Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement, It’s Saturday! Time For Tales From The TARDIS…
This week, we’re starting the Sensorites, a 6-part serial that first started to air on June 20, 1964.
This particular story is one that gets the reputation for being too slow for its own good… but I think there is something much worst associate with the episode… that somehow that the living jarhead Russell T Davies created to the Ood to be similar to the Sensorites….
Anyway, let’s get the ball rolling with part 1, Strangers in Space… hmmm I wonder if the tune is similar to Strangers in Paradise?
The episode opens with our heroes discovering they have landed on a space ship that is a drift and with a dead crew. The bodies are warm, however the watches they have (which are powered by movements of their wrists) indicate they have been dead for less than a day. Our heroes go to leave when one of the crew wakes up! AHHH! ZOMBIE! No actually, it’s revealed that this guy is Captain Maitland, and that inhabitants of the planet Sense-Sphere refuses to let him and his crew leave and just causes them to go to sleep over and over again while also feeding them. So they eat and sleep…. This is the only time Garfield’s life is used in a negative way folks.
Anyway, it is revealed that they are in 28th Century, which peaks Ian’s curiosity, wondering the future of Earth, but the Doctor declares that they should leave before Ian could learn too much for fear of tampering with the time line. When they go back to the TARDIS, they see that the lock is actually missing, someone has came along and burnt out the lock of the TARDIS… and yes this is something that is quite odd when you consider that the TARDIS basically goes on to be indestructible… and also this is before it’s revealed the TARDIS has a back door.
To make maters worst the Sensorites take over the minds of the ship’s crew to have it set on a collision course with the planet, however The Doctor prevents this and it’s revealed that different people react to the Sensorite’s mental influence in different ways and that a member of the crew named John is way more affected than others. John is later discovered by Barbara and Susan when they misunderstand some directions on where to get water, end up in a room where he’s confined. The ‘Zombie gag’ from earlier seems appropriate here, as he does the George Romero shuffle towards them before dropping down and crying
At the same time, everyone else realizes that Barbara and Susan are stuck with John, and Maitland starts to cut through the bulkhead to get them out, however the episode comes to an end when a few Sensorite ships approaches, surrounding the space craft… with Ian seeing a Sensorite peering in the space craft’s window!
This episode is quite good, in that it establishes everything for the upcoming story, painting the Sensorites as mind-controllers and building towards them being shown on screen, with the one seen at the end looking like it belongs on the wing of an airplane harassing William Shatner and John Lithgow. The idea of Barbara and Susan ending up in a lock room is a little silly, but it sells the further pushes the point that the reactions to the Sensorite’s influence is different for everybody, something that will come into play later in the story. The ‘uniforms’ for the space craft crew is a bit plain in my view, just variation of military duty officer’s attire. The set design for the space craft was pretty well done in my view, and of course Carol Ann Ford as Susan looked freakin’ adorable in outfit she was sporting.
And on that note, we’ll wrap things up here. Next week will be part two, ‘The Unwilling Warriors;