Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Doctor Who E-Space Trilogy Review

From series eighteen of the original run of Doctor Who, the E-Space Trilogy features three loosely connected stories from Tom Bakers final season.  Set in another universe connected to our own, E-Space.  These three stories feature the introduction of Adric and the departure of both Romana and K-9.

Full Circle

On the way back to Gallifrey to return Romana to the Council of the Time Lords the Tardis is caught in a strange phenomena and passes from normal space into an alternate universe called E-Space.

Landing on the planet Alzarius the Doctor and Roman find a small settlement of humanoids living between a fruit rich river and a grounded spaceship simply known as the Starliner.  The people on the planet arrived many generations ago, and have been attempting to repair their ship ever since in an attempt to return to their home world of Terradon.

All is not well in the colony; however, as strange insect eggs have started to appear in the riverfruit, the environment is turning against the colonists and primitive Marshmen rise from beneath the surface of the river….

Are the Marshmen a threat or something more?

‘Full Circle’ is the first part of the E-Space trilogy and the introduction of new companion Adric, played by Matthew Waterhouse.  The first of the four episodes quickly and clearly sets up both the concept of E-Space itself and the colonists living on Alzarius.

The ever expanding history of Alzarius, the colonists and the Marshmen is interesting and takes some dramatic, if not completely scientifically possible, turns to craft a very interesting story.  The story itself was actually written by a seventeen year old fan of the series, but is very well written and a very competent tale.

The sets are fairly standard Doctor Who affair, with nothing particularly special to them, but the Marshmen costumes look great, and the creatures are portrayed well.

A good Doctor Who story that introduced some great concepts and a new companion.  Competent sets and great looking monsters make this a good story that doesn’t stand out as one of the all time greats, but is a solid, competent and entertaining serial.

State of Decay

After the events of ‘Full Circle’ the Doctor, Romana, K-9 and new companion/stowaway Adric arrive on a planet trapped in the dark ages, under the thrall of three lords, Zargo, Camilla and Aukon.

The Doctor and Romana discover evidence of more advanced technology than is evident of the planets medieval society and begin investigating what could be holding this society back.  It soon becomes apparent that there is more to the three lords than meets the eye as it is revealed that they are not quite human, but vampire creatures that are in fact serving an ancient and powerful enemy of the Time Lords….

There is more to the three lords than meets the eye.

I’d heard of ‘State of Decay’ long before I’d ever seen it, the introduction of The Great Vampires and their history with the Time Lords was one that was known to me for a long while, and one that interested me greatly.  I found the concept of an ancient foe of the Time Lords that are so powerful and evil that they inspired the myths of vampires throughout the universe a hugely interesting one and wanted to learn more of this history.

Unfortunately there’s not much more to learn than what I already knew.  The Great Vampire itself only makes a brief appearance in the story, instead the main focus being on the Three Lords.

An interesting gothic tale that gives us a little insight into the history of the Time Lords and what they have done in the past to protect the universe.  At times a little too over the top and cheesy, but entertaining.

Warriors Gate

The Tardis crew find themselves in a white null space between normal space and E-Space.  Elsewhere in the void another ship, commanded by Rorvik, has also become trapped.  This second ship is a slave vessel that has captured a group of leonine Tharil’s to use as their navigators.  Upon becoming stuck in the void the ships navigator, Biroc, escapes and makes his way toward the Tardis.

Caught in the space between universes and in a fight between the Tharil’s and their oppressors the Doctor, Romana, Adric and K-9 must choose which side to assist in the struggle, whilst finding a way through the void back into their own universe…..

The Taril's petition for Romana's help.

‘Warriors Gate’ is a very interesting and at some times confusing story, using multiple time lines and the past and future interacting at the same time to craft a story that demands to be watched a second time, even if only to figure out what’s going on.

The Tharil make-up is adequate, nothing spectacular but nicely subtle enough to create a convincing leonine species.  Peoples motives and morals are constantly in question and at some times its hard to know which group to support, but that makes the story a lot more interesting than just having one clear group of heroes and one clear group of villains.

This story also marks the departure of both Romana and K-9, and whilst this seems to come quite suddenly at the end of the story, the whole of the E-Space trilogy has been subtly setting up the fact that Romana doesn’t want to return to Gallifrey.  It’s not the most out of the blue departure the show has had, but it does feel quite rushed.

An interesting feature in this serial however is the design of the slaver ship.  I’m sure fans of Firefly will see quite clearly the similarities to the design of Serenity.  Was the designer of the Serenity a fan of this serial?  Or does the Firefly universe exist within the Doctor Who universe?  If it does, I can’t wait to see a cross over!

Seperated at birth?

Thanks for reading!


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