Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Dominators

1 comment:

  1. "Well, here we are everyone: The Island of Death!"

    A line swiftly undercut by the fact that it's permanently staffed by students and observers. Indeed, the whole Island of Death is really much more like a Center Parcs Holiday than anything else.

    This early example of rough dialogue is fairly representative of the whole. "Running aground on an atomic island isn't my idea of fun!" Having said that, I think a large part of the problem here is that the characters in said exploration party seem to be given dialogue for teenagers - but the actors themselves are much older than that. Different casting would have given it a much more horror-film vibe.

    In particular, Cully, the son of the director of the council, is written with the dialogue and motivations of a 16 or 17 year old - but for some reason a man in his 30s has been cast. Baffling.

    And then there are the Dominators themselves. They squabble. That's the word that comes to mind about them. Squabbling. They are squabbly.

    I seem to recall reading a few reviews of this show over the years dissing the Dominators sartorial choices, and putting them down just as men dressed in silly clothes, but my reading of their outfits is that they are aliens, with a very different bone structure and bodily form to our own. Those outfits they wear actually hug their bodies, and aren't freakishly extended for fashion's sake.

    Sadly, their Quark servitors just aren't scary. Shall we destroy? Well, perhaps, if you can stop waving your arms about. And by waving, I mean pivoting on a hinge.

    By episode three: The Dominators squabble, Zoe moves some rocks from A to B, and the Doctor and Jamie kill time in the travel capsule while the Dulcians kill time in endless debate. The more I watch, the more I feel that the writer is attempting to do something deep and philosophical about the nature of pacifism - and failing. See The Daleks for how to actually play that right.

    This, sad-to-say, has to rate as one of the worst Doctor Who's I've ever seen. To the point where I welcomed the Australian announcers talking over the end credits in the copy I have access to. At last! Something of interest! And let me be clear - you're talking to a man who sat his way through all of the John Wiles era and watched Every. Single. One.

    I have learned something from this, though. When writing aliens? Never have just two of them. Who squabble. It will never work out well.

    Also, that this was directed by Morris Barry, fantastic director of the magnificent Tomb of the Cybermen. Well, if that isn't a big fuck-you-in-the-face for Auteur Theory, then frankly I don't know what is.