Become a Podshock Supporting Subscriber
Now more than ever, we need your support! Become a Supporting Subscriber today.

PLANET OF GIANTS


Chase - Posted on 17 December 2009

1

Well taken for it is it is not bad at all. It has this sort of aura about it that is pure sci fi fantasy and can only happen in a show like DW or Lost In Space or Space: 1999 and that ilk. It has this TWILIGHT ZONE feel to it and part of that might be that that show used props from the fantastic movie THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, at least I think so. THIS is not as good as SHRINKING MAN for that movie had for its time brilliant special effects, fantastic realistic sets, and phenomenal musical scores as well as good plot and acting. The main cast here is pretty good, as ever, even Susan. This, though, is not as good as LAND OF THE GIANTS, which came later and had for its time brilliant effects, stirring musical pieces, and enlarge and fantastic sets. And real life real world type characters for the most part and were likable. Here as part of DOCTOR WHO, this is remains a curious piece of how the show can stretch.

I like tha tthe Doc is thinking like a time traveller and is rude to Ian and Barbara (and later he's very warm as he apologizes to Barbara). It's all very well done and acted. Hartnell IS the Doctor, no matter how many others replace him in future and he's just as intriguing and interdimension as his Ship. They seem to have come from the last adventure even though it was last season UNLESS they've had some other adventure in the late 18th century. 

The dilemma in the TARDIS is nothing new but it seems fresh. Susan and/or Barbara do not seem to recall the doors opening in EDGE OF DESTRUCTION but maybe that's because the mind bending adventure made them forget!? Who knows. From the moment this ep starts, imagination takes over and we find ourselves drawn in with the foursome and their plight. The earthworm, the ant, the bee, and the labyrinth of a stone walkway are just some of the things...of course the show couldn't do alive insects so they had to be dead and it is eerie that they are. Hartnell and his band make us believe the improbably and kudos to them for that, for the sets and the effects really don't. Not that it doesn't try. Unlike what I"ve said earlier and I was totally wrong for saying that the shrunken cast never appear with the giants...for they do appear beneath the dead giant face of Fallow or whtever his  name was. But unlike LAND OF THE GIANTS (which DID have some dead giants and the Earthlings interact in one frame), this doesn't have the giant people actually moving in the same frame with the smaller Earth people. Let's not forget LAND OF THE GIANTS was made a few years after this and in a country with more money to spend and in Hollywood and was the most expensive tv show ever made up to that time (then later SPACE: 1999 broke that record and possibly later BATTLESTAR GALACTICA mock one).

In any event, taken on its own level (pun?), this is highly enjoyable. The music is okay but at times it seems to be taking the piss out of it by being a bit goofy and comedy like, almost like the background musical pieces that accompany any ep of the BURNS AND ALLEN SHOW (anyone who likes comedy must see Gracie Allen in action in any ten eps of that show, it...no, she is very very funny). Will Russell does a job of shaking up in the suitcase/matchbox. 

The only thing that doesn't really work in this story is the giant cat attack. It would have been nice to see it and the cast in one frame. As it is, it's not terrible but just okay. We can fill in the blanks with our imagination. I'm also glad that they nixed the original parts that had this cat also die from the insectide. I hate when animals have to die in tv shows and movies.

Speaking of the insectide, Farrow was...going on holiday, smoking, in a fishing boat all his own? And writing a report about a deadly insectide just before that? And told no one? No one was with him? Doesn't that all seem a bit...strange? ANd the killer, forgot his name too, Forrester was it? Two F names? Forrester kills him without thinking he'll get caught. Why I wonder? Isn't he the first suspect? In any event, this murder mystery doesn't fully seem right nor does it seem like  a mystery but it adds to the oddness of this episode. We know why he was murdered right at the start and in LAND OF THE GIANTS, murders were part of the plot and the Earht people had to get involved as in FRAMED and SIX HOURS TO LIVE, two excellent episodes. Here, it just happens and we're not sure how the TARDIS team will interact with that plot.

Even though nature seems at risk, the Doc just wants to get back the TARDIS and who can blame him? He has to get things back to normal. Susan is breaking down again and needs hugging again. Sigh.  Previous to that she seemed quite sensible and made the correct conlcusion about what happened to them, despite Ian thinking it not so. The cast is toally convincing. The base of the TARDIS seemed a bit strange to me as if something were propping it up but maybe it was just the copy I saw. The scene of it and then having the camera move upward to show the walkway was inspired and this was far from boring or slow moving. A very good start! 10/10.        

2

This is really grisly stuff and again, I am glad they didn't let the cat die. I mean it is techncially a kid's show and we have: a woman touching deadly insectide, beleiving she's going to die; two men cleaning up a brutal murder, a body with blood coming out the mouth, the two men getting blood on their hands and having to clean it up, dragging a body across a walkway, and that's just the grisly parts. Where is this house? No one sees them moving a body? It must be isloated. Smithers seems as troubled mentally as Forrester. Susan and the Doctor climb through a drain; Ian and Barbara have to hide in a briefcase I think and then search another case or something or hide in a bag and search a briefcase. There's also a pretty immobile fly who dies when it lands on the seeds; Barbara should not have touched the seeds. Even more silly is that Ian, who isn't really paying attention to her, doesn't see this, doesn't know why she's acting so fatalistic and doesn't realize she borrowed a hankerchef from him to wipe her hands off...the sink stuff is inspired. This moves faster than it used to IMO but it still would have moved even faster with a John Williams LAND OF THE GIANTS like background music. As it is, the music is not great but not terrrible but there's not enough of it. In any case, not a bad ep and it is entertaining and the sets are actually pretty good. The cast is very good but the overall feel is depressing with murder, insectide, death and impending death.   Uhm, why can't they just go back to the TARDIS? I can understand once separted, the Doc might not want not move the TARDIS for fear of not being able to materialize in the same place and time so he can't rescue Ian and Barbara that way but why not high tail right away? I guess the cat stopped them from doing that.

3

A satisfying ending and the solution to the insectide owes it to a telephone operator who is female and smart. Why do the English bobbies wear their helmet straps under the bottom of their..,noses? WTH? Anyway Barbara falls almost dead but recovers soon after. The others try a phone and think they've failed but that brough the police and then they start a fire. It's all well done but that goofy music almost spoils things again. Some of it is good and adequate but some of it is just way too filled with gaiety and frivolity. And...the Doc and Susan escape the water in the drain by hiding in an overflow pipe. The Doc mentions...unless I'm way wrong...that he hopes they don't unplug the drain or more water will come in. Then Ian and Barbara climb down to the sink after the scientist and the killer leave and find...the drain unplugged. They think the Doc and Susan may have drowned but the Doc and Susan emerge..."you can't rid of us that easily." He jokes. He also tells them he wouldn't hesitate to call the police if he were normal size. He really doesn't here, either. The Doc lightly chides Barbara about not telling them about her being infected. They also look at the formula on a giant notebook and try to figure it out but this comes to nothing...alot of this seems to be patched up from the episode...that didn't make it here...there were four eps originally but they cut it down to 3. One of things is that Barbara insists they stay and fight the killer and scientist and try to stop it. The predictable thing is that Smithers would be killed too and Forrester would be caught doing it but that doesn't really happen. The phone draws the bobbie to the house...a farmhouse...and he catches Smithers defending himself just as Forrester was going to kill him...and Smithers found out about the real reason Fallow or Farrow was killed so he's not TOO evil or bad. The fire also explodes the insectide can which hits Forrester in the eyes.

On the subject of Forrester: nice plan btw. He planned to put Farrow's body in a boat and set it adrift or overturn it...won't the body be found with a bullet hole in it? Or would sharks get it? Are there sharks there. He also  thinks he can get away with imitating Farrow's voice. What a dope.

In the last scenes the TARDIS returns to normal...or as close as it can get to normal. Not sure why the Doc took the infected seed, risking his and Ian's infection when he asks Ian to rewrap it in his cloak or something. Not sure what it shrinks. It as it's normal size when they took it. Not sure that makes any sense but whatever at least we get a happy ending. ABOUT TIME 1 chides the ending of the Doc looking at the scanner which has static on it as not really inspiring to get anyone to tune in next week...but I  think it's homey. THe scanner blew up but now it's fixed without any real time for the Doc to have fixed it..or maybe he did have time or maybe he says he didn't but whatever. A good story ends and another good one will come next time. It's interesting to note that this is Susan's 9th story and the next one, the tenth, will be her last. That she should only be in ten stories but leave a legacy greater than most companions is a testament to the charcater and the actress...        

You know, until I bought the DVD I don't think I actually saw "Planet of Giants" before now.  Back in the early 1990's when my local PBS station decided to show all the Hartnell/Troughton episodes, I think I actually missed this one.  It was like watching it for the first time. Certainly it plays like a whodunnit but overall it was pretty easy to watch. Some of the Hartnell stories tend to drag for me.

In some respects this is a pretty good story with the sets that have been increased in size.  I liked the little tender moment in Part One between the Doctor & Barbara where he apologized for being so rude. It kind of set the tone for later Doctors who expressed sincere concerns about the fate of their companions.

Reading the info text it shows how old the show is when one of the actors is shown as being born in 1899. 

I have to agree with Chase that the story has a sort of "Twilight Zone" feel.  This is one of those early stories that utilized the resources of its shoestring budget to their max and pulled off an above-average final product.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

New Doctor Who Podshock schwag

Podcast Feeds

Subscribe to
the Doctor Who podcast
Doctor Who: Podshock


iTunes users click here
Podcast
Gallifreyan Embassy - Doctor Who: Podshock - Doctor Who: Podshock


Direct podcast feeds:


Doctor Who: Podshock
Podcast


MP3 Format Podcast:
Doctor Who: Podshock MP3
Podcast


  More feeds and info

  Supporting Subscribers

BEST PODCAST

Doctor Who: Podshock Awarded BEST PODCAST
Doctor Who: PODSHOCK

DW Podshock App

iPhone, iPad, iPod touch podcast companion app

Doctor Who: Podshock Podcast Companion App

Doctor Who: Podshock Companion App

Syndicate (RSS Feed)

Syndicate content

Poll

How do you rate Doctor Who: Listen? (5=Fantastic)
5 TARDIS Groans
25%
4 TARDIS Groans
50%
3 TARDIS Groans
25%
2 TARDIS Groans
0%
1 TARDIS Groan
0%
0 TARDIS Groans
0%
Total votes: 4

Amazon US Store

Amazon UK Store

Latest image

DW Podshock 309 Cover

BBC Shop (UK & Europe)