Some of the acting is wooden. Kudos goes to Emrys James who is a truly cunning and wicked Aukon and, as such, is more dangerous and interesting than Zargo and Camilla.
Adric - You remember me
K9 - Immature child; non-hostile.
He is indirectly responsible for Tarak's death.
He wants to join the vampires.
The script writers DIDN'T let Adric become an undead, get staked and please millions of fans.
The story doesn't have the same atmosphere in episodes three and four and isn't as strong, but seen as a whole I like this one.
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