Survival (and well, spoilers for the cliffhanger)

Chase - Posted on 16 August 2009


Well hey there's a LAND OF THE GIANTS annual at the shop and I love that show. Anyway it has something in common in that like most of the series and this series, the last story was not the last story made but the last one aired.

Anyway, this is one great episode and for once, it makes a lot of sense and has action and feels modern. McCoy does a great job and here he feels very ALIEN in a way the Doctor hasn't since Tom Baker left. Even Ace is spot on and not annoying, which, having been back in Perivale for this story, I would have thought she'd be even more annoying. The Cheetah people are a great idea but I'm not too sure about the costumes. They seem okay when not focused on or in great use in close ups or lingered on. Then they sort of...well, they're not terribly convincing. 

The idea of using the Master and showing him in the cliffhanger is great except that...well, we see him in shadows before that but there's no mistaking Anthony Ainley's eyes. Geeze, why'd they do that and ruin it?

The only complaint  I have about this episode is that they have to have a normal cat get killed and they show it's body, again in shadows but it's uncalled for and bothersome. Other than that, this episode hits all the right marks and no one is acting retarded. There's some stuff that is used later in FEAR HER (the cat, the Doctor creeping around a street where teens or children have vanished and being watched and suspected by the locals, the Doc vanishing from said street) and some stuff that is used in the SARAH JANE ADVENTURES (namely the stuff later as Derek arrives back home reminds me of the episode with the gaming stuff and the monsters that want kids to play games but a few other episodes in SARAH JANE remind me of this, in fact, SARAH JANE seems to have kids vanishing every episode).      

The Master later tells us that the Cheetah people are generally good natured and playful. Yeah, right, like we believe him? Then why'd they kill Stevie and the guy that helps save Ace? And are destroying their planet I think? And also why are they sending out Kitlings to go gather live food from other planets to kill. And kill normal Earth cats. Doesn't sound too goodnatured to me. The bast#$s.

JNT's dog Pepsi appears again, more prominently this time as he eats cat food the Doc sets out as a trap. Also a local boy, seeing the three cats not performing for the production team, went home, got his pet black cat and it performed well. He was given five pounds. The boy, not the cat. Then other kids went and got their pets, too. Oh and the animatronic cat looks like Salem from SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH.

Final analysis of this ep: GREAT. Watchable AND understandable and that's more than I can say for most eps of this era. 

Funny how we moved from normal Earth setting, an almost empty street to a desert planet ...with savage animals...just like AN UNEARTHLY CHILD, which I watched so long ago in this round, something like Jan 2009. Anyway this episode is great. I love Ace's "Don't you know any nice people. You know, ordinary people who aren't trying to take over the galaxy?" when the Doc mentions and briefly explains the Master. He looks sideways, embarassed, at Paterson when she does this. Brilliant dialog.

The whole Midge thing is disturbing but interesting and realistic. Ace's bond with Cheetah's develops. I don't know about the Cheetah's...they're alien but they're kind of not. They're savage but they're kind of honorable...when they're not tearing at you. And I"m not sure what the Master is up after he escapes or why but here, he's very subdued as in the first ep. Ainely is perfect and I wish he had been able to return in a series after this to show THIS Master this subdued and sublime and menacing...he seems even more menacing here. Interesting that when the Master returns he has glowing eyes and a snake is involved. Here he wears a snake skin belt and has a new outfit.

McCoy is great in this again and does some funny Doctor things like tripping a Cheetah with is umbrella while standing still and then tipping his hat to it. He tips his hat a great deal to people (as in the first ep he tips his hat to a woman on the street).

There's a lot of action in this episode and for once, it's not stagey and makes sense. The visuals are nice and the music, some of which sounds a small bit like the tune and tone of what the TRIBE series might use YEARS later, is excellent. This seems like a new series in so many ways. And it's good and watchable. 


I've noticed but never said that McCoy's hat brim lining (scarf aruond it?) has also changed:it was toned down in color.

Great way to end. Thank God, the series didn't end on GHOST LIGHT, CURSE OF FENRIC, or God forbid, BATTLEFIELD. This one was a nice one to end on and they tacked on a nice end scene for the Doc and Ace to leave, heading back to the TARDIS. Glad Derek made it out alive. Did anyone else? Well poor Paterson had to die after such an experience and it's a stupid thing to go martial arts pratice after such an experience but I guess he  was supposed to be in shock.

Cheery ole Andrew Cartmel has to kill off both Shreela (who survived here) and Midge's little sister Squeak (who also survives here) in NEW ADVENTURES: WARHEAD. The bas#@$ he is.

Also another dead cat is seen. Why? Was there a reason for it? And it's Squeak's too. I think in the deleted stuff, it is said that Midge might have killed their mum too or hurt her badly or maybe that was in the script.

Speaking of which: there's a great deal of info and dialog between the Doctor and the Master about the Doctor not being a Time Lord and then the Doc saying he is but he's more than  a Time Lord and that the Time Lords, he in particular has to change, evolve or die. It would have made this story even more interesting than it is already. I can't really feel too bad for Karra, all things said and done. She killed teens.

Not sure what to make of the Master/Midge or of the takeover of the gym boys. Was the Master hynoptizing them? In the script they finish off  a hurt Midge but here they don't. The Doc's "IF we fight like animals, then we die like animals" in the street is  funny. The motorcyle stuff exciting and this is really quite a good episode.

Derek's happy he survived ala the kid in SARAH JANE ADVENTURES who gets to go home after  the alien games in season one.

WHAT ELSE? Not sure when I started all this, either last summer or Jan but I've now gone through all of DOCTOR WHO the original series and it's been quite a trip.

Observations: all of Hartnell was great (bar GALAXY FOUR), THE CHASE being great for comedic value; all of Troughton was great (bar THE HIGHLANDERS and THE SPACE PIRATES). I barely remember Pertwee's stuff because I might have actually started with him since I had to get the reconstructions first but from what I remember I loved it all but mostly all of them had slow spots, and CARNIVAL OF MONSTERS I thought was very very poor. Loved the rest but had to watch one or two eps at a time, which in reality is the only way to watch DW. Tom Baker I shall always love and only four of his proved a huge, uhm, trial, INVISIBLE ENEMY, ANDROID INVASION, LEISURE HIVE, and MEGLOS. Peter Davison is not as good a Doctor as I first thought. He used to be second on my list right after Tom Baker (who recently said a lot of nice thing about him "I was replaced by a bloody vet!" "He was a rather good actor after me, wasn't he!") but he's really quite an ineffective, usually wrong Doctor and one of the first to fail so spectacularly and he let Adric die and stay dead, tha'ts worth going down ten notches in my book. Still in the end, he got much much better and CAVES was much better received by me. I got over my Adric is dead feelings and looked at the rest of the series better, for better or worse. ARC OF INFINITY parts 2 and 3 are awful. Sarah Sutton is an bad actress and never really got better but Janet Fielding did. Zoey grew on me. Liz Shaw is still great. Jo Grant grew on me. Sarah Jane is still a good companion but only thanks to Lis Sladen, not thanks to the character, which is old hat. What else? TERMINUS is not as bad as I thought nor is MAWDYRN but both are not terribly good either. Looked at in a good light, almost every Davison story has major flaws but none are as awful as TRIAL OF A TIME LORD. Mel is not a terrible companion but has major flaws too as if she's autistic or retarded at times and she had the poor luck to be in the worst stories. Ace started out terrible, was made dysfunctional but got a bit better toward the end. DRAGONFIRE is probably my new worst story. TIME AND THE RANI is bad but not terrible. PARADISE TOWERS is probably the second worst story still. TRIAL OF A TIME LORD still makes no sense and is still probably the third worst story and MYSTERIOUS PLANET is terrible as is most of TRIAL. I still think VERVOIDS is the best trial story but it's filled with ...messes. Colin was a good Doctor but his stories bar TWIN and MARK OF THE RANI are all terribly flawed. I feel better about most of them including VAROS and TWO DOCTORS but ATTACK OF THE CYBERMEN part 2 and all of TIMELASH are awful. I'm not overly fond of anything that makes me want to vomit so I can't say I really like REVELATION OF THE DALEKS part two either. I think the planned "lost season" might have been sucky. I still hate Sil and Brian Blessed totally ruined MINDWARP, which many stories from Colin and Sly's time, could have been better.

Sly's time in the show is perhaps, for me, even more strange than Colin's. He had some great stories and some poor poor ones. Previously I would have said GREATEST SHOW IN THE GALAXY was one of his and indeed one of DW's best but now...I think it might just be one of his worst stories after PARADISE and TIME AND THE RANI. GHOST LIGHT is still a mess no matter how many explanations there are. It's over the top acting and illogical. FENRIC is a bit better but the last episode fails to explain or impress. SURVIVAL sends the show out on top.

SEARCH OUT SCIENCE is embarassing.

The planned season 27 sounds awful. So there it is.

I'm glad it was cancelled, I'm glad it was cancelled then and now. It needed the rest and I'm glad the show was not in the same hands as it left from, including Cartmel and others who wanted to take and did take the New Adventures to grim new depressing scenarios rather than continue an adventure that is optimistic, uplifting, tightly paced and well wound. It was a dyfunctional, dark death obsessed NEW ADVENTURES and BBC NOVELS that overtook DW in the 90s.

1999: BIG FINISH came along and made things a bit better with lighter stories and lighter tones and even a happy go lucky companion and under Gary Russell (who is quite variable at times, he can be good in his ideas and stories and he can be crap in his stories and ideas for DW) happier and even had a multi Doctor story that didn't suck (unlike the awful ZAGREUS and later that 6th Doctor nonsense where he almost bumps into himself several times without the other actors around, what crap!). Then something changed and BIG FINISH started doing dark nasty stuff: Tegan is dying of a disease, the older happier companion I mentioned above (Eveyln) also dying of  a disease, Peri's mum and friend get blown up--and it's the Doctor's fault,  etc. Despite all this, many great stories came about and many great innovations and stuff we've wondered about for years. They even did a story where the companions had to get stuck in a time zone for two years, waiting for the Doctor to arrive to rescue them. And they did other things. They did alt Doctors, some of the them evil. They did a Valeyard story and they even managed to do their own TRIAL OF A TIME LORD but with Iris in it. It was good. Davros got a history, so did the Master and Peter got to play Omega again in style. The decaying Master returned. There was even a small link to THE TOMORROW PEOPLE audios in SPECTRE OF LANYON MOOR.  The 8th Doctor found a life.

Flashback to the 1990s: it looked like DW was dead forever. It really did and I believed it. Despite a morbid series of depressing novels and a variable comic book and some audios here and there before 1999 and THE STRANGER (which was good), PROBE (a Liz Shaw spinoff that sorta sucked), MINDGAME videos (which DID fully suck), the Professor and Ace/Alice (which were good), and other things (AUTON, a series which sucks) the series DW was well and truly dead. I never believed it would come back. TV moved on and GREAT series like BEASTMASTER, XENA, HERCULES, THE X FILES, EARTH 2, SEAQUEST, SLIDERS, Conan, FARSCAPE, THE LOST WORLD, MUTANT X and others all seemed to have great characters, developing special effects, emotionality, laughs, twists and turns, and almost all of them never turned into the grim awfulness of the Virgin/BBC novels and they didn't have Ace or for that matter early Benny (a drinking mess  of a woman). And while some characters were killed off, none of them hurt me the way DW had with killing off Adric and in the novels, other characters that I liked. DOCTOR WHO, for me was dead and for all I cared, it deserved to be. Still, there was something in me that felt that somehow with new effects, new actors, and new incidental music (Please!) and the old TARDIS and SOME old enemies, it could work. I even posted a bunch of stuff about it and some of the stuff I posted came true in 2005 and 2006...

but in 1996 we had some hope but little did I know that even before the FoX movie aired, FOX and UNIVERSAL already made the choice NOT to make it a series...but no one knew that when it aired but that is another story...        

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