State of Decay
There's something inherently wrong with airing stuff out of order. I mean the actors get older, they grow more accostumed to their roles, there's even some continuity stuff that gets mixed up. This happened or is seen most in LAND OF THE GIANTS, where Barry grows quite a few inches or more between the first half of the first PRODUCED episodes and the way they were aired. There was also character development that went out the window. The thing is that some executive got hold of the show and hated it and thought, I'll air the worst episodes first IN HIS OPINION but it backfired on him. The show rose in ratings from day one and then leveled off as he aired the BEST eps first.
Anyway, not to be negative, the story here is the second to be shot I think. Matthew's first scenes as Adric are here and some say he's very bad. I just say he's inexperienced and juvenile...yet juvenile is one of many points of Adric and so is inexperience. He wants to "join up with the Doctor and see the universe..." That's BRILLIANT!
STATE OF DECAY is without a doubt the best that DW can be. There was the feeling at the time that it couldn't get any better than this and for a long time after. I felt that if it remained this way for years and years I'd be watching and allright with that and I imagined tons of adventures for this team. Sigh. It was not to be. But then the Doc and Adric could have tons of adventures too, right?
This story has great atmosphere. Yes, it's the old vampire stuff mixed in with science stuff. Chris Bidmead rewrote a 1977 Leela story and made it futuristic and took out the medevil stuff. JNT in ANOTHER GREAT MOVE and I"m not being sarcastic, made him change it back to be more medevil and less futuristic. SOme of the tech still survives and that is what makes this story great. Yes, it's another civilization turned decayed and almost backward...because of another alien or monster or whathaveyou. However, this time, THE EARTHLINGS have become the monsters and have invaded another planet! When you realize that, it's amazing. True, there's a vampire behind it but more on that later when we find out that these creatures are ancient enemies of...
The set design is fantastic, the location work great, Tom is in great form and so is K9 and Lalla. Her outfit is just wonderful. Tom's voice comes on through as always and even he seems to think this script is GREAT and he's right. The guest actors are generally good and the characters interesting. The only let down is the cliffhanger, it's somewhat atmospheric and I can tell what they were going for with a swarm of bats (an underrated movie NIGHTWING had, in the 70s I think, done the whole bat thing more effectively and disturbingly with more blood and deaths) but it's not really as effective as it could be.
Still, the lordly Romana and the Doctor against the three who rule is coming up and the build up is rather nice and into the mix is the formerly lonely, mixed up CHILD Adric who is already in trouble...THIS STORY ROCKS!
And it was the best DW could be up to that point and for a great deal afterward...DW only got this good again when RTD first took the reigns in 2005 and then dropped them at the very end of 2008 and all of 2009. Anyway...onto 2...
Oh and anyone who says they knew the castle was a space rocket ahead of time and what was really going on in this ep and guessed the revelation later on...was lying...