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25 November 2015 @ 08:10 pm
The Randomiser: The Krotons  
The Krotons must have been the first Troughton story I ever saw. It was shown as part of the BBC's "Five Faces of Doctor Who" repeats as part of the show's 20th anniversary. I didn't, to be honest, remember a lot about it beyond the two Gonds stumbling out of the machine (the first to be disintegrated and the second to be rescued) in part 1, and the Doctor and Zoe being zapped for mental energy in part 2.

The "classic" Patrick Troughton story is often held up to be the "base under siege", preferably from one of the shows iconic, or at least recurring, monsters. The Krotons is from Troughton's final season and, off the top of my head, none of the stories that season fit the base under siege template (though one could maybe make a case for The Seeds of Death), with the others stretching to at least attempt the depiction of world-wide threats and responses, or alien civilisations. The two alien worlds depicted that year are in The Krotons and The Dominators and there are many similarities between the two stories: both are set on planet's that look like quarries (admittedly hardly unusual for Doctor Who), where a largely useless native population is being threatened by a pair of fairly stupid aggressors who are trying to refuel their spaceship and who spend much of the story under-estimating the Doctor and his companions.

One suspects that The Krotons was picked for a repeat showing from among the rather small selection of complete Troughton stories available to the BBC back in 1983 almost entirely because it had 4 episodes. It is competent in a cheap 1960s sci-fi kind of a way, but the Krotons, themselves suffer from looking great from the knees up, but pretty silly in full length shots. And the whole plot feels rather hackneyed and by-the-numbers.

There are definitely better Troughton stories, and I'd argue better ones available complete in 1983 but none of the 100 minute running time (give or take) that was then considered standard for the show. It would probably also seem stronger if it were not quite so similar to The Dominators in concept and execution.

The Tardis team of Patrick Troughton's Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are probably the strongest thing here. They are among the stronger and more entertaining regular casts and that makes the story watchable enough, but it isn't and never was a classic.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/179373.html.