Thursday, December 29, 2016

Doctor Who - Galaxy 4 Review

Doctor Who:
Galaxy 4
William Emms

“Two dawns! Tomorrow is the last day this planet will ever see.”

The TARDIS arrives on what looks like a pretty harmless looking planet when they come across a strange looking robot that seems to have pieces of its body stacked up on itself. Vicki names the robots Chumblies and they appear to be blind or in the most part not interested in The Doctor, Steven and Vicki.  The travelers then meetup with a group of female aliens called the Drahvins who seem to come and rescue them from the Chumblies.  The travelers are soon brought to the Drahvins ship and meet their leader another female named Maaga who explains to the Doctor that their ship along with the Rill ship has crashed landed on will explode in 14 planetary cycles.

The Doctor seems pretty unsure about the Drahvins especially when they told him that they turned down help from the Rills.  So The Doctor does some scientific research of his own and discovers that in fact this planet does not have 14 planetary cycles but only two and that the planet will explode tomorrow.  The Doctor and Vicki convince the Drahvins to let them talk to the Rills if they steal the Rills ship for them.  The Doctor and Vicki encounter the Rills at their ship and tell them what the Drahvins had planned for them and that the planet will explode in two cycles.  The Doctor decides to help the Rills get power to their ship from the TARDIS in exchange for help to free Steven from the Drahvin ship before the planet explodes and everyone is killed.

Galaxy 4 was the first story of Season Three of Doctor Who and unfortunately like most of the stories during that season is also an incomplete story with only episode three “Airlock” the only one in the BBC Archives.  “Airlock” was returned in 2011 along with the second episode of “The Underwater Menace” and was revealed at a BFI Missing Believed Wiped event.  Galaxy 4 was released on “The Aztecs” Special Edition DVD in 2013 as part reconstruction along with episode three “Airlock”.  This is the version I watched and will review as I had a change of heart in getting this release. Well frankly I was tired of waiting for Philip Morris to reveal what stories he had found and if Galaxy 4 was one of them.  First off I was miffed that they released this on “The Aztecs” DVD release as it would have made more sense to release it on a special release of “The Time Meddler” since this story follows that one.  Or what would of made more sense is to release it with the newly found “The Underwater Menace” as a special edition but common sense and BBC Worldwide do not go hand in hand.

The story itself is not all that great.  It is mediocre at best and it could easily have been trimmed down to a two part story or even be three parts as there is a lot of filler in this story.  The good news is that the best episode is Airlock which we are able to watch all remastered and cleaned up visually and audio.  The rest of the story is done with reconstructions and they are not all that bad as they do incorporate surviving clips for episode one and they do make use of animation with the Chumblies and gun shots and try to make the movements somewhat fluid as they can with a glorified slide show.

What helps making my point about making Galaxy 4 shorter is that the restoration team combined episodes one and two into an edited down episode that cut away some of the standing around and staring at one another scenes.  This helped in the enjoyment of watching this story as frankly I do find watching reconstructions of missing Doctor Who episodes to be extremely boring and I definitely could not watch one in one sitting.  But this one was done really well and I wished they spent the time instead of rushing out the god awful ones for “The Underwater Menace”.

Galaxy 4 while not being the best Doctor Who story it does have its moments like when the Rill are revealed as they are most likely one of the funniest and worst looking Doctor Who creatures of all time.  Galaxy 4 is just a pretty simple story that uses the good guys verse the bad guys formula with The Doctor stuck in the middle. Galaxy 4 is a pretty simple story that has a pretty predictable ending.  Even still with all its shortcomings I do hope that one day they do find Galaxy 4 or in the least give it “The Power of the Daleks” treatment and animate it someday.
Grade C+

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