DOCTOR WHO: THE TIME MONSTER 20

THE PLOT THUS FAR

The six-episode “Time Monster” was the final story of the ninth season of Doctor Who, a strong run that also saw Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor in “The Day of the Daleks” and “The Sea Devils.” The Master, Roger Delgado, is at the Newton Institute, experimenting with a fragment of crystal, which can summon Kronos, a time-eating entity from beyond space-time. The Doctor, Jo Grant (Katy Manning), and UNIT become involved in a sequence of strange temporal dislocations, eventually leading to ancient Atlantis itself. There Jo faces the Minotaur, played by Dave Prowse in a bull mask five years before he found fame as Darth Vader. “The Time Monster” is classic Doctor Who at its most surreal, the effects ranging from mediocre to functional, the Atlantis sets surprisingly lavish. The Doctor may escape from eternity by playing the scriptwriting equivalent of a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the sequence, in which his TARDIS is inside the Master’s TARDIS, while the Master’s TARDIS is simultaneously inside the Doctor’s TARDIS, is a mind-bending highlight.

WHAT WE THOUGHT

The Doctor is a renegade Time Lord: an eccentric, highly-intelligent scientist from a distant planet. He travels through time and space in the TARDIS, a curious device, larger on the inside than on the outside, which was designed to change its appearance to suit its surroundings. Unfortunately, the Doctor’s TARDIS seems to be broken, and always appears as a blue British police box. The Doctor has a soft spot for the planet Earth, and often visits there, either to save it from various alien threats or to whisk a choice few inhabitants away to the distant parts of the galaxy to help him fight evil there. The Doctor has many foes, including Daleks (led by Davros), and The Master, another renegade Time Lord. Time Lord biology enables them to regenerate their bodies, and so both the Doctor and the Master appear evolve over the years…

This adventure starts as The Doctor has a nightmare, more a premonition, of the Master being in control using a trident-shaped crystal, and it turns out he is right. His nemesis, using the alias Professor Thascales, has invented a time-device called TOMTIT (Transmission Of Matter Through Interstitial Time) at Wooton, just out of Cambridge. It basically dematerializes an object, sends it through “the crack between now and now” and rematerializes it at its destination. And yes, it does use a trident-shaped crystal. He has Dr. Ruth Ingram and her brother Stuart as his assistants. The Brigadier is sent as a UNIT observer, but during a trial run, Stuart is aged to an octagenarian. The Master then calls for Kronos, who is a chronovore, dangerous creatures living in the time vortex that cab “swallow a life as quickly as a boa constrictor can swallow a rabbit. Fur and all!”

The Doctor and Jo arrive at Wooton because they detect the Master’s TARDIS and comes upon an aged Stuart, who mentions the name Kronos. From then, it’s the Doctor and Jo against the Master and Krasis, the high priest of Atlantis who unwittingly helps the Master in controlling the dangerous chronovore. “Chrono” is Greek, while “vore” is Latin. Surely “chronophage” should have been more appropriate, or “temporavore”? Another is the V-1 rocket that the Master brings through time against Yates’ convoy. A farmer remembers a V-1 striking in the exact area in 1944. Unless there was more than one V-1 attack in that area, it’s impossible for the farmer remembering it if it had been taken out of time.

The DVD comes with some intensive looks at the restoration process. It seems like the BBC didn’t take care of any classic show material that predated 1980. Oh well, the photo galleries and commentaries are fun and help to inform American fans about the glory days of this British staple. The A/V Quality is quite magnificent, even though the paper thin audio doesn’t really rise above its original standards. Still, it’s a must-buy for all Dr. Who fans.

RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!


TroyAnderson

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