Jump to content


Getting an "Insecure Connection" warning for Exisle? No worry

Details in this thread

Doctor Who: The Ark in Space

Doctor Who 4th Doctor

  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,691 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 12:06 PM

Posted Image


That was a cracking good time. While I liked “Robot” this story felt like the proper introduction to the 4th Doctor. It felt like Hinchcliffe and Holmes were putting their own stamp on the show and saying this is what it is going to be like now. The Doctor wandering the cosmos and blundering into situations where he does his best to help, all with a dash of sci-fi and horror.

The first episode was rather good and did a nice job of setting everything up. I thought keeping it isolated to just the three main characters was a good idea. This is still a new Doctor and Harry is a new companion. Spending time with just them before new characters are introduced makes sense.

Sarah Jane does get sidelined for the first two episodes, but I was okay with that. She has had an entire season of adventures with the Doctor. This is Harry’s first true adventure and he needs some time to shine. That’s not to say Sarah doesn’t do anything. She gets a lot of screen time in the last two episodes.

I liked the dynamic between the Doctor and Harry. The Doctor doesn’t take Harry seriously at all and likes to deflate Harry’s pompousness but never in a mean way. Harry seems like a genuinely good, if slightly chauvinistic, guy who is in a little over his head.

The first episode just kept piling on the calamities. First they were in an undisclosed location with no power, then there was no oxygen, then they were getting shot at by the automated security system, and then Harry seemingly gets attacked by a giant insect.

Poor Harry. He lost both his shoes and has to do a lot of running in just his socks. Is it terrible that I was hoping he would lose his pants, too?

This episode has some big ideas and it is too bad the budget wasn’t there to pull them off. The dead Wirrn looks terrible, the green bubble wrap on Noah as he transforms is silly looking, and the space station itself is horrible looking.

Thankfully the script and the ideas on display more than make up for the budgetary shortcomings in a way that the script and ideas for “Warriors of the Deep” couldn’t. Noah’s bubble wrapped hand may look silly but the idea that he is slowly changing into a Wirrn and betraying the very people he was supposed to lead and protect is chilling. The fact that the Wirrn are a hive mind and that Noah sometimes speaks as if he is Dune (a human that was consumed by the Wirrn in the first episode) just ads to the strangeness.

Honestly, the body horror aspects are pulled off well. Noah is a tragic figure that does his best to resist the Wirrn hive mind and he does get a few fleeting moments of resistance but for the most part he is nothing more than a tool for the alien insectoids.

I appreciated the fact that the Wirrn weren’t just evil monsters that want to eat humanity. They have traveled all this way to find a new home planet and to get revenge on humanity. Human colonists took over Wirrn breeding planets and the Wirrn lost the subsequent war so they decided they would head to Earth and conquer that planet. It makes them complicated antagonists.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the story does as much with that concept as they could have. The 4th Doctor seems sympathetic and he makes a token effort to dissuade the Wirrn and then he proceeds to wipe them out. It is a stark contrast from similar situations faced by the 3rd and 5th Doctors. The 4th Doctor finds humanity to be his favorite species and he is going to save them, even if they are their own architects of doom.

The story does a good job of presenting an alien culture with regards to the future humans. This isn’t the humanity that Sarah Jane and Harry are familiar with. These humans are colder, have different speech patterns and vocabulary, and are much more regimented. They were little touches, but I appreciated that the episodes did their best to differentiate the humans in the future from the modern day humans.

I liked Vira. Yes, she was cold and almost didn’t revive Sarah because she might not have been important, but she kept a level head and did her job. She was cool in a crisis and listened to the Doctor, and that’s all you can ask from a good supporting character.

I knew that the TARDIS wasn’t featured much this season because of the dispute going on behind the scenes but I still thought we would see the characters travel in it. Instead the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry beam down to Earth to make sure the transporter is working and to check the condition of the planet. I wonder if this means we will see the space station again this season?

“The Ark in Space” was a really good story. It felt like a statement of intent by the new creative team that things have changed and that the UNIT days are behind us. I am enjoying the dynamics between this TARDIS crew which makes it sad that Harry will be gone soon. The horror aspects, especially the body horror, were done well. The special effects might have been rubbish but the story and characters more than made up for that deficiency. I am excited to see what comes next.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#2 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 33,193 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 01:33 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 September 2020 - 12:06 PM, said:


[font=Arial",sans-serif"That was a cracking good time. While I liked &ldquo]This episode has some big ideas and it is too bad the budget wasn’t there to pull them off. The dead Wirrn looks terrible, the green bubble wrap on Noah as he transforms is silly looking, and the space station itself is horrible looking. [/font]

I'll repeat what often gets pointed out -- bubble wrap was a fairly new invention at that time, so not as many viewers would've recognized it for what it was or seen it as a familiar, mundane sight. Granted, the FX overall in this era of DW were pretty crude by modern standards, or even by contemporary American standards. But the bubble wrap was actually kind of innovative for the time.


Quote

[font=Arial",sans-serif"I liked Vira. Yes, she was cold and almost didn&rsquo]I knew that the TARDIS wasn’t featured much this season because of the dispute going on behind the scenes but I still thought we would see the characters travel in it. Instead the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry beam down to Earth to make sure the transporter is working and to check the condition of the planet. I wonder if this means we will see the space station again this season?[/font]

Yes, but not as soon as you'd expect. It features in two serials that were recorded back-to-back but don't take place in that order. (The next serial, "The Sontaran Experiment," was recorded between "Robot" and "The Ark in Space," and was the only one other than "Robot" to be videotaped on location until the Colin Baker era.)

There's also a Big Finish audio adventure from 2012 called Destination: Nerva in which the Fourth Doctor and Leela visit the station. I haven't heard it yet, but it's one of the ones they have avaiable on the Hoopla online library, so I should get to it before much longer.

And in Who, they're transmats, not transporters. This is the serial that debuts the name "transmat," though the technology was previously called "T-mat" in "The Seeds of Death."
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Patreon Page -- Featuring reviews and original fiction
Facebook Author Page

#3 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 33,193 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 01:35 PM

Virgil, I don't know what it is, but something about your posts lately gives them stray font tags or something that screw up my attempts to quote and respond. In other posts, I just get a notice about extra tags and I have to copy and repaste as text to get it to go through. This time the system just ate a couple of the paragraphs I wrote, and there are some fragmentary tags inside the quote boxes.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Patreon Page -- Featuring reviews and original fiction
Facebook Author Page

#4 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
  • Moderator
  • 5,691 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 04:47 PM

View PostChristopher, on 13 September 2020 - 01:35 PM, said:

Virgil, I don't know what it is, but something about your posts lately gives them stray font tags or something that screw up my attempts to quote and respond. In other posts, I just get a notice about extra tags and I have to copy and repaste as text to get it to go through. This time the system just ate a couple of the paragraphs I wrote, and there are some fragmentary tags inside the quote boxes.

Is it all my posts or just my reviews?

I recently bought a new laptop and upgraded from Microsoft Word 2007 to whatever the new one is. Maybe that is the problem?

I have forgotten to hit the "remove format" button on my last couple of posts. I'm about to post a Superboy review and I'll hit that button. Hopefully that will help.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#5 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 33,193 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 05:14 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 September 2020 - 04:47 PM, said:

Is it all my posts or just my reviews?

I'm not sure. Most of your posts that I respond to are the reviews; I don't recall it happening with anything else.


Quote

I recently bought a new laptop and upgraded from Microsoft Word 2007 to whatever the new one is. Maybe that is the problem?

I have forgotten to hit the "remove format" button on my last couple of posts. I'm about to post a Superboy review and I'll hit that button. Hopefully that will help.

We'll see.
"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Patreon Page -- Featuring reviews and original fiction
Facebook Author Page

#6 RJDiogenes

RJDiogenes

    Idealistic Cynic

  • Demigod
  • 14,869 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:09 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 September 2020 - 12:06 PM, said:

The Doctor wandering the cosmos and blundering into situations where he does his best to help, all with a dash of sci-fi and horror.  
That's pretty much what I want to see. He's the Caine of time and space.

Quote

Poor Harry. He lost both his shoes and has to do a lot of running in just his socks. Is it terrible that I was hoping he would lose his pants, too?  
They call it entertainment for a reason.  :D

Quote

This episode has some big ideas and it is too bad the budget wasn’t there to pull them off. The dead Wirrn looks terrible, the green bubble wrap on Noah as he transforms is silly looking, and the space station itself is horrible looking.  
This is part of the charm. I'd rather see sets and props that look like they were made by human hands than photorealistic CGI (most of the time).

Quote

The 4th Doctor seems sympathetic and he makes a token effort to dissuade the Wirrn and then he proceeds to wipe them out. It is a stark contrast from similar situations faced by the 3rd and 5th Doctors. The 4th Doctor finds humanity to be his favorite species and he is going to save them, even if they are their own architects of doom.  
Well, the Wirrn are attacking beings who had nothing to do with their grievances, so they are certainly in the wrong.

Quote

These humans are colder, have different speech patterns and vocabulary, and are much more regimented. They were little touches, but I appreciated that the episodes did their best to differentiate the humans in the future from the modern day humans.  
Little details like that can add a lot of versimilitude to a fantastical setting.

Quote

Instead the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry beam down to Earth to make sure the transporter is working and to check the condition of the planet.
The TARDIS has a transporter?  Or the space station does?
Please visit The RJDiogenes Store. Posted Image   And my Gallery. Posted Image And my YouTube Page. Posted Image And read Trunkards. Posted Image  And then there's my Heroes Essays.  Posted Image

#7 Christopher

Christopher
  • Demigod
  • 33,193 posts

Posted 13 September 2020 - 06:44 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 13 September 2020 - 06:09 PM, said:

The TARDIS has a transporter?  Or the space station does?

The station does. They were avoiding showing the TARDIS interior this season due to a labor dispute involving who was responsible for the console prop, or some such thing, so for the next few serials they devise alternate modes of transport to get the characters from one story to another. We won't see the TARDIS again until the very end of the season.

Edited by Christopher, 13 September 2020 - 06:45 PM.

"You don't use science to show that you're right, you use science to become right." -- xkcd

"The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas." -- "H. G. Wells," Time After Time


Written Worlds -- My homepage and blog
Patreon Page -- Featuring reviews and original fiction
Facebook Author Page

#8 G-man

G-man

    Is there a problem?

  • Moderator
  • 8,812 posts

Posted 17 September 2020 - 02:54 PM

On the DVD, there is an option to swap out the old exterior miniature work for CGI, which goes a long ways to enhancing the experience.  Especially given just how bad the miniatures were for this episode … the sets, OTOH, weren’t that bad.

Anyhow, the pacing was good was good in this episode, with them appearing on a seemingly abandoned platform, having to deal with the legacy systems and programs that were still in place.  With a suspicious crew awakening to find one of their members absent, and the Doctor and Companions inexplicably present, all while an alien menace lurks in the shadows aboard the station, complications ensue.  In many ways this is reminiscent of many of Troughton stories.

Sarah Jane displayed her propensity to get into trouble while the men ignored her, and Harry was amusing as a fellow who has gone beyond his depth, and is doing his best to deal with it.

I rather liked the Wirrun, and could well understand their motivation and thinking.  The issue boiled down to survival, and the universe wasn’t big enough for both the Wirrun (who had lost their home to the Humans) and the Humans.  Fortunately, the Doctor came down on the side of the Humans.

/s/

Gloriosus
the G-man Himself
Let me strive every moment of my life to make myself better and better, to the best of my ability, so that all may profit by it.
Let me think of the right and lend my assistance to all who may need it, with no regard for anything but justice.
Let me take what comes with a smile, without loss of courage.
Let me be considerate of my country, of my fellow citizens, and my associates in everything I say and do.
Let me do right to all, and wrong no man.
-- Doc Savage

Few people want to be moderated, most people see the need for everyone else to be moderated. -- Orpheus



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Doctor Who, 4th Doctor

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users