Tuesday 25 May 2010

The Invisible Enemy

The Fourth Doctor and Leela encounter a strange alien parasite on Saturn's moon Titan.

Season 15 is one of the less well regarded seasons and this story is considered to be one of the disasters of that season. Personally, I don't dislike Season 15, but this story is rather weak. It is hard to find much that is really good about this story.

The opening has something of a Space 1999 feel. The new direction of Doctor Who as space opera, instead of gothic horror is firmly established in this story. It goes on to give us a daft sci-fi take on cloning. These clones can only survive eleven minutes, though it seems an incredibly long eleven minutes!

None of the guest characters are interesting or believable, though K9 gives a great debut and Frederick Jaeger gives a reasonably good performance as Professor Marius (apart from his silly German accent).

As much as K9 is a bit silly and a post-Star Wars robotic cliche, I cannot quite bring myself to dislike him. It is good to see a new element introduced into the Doctor Who format.

The spaceship model work is good, but the set designs are rather unconvincing. The hospital seems a bit deserted.

As well as Space 1999, the story takes inspiration from Fantastic Voyage, with a journey through the Doctor's body. This particularly unconvincing, as it appears to have an environment in which the two clones can breathe and walk about.

The nucleus' physical form when it appears full size is rather funny, but I like it. Nothing better than a giant crustacean.

The Doctor implies that humanity has not left the solar system until 5000. This would of course contradict earlier stories where humanity has left the solar system at least as early as the Twenty-second century. This must be some second diaspora. possibly connected to the turmoil of the wars involving Magnus Greel a few years earlier (Talons of Weng Chiang)

I think what I like most in this story is the moment when Leela approaches a cold and grim hospital receptionist. The far future is not that different!

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