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The Soggy Doggie,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: K9 Tales Box Set (Invisible Enemy/K9 and Co) [DVD] (DVD)
They must have done Fang Rock on the absolute cheap because there's been money spent on this - look at those sets, and the models - very nice - and more characters - and extras!
And when I say sets, that's the Titan Base, the Bi-Al Foundation *and* the inside of the Dr's brain; it can't have come cheap.
It's a very good story - even if there is a massive lift from Fantastic Voyage - and it still manages to remain intelligent and exciting while adhering to what I must refer to (until I find the name of the BBC quisling responsible) as 'The Whitehouse Code'; the two gentlemen from Bristol have produced an excellent script that it positively stacked with good ideas, all of which seem to make sense; intelligent virus, takes over the intellect, when it finds the Dr it realises it could start time travelling, so he clones and miniaturises himself and Leela, enters his own brain, then the nucleus of the virus , gets out of his body, grows the human size, and plans to breed millions of enormous microbe-type creatures and use them to take over the universe. It's clever stuff; even the 'blow it up' solution is artfully achieved: 'Methane atmosphere, mix well with Oxygen and run'.
I'm not *quite* sure how a virus has a nucleus, but maybe they do - what do I know from Biology?
What else it good about it? The acting certainly, with Frederick Jaeger doing another excellent professorial turn, while Michael Sheard goes from benign supervisor to infected fanatic with mordant relish, and John Leeson makes an excellent debut as the voices of both K-9 and the Nucleus - well, they had to economise somewhere.
And it looks very good - and none of the Bi-Al seems to be Titan re-dressed - and there's some amusement to be gained in reading the signage - spelling has clearly developed in 3000 years. The model work is great too. The new CGI option is worth watching - better zaps all round, and the continuity error on the asteroid model gets tidied away. The long shot of the shuttle appearing as a tiny dot in the distance over the surface of Titan, and flying in to the landing pad is really most impressive.
The nucleus, not quite so sure; OK, in 1977 I was convinced, less so now having eaten in a few more fish restauants and can picture Barry Newbery sitting at his table, doodling the next Dr Who monster on his serviette. It was unofficially nicknamed 'The Pregnant Prawn'.
I don't know quite why, but there's something about Terrence Dudley's stories that always seems to make my eyes cross. This could, quite plausibly, be the best of the four, possibly because the Dr and the TARDIS aren't in it, meaning there was less for him to get muddled over.
There's nothing actually wrong with the story, devil-worshippers in darkest Mummerset, girl and dog out to track them down - it's just like Scooby Doo, only in this Scooby's a robot - and in the end the leader of the coven is the last person you expect, and he'd have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for the meddling kids. (And the sophistication is that the plausibly sinister couple are actually the red herrings - they're probably just into SM or something)
The problem is that, in the main, Scooby Doo seems a bit more plausible.
In the first place, how are you going to keep K-9 secret? He's not exactly in-con-flippin-spicuous is he? And he's got one of those voices that carries - what are you going to do, spread a cloth over him and pretend he's a coffee table?
And devil-worshippers - come *on* - I've been on this planet for half a century, and in that time I've known some very funny people and I've done some very odd things, but I've never met a devil-worshipper, still less the sort likely to stick a knife in some stray kids and hope the police don't notice. I think it's getting quite lazy to assume that the International Church of Satan sacrifices people - equally so to assume that just because we're in the English Countryside there must be devil-worshippers.
But, if you set all that aside it's OK, and the story did connect Sarah to K-9, which very much needed doing, and it's perfectly functional, and quite charming in it's way, and it's nice that the Wing Commander has such a splendid dog, and it's always nice to see Colin Jeavons in something, even though he's chronically wasted in this nonsense.
And the titles. My goodness they're awful; really, really embarrassingly atrocious. Only a true pro like Miss Sladen could possibly have done them without shouting 'This is bloody stupid' and going home; perhaps she was a little bit *too* professional.