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 023 - The Ark

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PostSubject: 023 - The Ark   Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:53 am

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PostSubject: Re: 023 - The Ark   Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:30 am

One of the first Hartnell stories I ever watched. The Monoids are rather interesting looking, if not an obvious costume. I found it interesting how the story seemed to wrap up at the conclusion of the second episode, only to find in episode three that it certainly did not! That made this story particularly stand out for me.

Though a not popular companion to some, I find Dodo adorable and not just another Susan clone. Her costume in this one, like all of her costumes, is quite distinctive and just - her.

One I greatly enjoy.

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PostSubject: Re: 023 - The Ark   Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:12 am

The Doctor, Stephen, and new companion Dodo land on a ship fleeing deadly solar flares on Earth (Sound familiar?). There, a small group of Humans known as Guardians watch over the DNA cells of both the Human race and a race of beings known as the Monoids (Of which is a subservient race to Humanity) as well as samples of plant and animal life from all across Earth to settle on a unknown planet. Unfortunately, Dodo brings with her the Common Cold - a disease long wiped out in the annals of Human History, to the point the disease itself is all but unknown, records of it lost in a great war centuries earlier. Now, with Human and Monoid falling sick, the Doctor and his companions must race to find a cure for this unintended plague...and then deal with the aftermath.

This adventure took me by surprise. Beyond the obvious connections to The Beast Below, the fact the DVD case billed the Plague as being the major portion of the story gave me an expectation about the adventure that didn't pan out as the TARDIS takes them 700 years into the ship's future to discover the Monoids have risen up and overthrown the Guardians and the roles are reversed - and it isn't all that thrilling to be honest. The world building in the first part gets thrown out in the second part and turned into a generic adventure tale.

The Ark is also very Special Effects heavy for a show in 1966. If some of the effects look shaky today, I give it points for trying. I mean, Star Trek didn't try to depict a burial in space till the second movie and they sure as heck never showcased a nuclear detonation in space. The reach exceeded the grasp, but it was realized well enough.

The Creature of the Week - the Monoids - are kind of hit and miss. On one hand, they are delightfully alien despite their uniform bowler hair cuts. On the other hand, in the second part where they become the threat and thus are focused on more, the deficiencies of the costuming become glaringly apparent. Torn gloves, blatant seams, and Number One was eating his mask in a few scenes. Though fair being fair, the masks were solid enough to make me forget to look for the eye holes for the actors fairly quickly. I think their expansive gesturing helped account for that.

Props to the actors playing the Monoids - if they weren't moving the mask's lone eye, they were making grand sweeping gestures (Which actually makes sense in character, since initially they spoke in a form of sign language) which helped distract from the rather doofy costuming.

Overall, The Ark is a story that had a lot of heady concepts floating around - race relations, ignorance, fear - but failed to realize any of them. The biggest one - that the Monoids and Humans had to learn to co-exist - was a rush job towards the end without any resolution. They had a kind of build up with Number Four and his faction, but they never seemed interested in helping the Guardians, they just didn't want to follow Number One.

Not a bad classic adventure by any means, but nothing real spectacular in the annals of Who history.

G.C. Rust
Nebraska, USA
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PostSubject: Re: 023 - The Ark   Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:08 pm

Certainly a tale of understanding and not jumping to conclusions, I think. I enjoyed this story. It also showed that selfishness is pretty much a universal thing: in the first half of the story we see the humans acting rashly in their own interests, and then in the second half we see the Monoids do the same thing. But the Doctor comes along both times to show them that they must work together, be tolerant of each other, share and in doing so they will benefit far more than they would on their own. I liked that.

I thought it was quite funny that all of this was Dodo's fault. If she hadn't came along sniffling with her cold then everything would be dandy. Razz

The Monoids are certainly very interesting. At times we clearly saw the foolishly unwell hidden zip on the back of the costume which kinda spoiled the illusion a little, but it didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the story and the Monoids themselves.

Also, it's becoming apparent to me more and more, as I get through these stories, how much the Doctor has changed since the beginning. He also used to be quite selfish and intolerant, but now it's him that's teaching the opposite to others! I really love that! And in the past, the Doctor and the crew have escaped at the first sign of trouble, or they've tried to at least, yet now he stays to help even though he doesn't have to. He's finally becoming the Doctor!! Very Happy

Good story and I liked its messages and also the sets and costumes. Not an amazingly stunning episode, but certainly a good one! 4 stars from me. bounce
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023 - The Ark
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