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Tuesday, 4 May 2004 - Reviewed by Alex Boyd

Positive: even now that I’m older it still manages to be somewhat creepy, with a great jungle set and sound effects (still find the peculiar tinkle that accompanies the anti-matter monsters effective). Considering the Dalek voices and many other great sound effects in Doctor Who, I’m beginning to think it was one of the BBC’s best strengths at the time, and perhaps still is. 

Negative: the effects (certainly all the spaceship shots) don’t hold up, and take away from the overall effectiveness. In fact, they’re laughable, and could easily be replaced. 

Positive: it’s interesting for being the Doctor Who tribute to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 

Negative: the whole scientists-shouldn’t-meddle-where-they-don’t -belong theme is a little tired. 

Positive: the acting by the leads/regulars is solid, Frederick Jaeger is excellent at portraying Sorensen’s clouded mind, and Ewan Solon is good as Vishinski. I’d have to say that as a youth, Vishinski pretty much stands out in my mind as a great example of good, listening leadership. 

Negative: Prentis Hancock as Salamaar, ouch. To try and be fair, he isn’t given much good dialogue. 

Positive: the idea of a planet that is something of a lynchpin between universes, containing elements of both, that are not to be disturbed, is a good one. Are the anti-matter creatures on the planet appointed guardians? Are there no matter guardians to stop them from taking matter through into a universe where it doesn’t belong? Perhaps this never happens in the anti-matter universe because they have less flawed system, something better than a corrupt power structure and its struggles?

Negative: all the characters know nothing except what the Doctor tells them – Salamaar accepts that the Doctor is correct in assuming that the anti-matter is holding the ship back (despite later mistrusting and shooting the Doctor), and later Vishinski simply accepts that Sorensen was infected by something on the planet. Why isn’t there a scientist on board, other than Sorensen, who could inform the crew of some of these things? Seems odd to send out a ship with a captain, (oh, sorry “controller”), a second in command and a bunch of grunts. And the uniforms make them look more like superheroes than military. The weapons are also a little inconsistent – Salamaar appears to kill a guard with his pistol, but the Doctor is shot point blank in the head and recovers. 

Positive: it was a great and atmospheric set of episodes when I was young. 

Negative: it’s far less creepy, and closer to overly dramatic space opera now that I’m older, though to end of a positive note…

Positive: it was fun to revisit.

FILTER: - Television - Series 13 - Fourth Doctor