Episodes 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 & 63: The Web Planet, The Zarbi, Escape to Danger, Crater of Needles, Invasion & The Centre

Written by Bill Strutton
Directed by Richard Martin

Ants are fascinating creatures. Perhaps best viewed as a superorganism – each colony considered an individual made up of smaller units in the way that you or I are made up of cells – they are one of the few animals other than ourselves to engineer their environment to a large extent, with some species even employing agriculture.

It is a shame, therefore, that the Web Planet is so fucking dull. I have tried to watch it on several earlier occasions, but each time I stopped at some point and then never got back to it. This time round I made it all the way through, but not without finding myself idly checking e-mails, reading the news or strumming guitar.

There is a simple problem here: its just too damn long. Three episodes would have been good. Four would be pushing it. Six is ludicrous. Some of the parts where stuff is actually happening are great, but as a whole it just seems to drag on and on.

Not that its a total mess, by any measure. The costumes for both the Zarbi and the Menoptra are pretty decent for the time, the story is actually is actually quite interesting once you get past the overstretching of it, and its really great to see a Doctor Who alien planet that’s not shot in a fucking quarry for once.

Despite my complaints, I’m actually quite fond of this story. Back when I was an undergrad I used to watch Freddy’s Nightmares on 1.5 times normal speed, often while simultaneously practicing guitar and smoking a shisha. I think that this story could benefit from a similar treatment, but would be significantly better than the camp 80s slashathon.

In other news that 90s movie was a fucking awesome travesty of non-cinema. What a glorious train wreck. Having seen it, I’m now looking forward to getting to watch it in context later on when I get to it for this. Eventually. That’s not for a while though, I’ve got a whole 25 and a half years of the classic series to get through first, starting up with The Crusade, next.

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