Timestamp #20: The Myth Makers

Doctor Who: The Myth Makers
(4 episodes, s03e06-e09, 1965)

Timestamp 020 The Myth Makers

Doctor Who visits the Trojan war. The serial’s opening battle seems almost comical, but does a decent job of establishing the conflict among the plot’s characters. Looking back from 2014 to 1965, the Doctor pretending to be a god in order to more freely explore the setting is a clever meta nod to the deus ex machina that is Doctor Who. With his virtual immortality, changing faces, and supernatural abilities in comparison to the cultures he visits, The Doctor is, quite literally, a god in a machine.

The serial seems rather run of the mill, though the re-interpretation of the stories from myth are quite refreshing to see. It was a fairly clever ruse to rescue Vicki from the Trojans, and it was hard to watch her leave the TARDIS and the Doctor. I will certainly miss her wit and spunk. Her departure seemed rushed but still emotionally touching, and it will be interesting to see how the Doctor will respond. Unfortunately, this leaves us Steven (ugh) and the unknown (but quite limited) variable of Katarina as companions leading into the twelve-part master plan of the Doctor’s most powerful enemies.

As a side note but not a hit to the score for this review, the reconstruction’s music track is pretty bad. It sounds like a warped 45 RPM record, but there’s probably not much they can do about it since this serial is lost. It was distracting, but easy to work around.

 

Rating: 3/5  “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Daleks’ Master Plan

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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Timestamp #18: Galaxy 4

Doctor Who: Galaxy 4
(4 episodes, s03e01-e04, 1965)

Timestamp 018 Galaxy 4

This one’s a pretty straightforward story about blind obedience. In fact, both sides have armies of machines. The Rill use robots, and the Drahvin use genetically engineered drones. Vicki is quite smart discovering the Chumbley’s weakness. I still like her a lot more than I like Steven.

I liked the return of the non-sonic screwdriver. It makes me smile because my parents own a similar looking set. The ethereal music, composed by the same group that played on The Web Planet. The only downside to that was that the music overpowered the Rill dialogue. The reconstruction’s audio quality was lacking, but I won’t hold that against the serial in my rating.

Other negatives: The twist in who was really the aggressor/antagonist was predictable. Also, the wibbly-wobbly physics of the TARDIS still baffles me: If the explosions didn’t physically move or damage the TARDIS, how did the explosion knock the Doctor and Steven over?

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Mission to the Unknown

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

 

Timestamp #17: The Time Meddler

Doctor Who: The Time Meddler
(4 episodes, s02e36-e39, 1965)

Timestamp 017 The Time Meddler

To start things off, it still really bothers me how little remorse The Doctor shows over Susan’s departure. It has bothered me since The Dalek Invasion of Earth how much better the Doctor interacts with Vicki than he did with his own granddaughter. Did Susan eat the last of his Werthers or forget to record Matlock? Is the Doctor somehow tempering his sorrow with his promise to return?

Regardless, it brings me to the current companions. I still adore Vicki, but Steven’s a bit of an idiot and an ass. He’s very headstrong and rude. I hope becomes a better member of the team, because right now he’s not showing me much promise.

This wasn’t a bad serial, but I didn’t see it as a great one either. It has some good points, and is essentially a detective story.

The Monk is given away by the fault in his recording and the ton of anachronisms that surround him. I did like seeing another Time Lord, and I liked that the Doctor couldn’t defeat the Monk on 11th century terms, where the latter was deeply immersed, but could readily best him as a Time Lord.

The Doctor deceives once again with the “Winchester” in the Monk’s back, and he shows a little violence in this serial, but again only in self-defense.

The Monk’s newer model TARDIS has an “automatic drift control,” which the Doctor must have installed or fixed at some point. He has no trouble sitting in one spot in deep space in later years.

 

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

 

UP NEXT – Second Series Summary

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

 

 

Timestamp #16: The Chase

Doctor Who: The Chase
(6 episodes, s02e30-e35, 1965)

Timestamp 016 The Chase

The serial has an interesting start with the whole Time-Space Visualizer bit, and it is a great plot device to start the whole “chase” part of The Chase, but they spent a lot of time on it. I did enjoy how The Beatles become “classical music” in the future.

My first thought when the TARDIS touched down on Aridius was, “welcome to Tatooine,” twin suns, desert, and all. The reveal with the Dalek rising from the sand is cool, but not as much as the one that emerged from the water in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Overall, I quite liked the story with the Aridians. It struck me as kind of the reverse of the Atlantis myth. I also liked the birth of the TARDIS’s resistance to Dalek weapons, and the clever trap to escape Aridius.

The New York sequence was humorous, as was the Mary Celeste sequence. There are a lot of Dalek shells littered through history after this serial. I wonder if the BBC used various sets that they had available from other productions. This serial had a lot of various sets and it seems like it would be more expensive than the usual Doctor Who production.

The fabricated duplicate of the Doctor was interesting, and it did lead to a clever Doctor vs Doctor fight. The mutually assured destruction Dalek-Mechonoids face-off was also quite the sight.

I did get a little excited when the Doctor asked for his screwdriver. Alas, it was not a sonic version, but my I think my parents own a set just like it so it was a nice touchstone to my childhood. I also may have missed it, but I did wonder why our heroes even leave the ship until they had a solution to defeat the Daleks? Since the TARDIS is impervious to Dalek weapons, why not arrive, wait for the ship to recharge, then leave again?

Finally, this is where we say goodbye to Ian and Barbara. While it wasn’t as moving a farewell as Susan’s, it was still very touching to see them finally make it home. They seem very happy together, and it was touching to see the Doctor’s reaction to their departure. Under that gruff exterior, he really does care.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Time Meddler

 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

 

 

 

Timestamp #15: The Space Museum

Doctor Who: The Space Museum
(4 episodes, s02e26-e29, 1965)

Timestamp 015 The Space Museum

I enjoyed that this serial had a mystery that both the crew and the audience need to figure out. The second episode started into the background, but the first episode effectively roped me in with the question of what was going on.

There were some great moments in this serial. The Doctor gives the admonition to stay close, but then it’s the Doctor who lags behind gets taken by the rebels. Later he hides in a Dalek shell, and his Yoda-like mirth made me laugh. It was really nice to have him fool the mind-reading chair, and an equally nice touch to have the “curator” get rid of him once he’s of no further use. The typical sci-fi tropes would have had the baddie just stick the hero away instead of trying to kill him off.

The action scenes during the whole cat-and-mouse chase were engaging, and Vicki is brilliant in rewiring the armory computer. She’s really climbing the ranks as one of my favorite companions.

The thing that made me scratch my head was that this was apparently all started with yet another faulty component. It seems that the TARDIS is often just one bump short of falling apart at the seams.

Last but not least, there were new Daleks in the lead-in to The Chase. Unfortunately, the head light blinking sequences are way off, and I don’t like the super-shiny collar. It’s very distracting under the studio lights.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Chase

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

Timestamp #14: The Crusade

Doctor Who: The Crusade
(4 episodes, s02e22-e25, 1965)

Timestamp 014 The Crusade

It’s Julian Glover! General Maximillian Veers, Walter Donovan, and Aris Kristatos! Instead of an Imperial soldier, a Nazi, or a Soviet sympathizer, this time he’s a rather petulant King Richard the Lionheart.

Ian gets to use some of the swordfighting skills he’s learned over the last couple of years, and he gets knighted as well. The Doctor gets to display his interesting morals (once stolen clothes are fair to be stolen again), and displays a couple of character traits I’m glad have survived into the modern era (he does not suffer fools and cherishes bravery). The Doctor and Vicki really do have an adorable relationship, but the whole ruse of disguising Vicki as a boy is quite a stretch, especially given the rather conspicuous curves and facial features.

This was a simple story, but engaging and entertaining. The second and fourth episodes I watched were reconstructed from recorded soundtracks and screen caps.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Space Museum 

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

Timestamp #13: The Web Planet

Doctor Who: The Web Planet
(6 episodes, s02e16-e21, 1965)

Timestamp 013 The Web Planet

This serial had so much ambition, but so little payoff in six episodes to cover a very threadbare story. The costumes were laughable, and the Zarbi noises grated on me with seconds of hearing them for the first time.

There were some nice moments with Barbara and Vicki comparing notes on eras they were familiar with, and the Doctor is starting to remind me of Yoda with his giggling. From the production side, I’m glad they removed the handicap of losing power to the doors trapping the travellers in the TARDIS over the years. It seems like a silly stumbling block, even though it gave purpose to the Doctor’s rings. It was good of them to acknowledge the thin air, but those jackets made me giggle over the absurdity.

I give the serial extra credit for the enthralled Zarbi called Zombo, but, honestly, I’d rather watch The Sensorites again.

 

Rating: 1/5 – “EXTERMINATE!”

 

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: The Crusade

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.