Reviewed By: TCar96
Review Date: 9/7/16 9:29 pm
4 out of 4 found this review helpful.
Another JNT serial I really don't understand where the loathing comes from. It's certainly less in the comedy department than, well everything but season 18 - but there's some subtle comedy mostly through ticks and facial performances. This takes a solemn edge off what served as the major detractor in my enjoyment of the Leisure Hive.
Again, we've got some harder sci-fi than usual, without sinking to the depths of Tachyon technobabble. Far from an overused plot element (I'd argue this criticism is retroactively applied with foreviewing of nuwho, all of classic who, big finish & the novels!) I found the simple dichotomy between scientists and deists to be a fun little element, subverting and raising questions not just about the world in which we live - but the show which we enjoy!
I'd also hesitate to call the SFX any worse than usual, personally I found the Zolfa-Thura work very impressive. For CSO and model work, with moving models, and actors, this is staggeringly better than Underworld and for me strikes a perfect balance of ambition and self-restraint.
The effects matter, sets too, as we're treated to a tremendous variety of locales. The eerie dunes of Zolfa-Thura interrupted by a grand doom-weapon; the lush vegitation of Tigella; spaceship innards; Meglos' lair; Tigellan interiors - all competently handled and well lit. No Zygon ship certainly, but everything works and isn't repeated enough to bring focus to the scuffs.
The plot is a mish mash of body swapping dopplegangers, power cores and civilisation on the brink. Nevertheless its interspersed nature makes the formation entertaining despite constituent elements being a little formulaic. Thanks to some great direction, CSO work, sound design, writing and effects, the conclusion is one of the few bits of classic Who where there's a genuine sense of planet crushing scale.
Another serial from season 18 I believe ought to be reappraised.