Thursday, August 29, 2013

"The Macra Terror"

Aired Mar 11 – Apr 1, 1967

4 Episodes

Story 34

Written by Ian Stuart Black

Directed by John Davies


Synopsis

The TARDIS crew visits a human colony that appears to be a happy place run along the lines of an enormous holiday camp. In fact, this seemingly ideal society has been infiltrated and taken over by a race of giant crab-like creatures called the Macra.


The brainwashed inhabitants are forced to mine a gas toxic to themselves but vital for the Macras’ survival. Ben falls under the Macra's malign influence and turns against his friends. He eventually regains his senses, however, and under the Doctor's guidance destroys the gas pumping equipment, thus killing the Macra and restoring freedom to the colonists.


Now free from the influence of the Macra, life in the colony returns to normal, with the community heaping honours on the TARDIS crew. During the celebrations, the travelers dance their way back to the TARDIS.  

Analysis

Sometimes you come across a Doctor Who story that you wind up loving even though you know it's not actually very good. You know there's flaws there, you can see them, but something about the story connects with you, so you ignore those flaws and love the story anyway.

The Macra Terror is one of those stories for me. Yes, I know there are flaws, but the things I love about this story, I love so much that it papers over any cracks in the foundation.

Friday, August 23, 2013

"The Moonbase"


Aired Feb 11 – Mar 4, 1967

4 Episodes

Story 33

Written by Kit Pedler

Directed by Morris Barry


Synopsis


The Doctor and his friends arrive on the Moon in 2070 AD, where a vitally important weather control station is being affected by a mysterious epidemic that is incapacitating the staff. However, the plague is really a poison planted in the sugar supply as part of an invasion plan by the Cybermen.

The Doctor uncovers the plague's true nature and reveals the involvement of  the Cybermen, while Polly realizes that as the Cybermen's chest units are made of plastic they are vulnerable to corrosive solvents. She, Ben and Jamie manage to destroy all the Cybermen hidden on the base after they create weapons that fire a mixture of powerful solvents that they create.

A second wave of Cybermen lands on the moon and begin to advance on the base, but the Doctor uses the weather station's powerful gravity device, the Gravitron, to send the Cybermen and their fleet spinning off into space. The crisis having passed, the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie quietly slip away back to the TARDIS.



Analysis

The Moonbase is a virtual remake of The Tenth Planet, the debut Cybermen story, which is an odd choice considering both stories aired in the same season! What's even more odd is that while The Moonbase improves on many flaws in The Tenth Planet, the elements of the previous story that were well-done are done less well here.