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     Home »  The Tom Baker Era »  THE ANDROIDS OF TARA
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     Sunday, May 10 2009 @ 12:49 PM EDT

    Another segment to the Key to Time found and this time rather quickly. Since the Doctor’s holiday was interrupted in THE RIBOS OPERATION he decides to take a break here, using some jokey excuse to Romana to go fishing. Romana finds the segement fast enough. It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Doctor, always having to do things and save the universe normally but to have this key thing weighing over him. Frankly just the opposite is felt by me: the Doctor: it’s high time he had some purpose to some of his seasons and stories and this is it. Frankly, the Key to Time thing is just refreshing even if it reminds one of the Keys of Marinus tripping. Plus the Doctor is so flippant…in retrospect, the Doctor seems to know every planet and every mention of every name…except here he doesn’t seem to. How things changed…the First Doctor barely knew where he was each and every time he stepped outside the TARDIS, even Earth. He didn’t know where he was in DALEK INVASION EARTH right away…the Doc here does seem to be a know all even on Tara but for once he’s not fully knowledged about it.

    Tom’s a delight again, so is Mary Tamm. The sets inside are just fabulous and the outdoor location work sunny and breezy and airy. The less said about the Beast of Tara, the better. I can’t say enough about everyone’s performances. They are spot on Grendel might be a bit over the top but not as much as almost everyone in RIBOS. The castle looks great, the hunting lodge looks great and both the Doctor and Romana, separately are in lots of trouble. Romana more of it. Lamia is menacing enough and the situation puzzling…a good start to this ep. It looks medieval to me, wishing, again that DW would take the time to go back in time on Earth for once again. Still if STAR TREK can do Medieval and Gangster planets, why not DW?

    Not really overshadowing complaints as this ep is most enjoyable and this story a nice departure again, from horror motifs and/or space shenanigans or monster invasions. None of that here. Just a nice story, yes, taken from a few sources, most notably PRISONER OF ZENDA but whatever, it’s a nice change for a series that had degenerated into a monster of the week show and a horror rip off show. Most people love the Hinchcliffe Years and yes, they definitely had their moments but for the most part, aside from the gore and violence (tame by today’s stuff) they played it pretty safe, robbing from mostly monster movies, sci fi ideas and movies, and the like. BUT THIS…this is new thing for DW and thankfully it’s a planet problem not an Earth wide, universe wide large scope. Those have their place, if done well like the SONTARAN STRATEGM but if RTD is listening, if you go to that Earth well, universe in danger all the time well, it dilutes the entire show and sags it downward…which I think is the current problem. To do small planet stuff and not even an ENTIRE full planet but one section of it in one small area…like this…it is entertaining and interesting. But I guess all they care about is if it will get high ratings…which is a concern I get that. Pity that a story like this might never be done any more…

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     Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 12:07 AM EDT
    Eps 2-3

    One thing I noticed about this story is it reminds me of FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE, the third Flash Gordon serial. There are castles, electric swords I think, and the like and the helmets remind me of each other. That's a good thing, Flash was always the best of the serials.

    Another thing I noticed was...if Reynart was such a big prince...why hasn't he a larger bunch of men on his side. He seems to have three!

    There's a lot of back and forth in this story and that's okay as we get a good look at more of Tara's plants and trees and lawns and stuff. And it doesn't get boring but it's not as fresh as it was in ep1.

    The Doctor attacking Romana was...a bit strange and we all knew he would never hit her over the head as annoyed by her as he might get. I mean in RIBOS he didn't want her around, and in STONES, he seemed to push her over a cliff (which wasn't him).

    Romana's escape is quite nice only she gets kidnapped by him again...and her trying to ride a horse is a nice touch and she does a good job of it. K9 is once again in his element, knocking out many guards. The Doctor's talk to Grendal is funny and he betrays the evil man right away...who betrays the flag of truce. Grendal also doesn't seem the evil through and through even though he is pretty bad...he doesn't want Madam Lamia killed...and that's quite a bit disturbing...a female getting shot on screen. On DW! When was the last time that happened?

    There's some werid sounding music appropriately during android stuff and the android double stuff isn't as annoying or flawed as it was in ANDROID INVASION. In fact, this seems almost like a different show entirely, not routed in the seriousness of a stupid, illogical plot as ANDROID INVASION was. This seems steeped in fun mixed with some danger. The Doctor's fun, too as when he does go out and call Grendal "Liar!" beneath a barrage of laser fire--from crossbows!

    A good pair of episodes with good sets, good music, and alot runninig around, escapes, traps, and the like. Not bad. DW could do worse. It does in the next three Doctor's stories!

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     Tuesday, May 12 2009 @ 12:44 PM EDT
    [Quote  by:  Chase] Eps 2-3

    The Doctor attacking Romana was...a bit strange and we all knew he would never hit her over the head as annoyed by her as he might get. I mean in RIBOS he didn't want her around, and in STONES, he seemed to push her over a cliff (which wasn't him).

    Romana's escape is quite nice only she gets kidnapped by him again...and her trying to ride a horse is a nice touch and she does a good job of it.

    As to the "Attacking Romana" (I assume you're talking about the episode 2 cliffhanger) it explains in the next episode that he heard the sparking of a short-circuit and realized that the Princess Strella before them was an android - programed to kill the prince. He had to do something to save his life. to Romana's escape - I loved her trying to start the horse. It's one of the few comic bits for Mary Tamm in the show.

    "Make your last move, Doctor. Make your LAST move." The Celestial Toymaker to the Doctor in "The Celestial Toymaker: The Final Test"
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     Wednesday, May 13 2009 @ 12:16 AM EDT
    They made it seem like he was attacking her in the cliffhanger from ep2.

    Episode 4

    With almost everyone in danger, the stakes are high. There's an attack on the castle via a moat and underground passage, more Tom Foolery which I love (his be careful or be quiet to k9 and then yelling as he hits something unseen is funny). There's a well staged sword fight. Strella, the Prince and Romana are all in danger. The sword fight is quite well done but I'm not sure if they were going for the Doctor is not as good a swordfighter as Grendel moments or that the Doctor just doesn't let on how good he is until he's finished.

    I recall in the mid 70s how Tom Baker said that in BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY (or maybe it was Gil Gerad himself) how the makers of that show never let the friends of Buck help him out of situations and that if the Doctor was to look brilliant, the people around him had to be brilliant and help him. Well here the Prince and Romana do help him and Strella gets a bit of her own in, too. The ending with K9 floating is cute but...a bit silly. Grendel getting away was almost a one off for the Fourth Doctor's era...most baddies die or are imprisoned...mostly die.

    Almost all of this is well done if a bit draggy at a few moments. Still, the story knows how to do a climatic ending and the fight is well done. ALmost all of it is a climax to be honest. Romana (or rather Tamm) and Tom (or rather the Doctor?) have a rapport that seems genuine. With Louise Jameson, it seemed as if she was striving for...and obtained a rapport with Tom, despite his stubborness against her character. Here, it seems a bit more easy going. Romana is just an excellent character and here she proves her merit yet again. A lot of former DW guest stars star in this and do a great job and as for the Archmandrite's hat...or why Tom thinks K9 adrift is so just doesn't matter much. Great story really.

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