Saturday, March 24, 2012

Doctor Who: 028 The Smugglers

Three seasons down and three to go in my project to "see them all". :) That brings us to season 4. Season 4 sees the departure of William Hartnell and the start of Patrick Troughton. It is also mostly missing. :( Of the 9 serials in season 4, not a single one is complete. :( Thank goodness for the telesnaps and audio recordings that let us experience them in some fashion... The good news is that season 4 is now 1 episode closer to being complete due to an episode of Troughton's The Underwater Menace being found late last year... But I get ahead of myself. :)

At the end of season 3's final serial The War Machines, Ben and Polly wander into the TARDIS to return the key to the Doctor just before he dematerializes. It's amazing how many companions just wander in like that. :)

This season starts off with pirates in the serial The Smugglers. Arrrrgh! Since all the episodes of this serial are missing, we again turn to Loose Cannon. Unfortunately, this is another one for which I only have the older reconstruction and was unable to get a copy of the newer reconstruction in time for this blog post, but I hope to soon and will re-visit this story at that time. Fortunately, the older one is more watchable than the older version of The Savages. The telesnaps were a little blurry and the audio was a little muddy, but hopefully that will be better in the newer version. Even the older version takes advantage of the Australian censor clips and some 8mm home movies filmed on location during filming of the serial to improve the flavor.

The first episode begins with the Doctor discovering Ben and Polly, getting upset they're in his TARDIS, then telling them that he has no control over when and where it lands. I think this is the first time he's admitted this. Stephen makes a comment along those lines in The Daleks' Master Plan, and the Doctor tells him off. :) This is another pseudo-historical story and is an adventure romp for the Doctor and his companions. Did I mention it has pirates in it? ARRRGHHH!!! ;)

This is actually quite enjoyable as just a pure adventure romp. They kept calling Polly a "lad" much to her dismay. The Doctor told her that was better than a girl in trousers. :p I'm still amazed that someone didn't figure out she was a girl as soon as she opened her mouth. Even pre-pubescent boys have lower voices than hers. :) In The Crusade, they intentionally disguised Vicki as a boy, but there was no indication that they did something similar in this story, so that was the only plot point that didn't quite work, but that's minor... plus... it has PIRATES!

Speaking of pirates (I think I've mentioned them once or twice before), Captain Pike is pretty much Captain Hook from Peter Pan (get it? Pike...Hook...). Anyway, like I said, a very enjoyable adventure romp... Apparently the Eleventh Doctor story The Curse of the Black Spot is loosely connected with this story as it deals with the pirate Captain Avery... whose treasure is the goal of almost everyone in this story. :)

At the end of this serial, after the Doctor re-iterates that he has no control over where and when the TARDIS goes (some things never change), they materialize in "the coldest place in the world" which turns out to be Antarctica, the setting for The Tenth Planet, Hartnell's last story.

Back to our running tally of missing episodes... this serial starts off season 4 with 4 missing episodes. :(

No comments:

Post a Comment