Friday, March 13, 2015

The Web Planet — Blogging Doctor Who

They could have used the
insecticide from "Planet of Giants"
Did the cast and crew who worked on this Doctor Who serial ever get together to reminisce about the time that someone slipped hallucinogens into the beverages? This is one freaky story that goes on for way too long. “The Web Planet” isn’t the worst Doctor Who story ever (I can think of those that are worse), but it certainly qualifies as the weirdest.

Where do we even begin? The weird bug costumes? The decision to shoot a variety of scenes through a big smudge (to indicate the thin atmosphere of the planet Vortis)? The bizarre stylized performances of the actors wearing the weird bug costumes?

Then there’s the matter of the Doctor’s ring. In this story, it has practically magic powers and he’s unwilling to part with it, but didn’t he trade it away for the outfit of a government official during “The Reign of Terror”?

Although “The Web Planet” runs six episodes, there really not much to say about it. Clearly all the design efforts went into the weird bug costumes, since the sets look like painted sheets of plywood, or cut-outs with cellophane glues to the back. It’s pretty cheap looking. This extends to the Animus, the great villain of the piece, who just bobs up and down as it reveals its plan for galactic domination. First Vortis, then the Earth, then the whole galaxy!

Clearly a lot of work (and probably most of the budget) went into the weird bug costumes, but one problem (as so often happens with alien species) is that the results end up being wholly generic, and all the Menoptra look alike, all the Optera look alike. It's okay that the Zarbi look alike; they don't have personalities. Another (specific with these) is that they look like something out of a show for small children. A scene in which the Moth People (or are they Bee People? who knows?) joined together for a song on how wonderful it is to gather nectar from flowers wouldn't have been out of place with the costumes. The Optera are clearly wearing onesies.

Eye Candy for Gay Time Lords
None. None whatsoever. Unless you have a fetish for people in weird bug costumes.

So, Is This a Must-See

Next: The Tardis crew takes a trip to a museum. Too bad they're one of the displays.
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