The Ark

I really enjoyed this one. The first couple of episodes contain some pretty standard sci-fi tropes – humanity being in the process of relocating, a long term mission designed to be completed by multiple generations of the crew, future civilisations being wiped out by the common cold – but it’s all executed very well, even if it’s not spectacular.

But oh boy, that fake-out ending to episode two, where you think the whole story’s wrapped up, only for the TARDIS to return after 700 years and discover that everything’s gone to shit. A brilliant bit of storytelling, and it introduces a much better concept for the second half of the story – regaining control back from the Monoids.

The Monoids themselves are a bit cheap looking, but they do have beautiful hair. They sometimes have a habit of explaining all their plans out loud for no good reason, but other than that they’re a decent enough monster. I spent the whole of episode three thinking how much one of them sounded like Zippy, then saw the credits and discovered that it was Zippy! Oh, and there’s the Refusians too – good use of invisible aliens to stretch the budget. Again.

Dodo seems like a promising companion by the end of the serial, but she was all over the place at the start – giddy and reckless, in quite an annoying manner. Her accent took a while to settle down, which I’ve since read was because the powers that be decided half way through the recording that they didn’t want a character that didn’t have R.P. Maybe the Doctor’s digs about her mid-60s slang was a reference to this fuddy-duddiness?

Next up – The Celestial Toymaker. I’m aware that this is a famous one, but I know very little about it, and am not sure whether it’s famously good or famously shit…

RATING: 7

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