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19 December 2017 @ 09:57 pm
The Randomiser: The Ice Warriors  
The Ice Warriors is one of rather more Troughton stories than I was previously aware to have had its missing episodes animated. On the whole I'm in favour of the animations since I don't find telesnaps all that watchable in general, particularly when the story is not as engaging as it might be (which, to be fair, isn't actually the case here I think).

In fact, just as we found The Moonbase enjoyable despite its somewhat mixed reputation, we also found The Ice Warriors enjoyable. Clearly we are "base under siege" fans. There is, undeniably, a lot of toing and froing in both stories which are constructed around the basic framework of "external menaces tries (and possibly succeeds) at breaking in and is then repulsed (repeat)". At least in The Ice Warriors the inhabitants of the base occasionally traipse up the mountain to meet the eponymous Ice Warriors. This is from the days when Doctor Who still had much DNA inherited from serialised shows and when done well this kind of story construction, where the purpose of each episode is largely to resolve the cliff-hanger from the previous episode and then proceed to the next cliff-hanger rattles along at a fair old pace.

I think we're both a bit of a sucker for stories where most of the supporting cast are portrayed as scientists as well. I even like the fact that Clent, who in many Doctor Who stories would be a fairly clear-cut antagonist, is shown instead to be a man who has a different approach and set of concerns to the Doctor, but who is basically one of the good guys.

The other striking thing about The Ice Warriors is the costume design. 1960s Who, and I think 1960s genre television in general (possibly just the 1960s in general full stop) is sometimes much more in your face about bold design choices.

In the 1960s at least one person thought this was what scientists in the future would wear. I'm a little bit sad we don't.

Picture hot-linked from randomwhoness.com which apparently is doing a randomizer as well as us and, it would seem in a rather more coherent and organised fashion.

Obviously the story has its weaknesses. Some of the ice warrior costumes are pretty rickety. There is a lot of toing and froing. It's hard to talk about its anti-computer theme - to me it seemed over-simplistic and the kind of thing someone who doesn't really understand computers but thinks they sound dangerous and new-fangled might write, but I'm too close to the industry and the issues to really see the question from a 1960s viewpoint.

We enjoyed it a lot. However it is probably at its best viewed, as we did, episodically over several days.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/473963.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on December 19th, 2017 11:09 pm (UTC)
I think The Ice Warriors is one of the better stories of its ilk. The characterisation is rather more detailed than in some others, particularly regarding Clent and Penley (though I can't quite see where the About Time books are coming from in suggesting that Penley and Miss Garrett are ex-lovers). Also, Varga comes across as a bit of a character - not as much as the humans, but then he is in a costume that doesn't leave much room for nuance. He has a bit of a sense of humour, which is refreshingly unusual in villains outside the Tom Baker era and almost unheard of in a 'proper' monster, probably one reason why the Ice Warriors have proved so popular when on paper they're fairly run of the mill.
parrot_knight: Troughtonparrot_knight on December 20th, 2017 10:49 pm (UTC)
It was a definite plus to bring in Bernard Bresslaw as a guest lead to play Varga. He's very good at conveying personality within the costume and he has a background in extracting humour and pathos from dialogue.

No, I don't know what the writers of About Time are on about beyond that it's always possible to impose your own backstories on characters who aren't given much background.
louisedennis: Who:Twolouisedennis on December 22nd, 2017 05:00 pm (UTC)
I suspect some of the 1990s tendency to try to make the show "more adult" by including more overt discussion of sex and relationships may have had something to do with it.
louisedennis: Who:Twolouisedennis on December 22nd, 2017 03:27 pm (UTC)
I agree that even in this early outing, when the show had little ambition to show the Ice Warriors in a particularly ambiguous light in anyway, the story still manages to suggest that there is more to them than a simple monster.