Friday 14 May 2010

Planet of Evil

The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith land on a mysterious planet and lots of people get killed.

This story is one of the lesser considered stories in what is generally regarded as the golden age of Doctor Who.

The story takes some inspiration from The Forbidden Planet movie. There is the suggestion that the anti-matter universe is a kind of hellish, demonic realm. Thus, the horror element of the Hinchcliffe era is maintained. A nice eerie atmosphere is generated throughout this story.

The jungle is quite effective, perhaps because of the very dim lighting. The split level spacecraft is also great. The CSO anti-matter monsters are maybe not so good, however.

Sarah Jane Smith has never really convinced me as a character. She was always just a bit too bold, a bit too plucky and always holding a good smart one-liner handy. I think Elizabeth Sladen's performance was always too knowing. In Planet of Evil this is especially apparent.

The guest characters are rather stereotyped, the paranoid military commander and the obsessive scientist, plus the hapless crew to die off one by one.

The transformation of Sorenson seems rather too much like the Primords in Inferno.

It seems odd that the Sorenson survives, given the typically high body count in Doctor Who. So many people died because of his irresponsibility.

There is the question of whether the Morestrans are humans originating on earth. I think some of the dialogue, as well as the Morestrans names suggests that they are descended from earth colonists.

On the whole this is not the most impressive story, though it is better than The Android Invasion.

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