Saturday, June 22, 2013

Doctor Who-The Leisure Hive

                           While vacationing on Brighton, Romana's discomfort with human style recreation leads her, after K-9 is damaged due to a near drowning incident chasing Romana's beach ball, that they would be better off spending their holiday in an environment that delivers some scientific challenge. Her suggestion is Argolis, a planet with a highly irradiated atmosphere after a twenty minute atomic war whose only tourist attraction is the Leisure Hive, a recreational facility set up to express goodwill and peaceful scientific/social progress. However due to competition the Leisure Hive is near bankruptcy and the planets human agent Brock and his layer Klout have arrived to discuss allowing the reptilian species the Foamasi to live on the planet as they are the only ones who can. Being that humans were on the opposing side of the war,Chairman Morix is skeptical until he succumbs swiftly to the advanced degeneration that all Argolin's experience and dies during the negotiations. His consort Mena is forced to take over negotiations.

                         As this is occurring the newly arrived doctor and Romana are intrigued by a demonstration of the Hive's Tachyon Recreation Generator, which as demonstrated by Mena's son Pangol  uses advanced material projection to allow the body to be disassembled,reassembled and replicated at random. After another demonstration where a human is killed, the doctor and Romana agree to work with human scientist Hardin to help perfect the unstable tachyon generator. During the doctors first attempt,his replica splits into as he escapes. When Hardin and Romana believed they have stabilized the unit, the doctor is aged 500 years into a white haired and ailing elderly man. It is revealed the device has been sabotaged. Mena and Pangol blame the doctor at first and have him and Romana confined to quarters. He is let out of confinement as Romana lets him out with the help of a Foamasi ambassador, who is sabotaging the generator in order to bring juctice to the real culprits: Brock and Kloat,both of whom are disguised agents from a Foamasi group attempting to manipulate Argolis. 

                      Of course during this its revealed that Pangol is not Mena's son but a new Argolin born solely from the generator-seeing his entire race is sterile. Mentally unstable due to the instability of the device which created him, Pangol wants to return to his people's war like past to avenge their enemies. In an attempt to reverse himself to the proper age,the doctor enters the generator with Pangol who is creating an army of himself to create a New Argolin army. The doctors presence,however created a state where these tachyon replication were those of the rejuvenated doctor with Pangol's clothing. A dying Mena is sent into the device and properly revitalized by it along with Pangol,in his case to infancy. The doctor and Romana, weary of the case from the Black Guardian, decide to forgo the rest of their holiday to continue their work.

                         This particular Doctor Who story is completely different in production than anything before it. Under new producer John Nathan Turner, the theme music opening title is much more advanced and ambitious-to the extent it would be used for the next two doctors' opening. Even though it wasn't to last forever, the entire presentation of this program is quite different. The special affects are extremely atmospheric and adept-with no hint of the low budget appearance from the previous few years of the show. The camera work is also compelling,making wonderful use of zoom and exotic lighting. Not to mention the extremely high quality of the acting of all participants. Tom Baker's doctor has reverted somewhat to the intelligent wit of his earlier years as opposed to the slight goofiness of his humor in the proceeding series of the show. You feel like you understand each of these characters intimately. Hardin's desire to do the scientifically ethical thing. Mena's desire to continuing peace among her people and even Pangol's anger having got the best of him and fueled his need to violent revenge. The programs intelligent take on the anti war theme,societal entropy and greed overcoming good sense are not necessarily new to Doctor Who. But this serial realizes them in a very mature and well realized manner-making this actually one of the best serials of the Tom Baker era of the show.
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