torsdag den 9. april 2009

Who Review #81 - Terror of the Zygons

Season 13 opens with a story that was originally intended for the 12th, but no matter. This was the start of a quite magical period in the show's history which ended because of the complaints of Mary Whitehouse. Hinchcliffe and Holmes took a variety of classic sci-fi and horror films and gave them a Dr.Who twist - result!

episode by episode, scene by scene runthrough

Talking of good internet sources, there is a guide to where the show was filmed here. Much of the location shooting was done in West Sussex.

Terror...has some fine features. As others have mentioned, it is a lot less cosy than the UNIT stories because it has a different sort of atmosphere, the H&H gothic horror feel. UNIT was also just about to be phased out by this story too - this would be the Brigadier's last story before Mawdryn Undead in the Davison era. Like so many other things, it has been resurrected in New Who; but I am getting ahead of myself.

The Zygons are one of the best realised monsters in the show. They are lovely blobby, organic creatures. Their ship is also realised well. This story, like a number of others from this era, utilised coloured lights or filters for lighting - although simple, I think it is effective. (Reds and greens are used in the Zygon ship, emphasising the organic nature of their technology.) The Skarasen is, alas, one of the embarrassing monsters in the show's history, being a badly realised stop motion model used in conjunction with obvious CSO.

The incidental music is uniformly good. The guest cast includes good performances by Angus Lennie and John Woodnutt, the latter putting in two performances as the Duke and Broton the Zygon leader.

There are a couple of interesting political points. The Brig talks to the Prime Minister, who is a women; even Thatcher didn't imagine Britain having a woman PM back in 1974-5. Probably reflecting the Oil Crisis of '73, the Doctor scoffs at the value placed on oil, arguing that humans should stop depending on a mineral slime and think of other energy sources.

There are weaknesses in the plot: what is going to happen when the Zygon fleet arrives; can six Zygons and a Skarasan really take over the world? I also thought the Zygons spent too much time trying to retrieve things (e.g. the monitor link) .

That said....

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