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Okay this is more like it. Or rather it's not like anything on DW before. It's got a lot of color and lights, and a very cool looking jungle and lakes and forests in the background and young people doing things young people do: making mistakes mostly. It's just great.
The Tom Doctor admits he cannot fight Time Lords or rather that he did once and lost. Romana is called home and doesn't want to go...which means...we can probably guess however the angst for these two is welcome and they're not as all powerful as we've been lead to believe.
The story: Well, Andrew Smith, 18 yr old wrote it and...to be honest...the plot is really VERY similar to the inferior (but also enjoyable) SPACE: 1999 episode THE FULL CIRCLE. I kid you not. The Alphans find cavemen that...are really them somehow passed through a time warp. There are many differences but a great deal of similarities. The two stories even filmed, I think, in the exact same parks.
The monsters? Well, they appear onlly in the cliffhanger to ep1 and also pull the old man into the lake. They're not exactly sympathetic here and in the original a Marsh child female follows the Doc into the TARDIS and saxcrifices her life for him later but none of that now. The monster outfits are best seen far away and in mist or fog. Close up: they're rubbery and zip locked it seems. Still, they're a lot more effective monsters than the monstes of late (yeah, the Nimon, the Mandrel, the big ball sack, don't really cut it as monsters). That said, these things can't really hold a patch to the much older 1950s classic monster outift and movie classic CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, which they are reminiscent of.
What's good is the set up. The colony here looks like a colony with swimming, food finding, workers, and a lot more females among their numbers. There's also a great deal of...and I'm not complaining, just noticing, of...male flesh on display. A lot of skin of the males. That said, there's a lot of really good character actors playing the older guys and they've been in DW before in WAR GAMES, HORROR OF FANG ROCK, and others. And they're believeable at least in ep1 but I feel all the way through. The ship looks okay. The caves okay and the look is nothing like any of the old look of DW, Pertwee's colorful colors aside maybe...it certainly looks better than THE MUTANTS, THREE DOCTORS, and CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS combined.
It also sounds better than almost every DW story before it. The music, I believe done by a new musician, is really much better than anything before and sounds really good on its own. And it has themes for charcters including the Outlers, Varsh, and especially Adric. Yes, Adric. AHh, yes, Adric. Truth is that Matthew's not bad in this episode. I did have a question about the dialog though---what does he mean by handles o nthe TARDIS doors not on the same level? The phone box itself and the handle on the phone box door? Not really important anyway.
The healing aspect of Adric is interesting. In the novel he is given a bit more background. Something about his parents dying in the fires when the ship crashed or something. Thing is this planet was supposed to be Gallifrey in the negative universe, and it was supposed to be anti matter but that was dropped thanks to the anti matter guff of PLANET OF EVIL, which I liked too. So does Adrc have Time Lord abilities? Certainly he seems to have some of their personality traits. And some intelligence. Not sure but he seems to want to save the man that is pulled into the lake. So he's somewhat heroic. And he wants to warn the others. Some of this story wise is a bit awkward: warn them about what exacxtly? Themistfall which they already know about? That they have come full circle? and just why does the decider pick that time...where he's in dire danger to say this to Adric? Is it that important to reveal the truth then and there as he's about to die? Did he have a pang of conscience about not revealing something that should ahve been revealed? And why change his mind then and there?
still none of that detracts from the enjoyment of the story. Waterhouse reminds us on the DVd of he and the actor who played Tylos. The actor who played Tylos came out as gay on daytime TV. He and Matthew used to go off together to ...uhm, watch DW repeats (HORNS OF NIMON or NIGTHMARE OF EDEN I think) or at least that's what Waterhouse says.
The extremely attractive guy who plays Adric's brother Varsh married Kate O'Mara, the Rani! It boggles the mind.
The story is off to a great start and is head and shoulders above LEISURE HIVE and MEGLOS already. And there's no reason why young people can't be in DW...