Doctor Who: Meglos (parts three and four)

Our son came around and started enjoying this story as it went on. There’s a gunfight in episode three, and then the inevitable bit where Tom Baker gets to play both the Doctor and Meglos and the two have the contractually-obligated confrontation that all adventure television doubles stories need to have. Our son did, however, suffer the huge cheat of the villain’s base not actually exploding. The visual effects team did that rotten cheat that they sometimes do of turning up the lights and the contrast really fast so it simulates an explosion without actually blowing the model to pieces.

I think that “Meglos” would be the last time that Doctor Who would be quite this by-the-numbers for a little while. I think that the only real spark that the story has at all comes when Romana gets captured by the mercenaries and leads them around in circles, supposedly back to her ship as she’s been ordered. She feigns confusion caused by the planet’s anti-clockwise rotation and seems to be enjoying herself as she looks for an opportunity to turn the tables on the villains. Bill Fraser is also pretty amusing as the bad-tempered leader of the mercenaries, and these are high points in a story that doesn’t want to push any envelopes.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Doctor Who: Meglos (parts three and four)

  1. I haven’t seen “Meglos” in years, but from what I remember it was rather unimpressive and dull.

    The whole “science vs religion” thing is stupid, because of course the scientists are going to be the ones that are right. because it’s Doctor Who. Having said that, the real world has amply demonstrated that religious fanatics can be extremely blind to scientific truths, even if the seemingly-undeniable evidence is right in front of them.

    I think the one highlight of this story is that it allowed Tom Baker to play against type. Baker as Meglos impersonating the Doctor is sufficiently different from baker playing the genuine Doctor, and it’s rather entertaining. The make-up for Meglos in humanoid forms is also very striking.

    • I was thinking about that, actually, and the writers missed an enormous opportunity. They should have shown the religious faction in a very sympathetic light and let the scientists be seen as clinical and unethical. By making the scientists the heroes and the one nutball with a speaking part the role of the secondary villain, it’s far too obvious how this story will unfold.

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