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THE IMPOSSIBLE PLANET
FANTASTIC! Okay I"m pretty sure pulp sci fic has been mixing space and horror since oh, the 1940s and certainly the 1950s and more modern horror/sci fi like GALAXY OF TERROR has the devil in space using tentacles to squash Joanie from HAPPY DAYS to pulp and then of course there was ALIEN and ALIENS and this seems to meld all the feelings those evoke into one nicely wrapped package while infusing it with a freshness, a pace, and...a creepy growing horror. The Ood, Sensorite brothers, are just magnificent, brilliant in design and image and so so sad here but also as possessed horrors...very scary. The actor who plays Toby Zed is very good, and in fact, all the actors are strong, AGAIN! The men are...also quite nice, too but so are the girls. Ida would make great companion material and Scottie (Name?) is very cute and pretty. The design is well done and gives it a lived in look or rusted machinery and tough space travel as Rose says. Rose is quite well drawn in this episode, not the cocky space time traveler of NEW EARTH or SCHOOL REUNION. She's more helpful...mostly ("Now remember to breath." "Rose, stay off the com!") and tries to keep a good spirit up. She's also brave yet realistic, "Okay you can start worrying about me again." The chat she and the Doc have is a highlight of the episode ("I'll have to get a house a proper house with doors and carpets" and "You're gonna have to get a morgauge."). Just really fun stuff between them and I"m so glad they avoided the cliche of having the crew think the time travelers are spies or saboteurs.
The growing horror adds up nicely and makes sense at least to me. That said, this reminds me of other things too like JASON IN SPACE (sorry but it has young girls in danger and having death by airlessness and being sucked out into space) and the tepid EVENT HORIZON (with Sean Pertwee) but I like this much, much better. Speaking of Sean Pertwee (now couldn't he play or voice the Third Doctor!) this is also like another unlikely source TALOS: TALE OF THE MUMMY or just TALOS or just TALE OF THE MUMMY where...an ancient tomb is unearthed, the archeologists are either killed or possessed and it turns out to be an ancient evil from before time...with an strange man attacking the evil itself...
Other things to notice: this is fun. This is exciting more than any of the movies I've mentioned. It gives the Doctor a real feeling of having to chuck it all in with the crew although I'm sure by going down into the tunnel he was hoping for the TARDIS recovery...but there's not a feel that the Doctor is some kind of god only that he's a traveler with some wisdom. I do not get that conceited feel from the Doctor that other stories of Doc 10 give him, but I get a feeling that he's ---even before TARDIS vanishes or is lost----that's he's just one of the beings in an incredible spot in a dangerous situation and that he's really enjoying, really stumped at times and really mystified by this whole thing...and it's GREAT!
Things of gayness to note: there's something later on in the next episode but Toby, Zach, and Danny all seem somewhat on the spectrum of gayness. Zach lets the Doc hug him without too much convincing (none at all) and seems happy to have it and not so eager to let go of the hug; well, Danny---just look at him, and well, Toby...just oggle him. In any event I"m sure there's more to their backgrounds and most likely the gay stuff was cut but never mind...
All in all a great start to a story unlike RISE OF THE CYBERMEN...which turned out all right in the end ...
oh and special mention must be made of a few other things: the magnificent Gabriel Wolfe as Sutek...gaaa, uhm, as the voice of the Beast...just adds such layers to the devil...hum, the beast. Of course we all know he was PYRAMIDS OF MARS Sutek but even if I didn't know that, the voice is suitably scary and creepy all on its own. If we never see the beast, it would still be scary and well done.
The writing being so old the TARDIS can't translate it: great. And Rose and the Doc laughing it up at the idea that they'd get back inside if there was gonna be trouble: just quite funny.
AND again the fabulous MUSIC. How good can the music be? I don't know but this just shines. There is (I forgot to mention the very short version of MUSIC FOR TEN minus lyrics in IDIOT'S LANTERN) a new version of Rose's theme and in fact, it happens during the Rose/Doc talk of a home and sharing a house...AND was fused into the Rose theme for the 2006 Concert. I WISH that version was on the cd track, the two themes merged sounds glorious and it was played by the band while a Rose music video played and was just FANTASTIC! There's so much going on here and to like, that I"m sure I missed something that was poor but frankly I don't care. This is just very watchable and I can watch it and the second part over and over.