Vengeance On Varos

Chase - Posted on 25 July 2009

1 (or part 1 and 2 for the US)

Okay the model work at the start sets this up but it also sets up the difference between something like this and THE SUNMAKERS, the story that seems most like this. SUNMAKERS had that location work which gave it a visual representation of outside and that IMO makes it real or as real as can be when setting up the culture. Unfortunately, Varos's surface does not seem to be livable and may not have a breathable atmosphere. Not sure what the thing that "killed" the Doctor in the semi-effective cliffhanger but maybe it was a way outside? Colin does a realy good impression of being dead but why would the TV controllers (SIL?) just turn if off when they watched everything else.

I'm also afraid I don't like the effects in this. I mean the gun shots are okay and the lasers but that fly. They might have started with the long shot as it is more effective than the close up. Then there are those green lights. Really, if you're going to have death traps, maybe some death in the traps might have worked better. As it was it wasn't really...exciting at all.

The TARDIS scenes really work this time and put rest to the idea (mine, admittedly) that all Peri and the Sixth Doctor do is argue. They come close here but their rapport is fun and seeing the Doctor sigh and give up is fun, too. He's so vulnerable as this Doctor, believe it or not, making lots of mistakes, at least off camera (as opposed to Peter's Doctor who made them all on screen). Peri really works in this part as does Colin's Doctor. Why they would go outside when the guard was shooting at the TARDIS, is beyond me. Still, they were armed with witty rapport and seem to work well as a team to overcome gun toting idiots.

Oh man, maybe his acting is a but I really like Jason Connery. A lot. Nuff said. He plays, much later on, the dad in SHOEBOX ZOO, a fantasy about a girl, his daughter in the show, who finds small almost alien monsters who need her help to restore their world in another dimension to rights. It's a good show for kids.  He also did a good job, not long after this as the second ROBIN HOOD. I also, the young people in this story and in DW in general, all look pretty. Then there's Sil...

I hate Sil. Really hate him. I don't hate him as in "he's a good villain and I like that". I hate him as a character, as a villain and to be honest, he embarasses me. His lines are silly "(He's dead as death."). What's that supposed to mean? At times, it's hard to understand him. It's harder to watch him with that fake looking mask and his face sticking out from it. I don't mean the actor, although he's not my favorite actor, but ...the overall effect of Sil is just awful and the show would work just as well without him there. A truly disgusting villain, too and that moving tail looks so the muscled guards though. One of them is played by a different actor in different takes. If you think about the worst presented aliens/monsters in any other era (Moroks or those Monoids in Hartnell, Macra in Troughton, the Dalek mutant killer that scares Ogrons in FRONTIER IN SPACE in Pertwee, the Tara Beast in Tom, etc etc) none of them come close to being as horrible as Sil and none of them really take up that much time as Sil does.      

I like the idea of two people watching the entire thing. And commenting. It's an interesting thing to have. I also like that politics come into this and in such a violent way and it's not presented with long, long, boring talks as in other stories. The premise is a strong one and this is why, IMO, that this story sticks out in fans' minds that it is so good. This part is not bad with a lot of danger and a lot of Doctor scenes...and a lot of eye candy for both genders...

Still, it seems that my reassessing Colin's stories might find a pattern: an okay first part but...still, there is the fly and the deathless death traps that seem....well, the illusion thing is a bit overused in sci fi and in sci fi TV and on it's a bit boring in the exact place that the show shouldn't be...       

part two or 3-4 in the US (you get that idea by now, don't you?:))

Okay I'd have to say Martin Jarvis and Owen Teale impress as the villains turned non villains. I am much more tolerant of the bird and reptile tranmogrifier sequence than I used to be. The poltical messages here are good ones and the ending is...scary in ways that monsters can't be. What will becomes of Varos and its people now? Will they turn to real-er violence now? Will war be far behind? I'm not sure why Sil's people wouldn't invade just because they found the mineral someplace else but there you have it. The chief and Qulliam (?) are also played by two good actors.

Some of the traps are now very deadly and this is how they should have been from the beginning. I don't mind the Doctor fighting and knocking the two guards into the acid bath and I don't even mind the quip about it. Tough on them. The traps should always have been deadly like the acid illusion trap and the poison plants...but what's with the two old men in loin cloths? That really is...disturbing. I guess it makes sense if they were escaped prisoners who live down there but really...

Sil is even more awful in this part than in the first.

Peri still impresses and she's grown on me now. She and the Doc even hug at one point. I'd have to give the story as a whole more points in a rating than I used to. I can't recall what I used to give it but I"m sure it was low but now I guess I'd give it a 6/10 or even a 7/10, ignoring Sil and some of the stupider trap things. It's not that bad and it moves quickly. Colin is very good in this and even the deleted scenes and outtakes are good, explaining what Jondar found out and giving us some more TARDIS scenes.

Troy Baker's picture

The cliffhanger (episode 2 for US viewers) was the Doctor faling victim to his own senses. He was so overwhelmed by the images of being in a desert he succumb to the illusion.


Now to what I really want to say:

 I really liked this story - despite Sil. It kinda reminds me of the possibilty of believing that everything you see on TV is true. The reality is often the inverse.

 ...And then we have the dependence of the TV as the norm. It kind of shadows the reality that we have now (and then) about being so engrossed about TV, you could lose sight of reality and what occurs on TV could become your interpretation of reality.


The late Mary Whitehouse had a 'field day' with this story citing the instances of violence n this story.

Why he would succumb to such an illusion from his own mind is beyond me as he just saved everyone else, including himself from a few other illusions. And was all  a trick anyway maybe? He didn't die so maybe he was just doing it for the cameras? either way, like a lot during this era and maybe every era, i't's just not explained but for the story to move on and work, some things HAVE to be explained and just aren't...

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