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23 June 2019 @ 03:25 pm
I had made a "note to self" in the randomiser input list that a Galaxy Four reconstruction including the one extant episode could be found on the DVD for The Aztecs. This was mostly true though it was obvious from the moment we found it in the extras that some judicious trimming had taken place. Episodes 1 & 2 take up approximately 25 minutes, episode 3 exists in its full glory and episode 4 lasts 10 minutes. We decided to watch it in that form anyway and, to be honest, I'm not sorry. Occasionally the story appeared to jump ahead a bit abruptly but, honestly, you wouldn't immediately guess that about a third of it had been cut.

I was a little worried about this going in. The plot summary is, more or less, that the Doctor meets two groups of aliens one of which are beautiful but evil and the other are ugly but good (so far so cliched) but the surprise here is that the beautiful aliens are, gasp!, all women. My experience of SF-esque stories of the 1960s which posit a future in which women-are-charge is not encouraging - tending to mix a rather salacious fascination with the combination of boots, tight trousers and guns with "and then they saw a mouse and fell apart" plot resolutions. In the event this didn't seem too bad by comparison, it had a certain boots and guns vibe to it (which may, of course, have been more pronounced if we'd watched the missing 40 minutes or so) but on the whole it was more interested in the beautiful/ugly good/bad contrasts than it was in the idea of a militaristic matriarchal society. In fact, in the episode the all-female baddies felt just like a bit of world-building colour rather than the radical high concept idea fan discussion has sometimes made it seem (again, maybe the material that was trimmed involved a lot of embarrassing musing on how radical the idea that women could be in charge was).

Beyond that, Galaxy Four has a certain charm. There are cute robots. There is a 1960s children's TV earnestness about its message that not all beautiful people are good nor all ugly people bad. All of the Tardis crew get a moment in the spotlight and while the plot seems to involve rather a lot of running around in circles, at least in its shortened form, it doesn't outstay its welcome. At the end of the day, I'd happily watch this trimmed reconstruction again, but I'm not sure I feel any enthusiasm to seek out the full version of the story.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/590959.html.