Doctor Who – Carnival of Monsters and Frontier in Space

Doctor Who Story 066 – Carnival of Monsters

Who Wrote It: Robert Holmes

What’s It About: Now that he has a fully functioning TARDIS, The Doctor takes Jo on a quick jaunt to Metebelis Three, and the two end up on the SS Bernice near Singapore. But the SS Bernice isn’t on Earth. It is actually stuck in a device called a Miniscope, which is being used to entertain security agents on the planet Inter Minor.

This is an interesting and clever story with a few of the Holmesian trademarks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy this story. This is the second time I have viewed it, and the first time I loved it. This time, however, I merely found myself checking off the plot points as they arose. This is where we see Ian Marter. This is where we see the Drashig. This is where we see The Doctor leave the Miniscope, and so on. I think I may have been in the wrong frame of mind when I watched this story. It was in the midst of some serious Doctor Who (or maybe Jon Pertwee) burnout. Regardless, I won’t hold my apathy against this story. Maybe the next time I watch it, I will feel different.

My Rating: 2.5/5, pending reevaluation in a few years. I didn’t give this story a fair shake.

 

The Doctor meets with the Draconian King
The Doctor meets with the Draconian King (Source: Tardis Index File. Copyright 1973 by BBC.)

Doctor Who Story 067 – Frontier in Space

Who Wrote It: Malcolm Hulke

What’s It About: The Doctor and Jo land on an Earth cargo ship (in space!), and soon after the ship is attacked by Ogrons. To the crew of the ship, however, the Ogrons appear to be Draconians, an empire with which Earth is currently at peace, although that peace is rapidly deteriorating. It seems that someone is attempting to instigate a war between the Earth and Draconian Empires.

I started Frontier in Space soon after Carnival of Monsters. I think my burnout carried over. But upon the introduction of The Master to the story, I found my enjoyment rising. For whatever reason, I was eager to see Roger Delgado again.

The story is actually a good one, and I’ve seen it used in other science fiction shows (Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine being among them). The Doctor and Jo spend much of the first three episodes being shunted in and out of prison by humans and then by Draconians. Sadly, this gets old pretty fast. The Master arrives in the middle of the story, however, and actually breathes some life into this story. Suddenly we have an identifiable antagonist, even if he isn’t the final foe lurking behind the scenes.

Another interesting subplot involved General Williams. Even though we are meant to dislike him at first, he never struck me as utterly despicable. In fact, near the end of the story, his character changes. He is converted to The Doctor’s side and actively helps him and The Draconian prince investigate The Ogrons’ involvement. Personally, I wish we had gotten General Williams’s backstory earlier in the serial. It would have explained his hatred of The Draconians and made for a more satisfying change of heart later. It makes me wonder if this is handled better in the novelization.

And yes, in the last episode we get a reveal of who is really behind the war; The Master was merely a freelance agent. I’ll save that spoiler for now because it leads into the next story. So, to be continued . . . .

My Rating: 3/5

 

For the moment, I’m back on track. My local library has quite a nice collection of Doctor Who DVDs, and that should get me through the remainder of the Pertwee era and completely through the Tom Baker era. I’m still aiming to finish the classic series before the anniversary. So long as school and work don’t consume all my free time, I think it is possible. Let’s hope the burnout doesn’t return.

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2 thoughts on “Doctor Who – Carnival of Monsters and Frontier in Space

    • I completely agree. When The Master shows up, the story definitely changes its pace and becomes more interesting. There is a great story in there, you just have to wait a couple of episodes for it to show up.

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