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21 February 2017 @ 08:28 pm
The Randomiser: The Invasion  
The Randomizer suggested we watch The Faceless Ones but, when I put it on, Tame Layman claimed to have seen it. I'm fairly sure he's actually only seen the two episodes that exist, and those many years ago, but he was adamant. We've been gradually collecting exceptions to the Randomiser. The project is now to watch all of Doctor Who in random order except NuWho, anything seen in the previous five years and The Faceless Ones. I may try to sneak The Faceless Ones back in at the end.

Anyway, the Randomiser next offered up The Invasion. I had bought the version of The Invasion with animations replacing the two missing episodes some time ago (more than five years, I was fairly sure) and we had watched it so I took the precaution of mentioning this in advance to Tame Layman who then didn't veto it.

The Invasion is remarkably watchable given it is one of the longest Doctor Who stories out there and, as a result, features even more random and somewhat pointless capture escape than normal.

It is definitely helped by featuring one of the better Tardis teams. Although Wendy Padbury has complained that Zoe Herriot, having started out well, was rapidly reduced to just another screaming girly I think the character is generally pretty well-served and definitely fares better than either Deborah Watling's Victoria or Anneke Wills' Polly. While still sometimes constrained by a tendency to be placed in a damsel in distress role, Zoe is generally proactive, competent and often gets to show off her mathematical skills (as she does here - confusing computer receptionists and calculating missile trajectories).

The Brigadier and UNIT, in its first appearance, also work very well. The Brigadier has yet to be reduced to the kind of buffoon who refuses to believe he is on an alien planet and is, in fact, remarkably helpful and supportive of the Doctor throughout. This gives the whole story the feel of military versus aliens which is both nostaligically reminiscent of much 1960s sci-fi fare and refreshing for Doctor Who in which the military are often one of the obstacles to be overcome.

Kevin Stoney's Tobias Vaughn is a triumph as a villain. In particular, it is refreshing to see a villain who is under no illusions about his likely fate once the Cybermen take over and part of the reason I think the story fares so well over its extended length is that it effectively portrays the interaction of three factions at work, rather than two.

We spent quite a while discussing the animation. I felt it was broadly similiar in both style and quality to that in the recent Power of the Daleks release while Tame Layman preferred it. I think it certainly helped that there were live episodes in between the animated ones which helped ground the characters out better in existing performances.

Frankly this is a pretty good chunk of 1960s Doctor Who and certainly much better than it has any right to be lasting, as it does, for eight episodes.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/238391.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on February 21st, 2017 09:30 pm (UTC)
I really like The Faceless Ones. Just saying. Although I like The Invasion too. Btw, your title says that this is The Invasion of Time (which I also like, but that's another story, no pun intended).

I like the season six TARDIS team too, especially Zoe - another librarian!

Are you going to review the Power of the Daleks DVD? I'm in two minds whether to buy it - it sounds good, but I already have the CD and money is a bit tight.

Incidentally, have you ever considered the whole "all [TV] Doctor Who in the proper order" thing? I'm currently doing that again. I'm up to season three (going slowly as I've been finishing off Deep Space Nine).
louisedennislouisedennis on February 21st, 2017 10:09 pm (UTC)
Btw, your title says that this is The Invasion of Time - oops! that's auto-complete matching previous entry titles. Fixed now!

I wasn't planning to review Power of the Daleks. We liked it, but I'm not sure we were as excited about it as a lot of people were and the animation really isn't any better than that here. It's now on the "in the last five years" list though things will start popping off that list at some point fairly soon and go back into the general list (though obv not Power for five years).

I'm not sure about all TV Doctor Who in the proper order - there would be several stretches of reconstructions which often aren't the easiest viewing... However, I've no idea what we'll do once we've finished with Doctor Who, though Blakes' 7 certainly feels like something it would be worth getting reacquainted with.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on February 21st, 2017 10:30 pm (UTC)
I don't really watch reconstructions, except for those on the official DVDs, but listening on audio can be difficult, I admit, even with linking narration. Also, if there's a run of stories you don't like they can be hard to get through (mid-eighties and RTD for me). It does give an idea of the way the programme changed over time, though, and some stories benefit (or occasionally suffer) from being seen in context. I didn't really get The Ark in Space or Genesis of the Daleks until I watched them after season eleven; the stylistic change and the creative upturn is immediately obvious. Although the main reason I'm doing this is Serious Research for my book, so I can watch TV and still count it as being productive!

I've done Blake's 7 in order too. That benefits from having more involved story arcs than classic Who (and being a much smaller investment of time!), but suffers from the fact that season four of Blake's 7 is mostly awful...
a_cubeda_cubed on February 21st, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)
Have you seen Farscape? It was a series which only got a cult following and not the credit it deserved at the time, I think. I watched it through in order with a bunch of friends when I lived in Reading. It7s definitely one to watch in order, though.
louisedennislouisedennis on February 22nd, 2017 04:54 pm (UTC)
We saw odd episodes of Farscape but never really got into it (possibly because we were only seeing the odd episode). I have a vague feeling we saw the series finale at one point.

Babylon 5 also springs to mind as something that could probably do with a rewatch in order.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on February 22nd, 2017 08:57 pm (UTC)
Babylon 5 is awesome and definitely worth watching in order.