Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doctor Who-The Invasion
                                   One of the most unfortunate aspects of the early years of Doctor Who is the fact that so many episodes,particularly those featuring Patrick Troughton as the second doctor,are missing due to BBC's old policy of re-using "unneeded" master tapes of old programs. As a matter of fact,as far as I know only six second doctor era episodes have survived in their entirety.  This story was not only one of the most famous of his era but also had the interesting problem of being largely complete,save for two episodes. Original audio tracks for them existed. In the past many fans and even the BBC to a degree have attempted to revive missing Doctor Who episodes using still photos with original audio or audio tracks only-to varying success. By the the of DVD a new idea came up-the possibility of using the audio track and still photos to created animation for the lost episodes of this serial. And a long serial this is at that at a whopping eight parts,six of which survive fully intact. Parts one and four are the only ones that required animation. The animation by the way is wonderful,attuned almost exactly to the movement of the human body and shot in to match the black & white nature of the original episodes.

                                We start out with the doctor,Jamie and Zoe knocked out of Earth orbit by a rocket launched from the moon. This damages the TARDIS and they begin searching for a friend of the doctors Professor Travis. This not so merry chase leads them to discover that the Professor has left his home in the care of another professor named Watkins and his struggling photographer daughter Isobel. Watkins is said to be involved with an international electronics organization led by the extremely suspicious Tobias Vaughn,who is observed to be acting strangely and rather obsessed with inhuman machines to insulate his world. When the doctor believes he and his companions are captured it turns out they have actually been rescued by the newly formulated UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Task Force) led by the now Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart. 

                              While Isobel and Zoe attempt to track down the doctor via bypassing a computerized answering service and being taken prisoner it is soon revealed that Vaughn has become the puppet of the Cybermen who intend to use his quest for the political monopolization of his company to invade the Earth.  Once the doctor,the Brigadier and the rest of UNIT survey the situation it's again Zoe who comes to the rescue,suggesting perhaps a series of internationally launched missles might create a chain reaction and destroy the cybermen's mother ship if launched properly. Once Tobias Vaughn realizes that his plans are exploding up in his face,he switches to the doctors side and tries to help him defeat the cybermen. They are able to successfully thrawt a control signal the cybermen were attempting to use to destroy humanity,although Vaughn ends up being sacrificed. Due to her capturing the cybermen on her camera Isobel ends up remaining with UNIT as the doctor and his companions go about on their merry way.

                       This is an excellent story,one of the second doctors best actually.  It explores the issue of globalization (a theme which would be consistently return to in the third doctor's era) and the over mechanization of humanity with the shows excellent sense of wit. Especially telling is how Zoe,using her mastery of verbal binary code,with the help of Isobel forces Tobias Vaughn's "stupid answering machine" (as the doctor often calls it) into smoke and flames. There's an overriding theme of "human versus machine" here in addition to Vaughn's selling his soul to the inhuman cybermen. Also this show has an early reference to sexism (the word feminist is actually used here). One important line has the Brigadier suggesting a given mission isn't appropriate for Zoe due to her sex. In the end it's Zoe's knowledge of tactical mathematics that helps greatly in saving the Earth from destruction.  It's a great,fast paced and action packed story with an important overriding message of humanity needing to mobilize it's best forces together to deal with a foe that is very much anti humanistic.
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