Friday, December 31, 2010

Target - Logopolis

Not one of my favourite novelisations I'm afraid. All the bits I least like from the screen version are retained, and justified at some length, while the elements that I do like are messed about with.

We get some background on the policeman who's killed in the opening scene; also there is only one copper accompanying the inspector when he meets the Doctor later, not two.

Aunty Vanessa is retconned into a timid old lady who wears sensible shoes, whereas on screen she's rather nonchalant and laidback, and wears high heeled boots. Tegan's accent is mentioned but her aunt's is not, the implication being that the latter isn't Australian.

Indeed Bidmead is worried that we might forget that Tegan has an Australian accent, so he mentions it several more times - 'her loud Aussie accent', 'her outback Aussie voice was easily the loudest present'. It seems like Australia must be the noisiest place in the world with everyone yakking away in their loud Australian accents, I'd hate to have a hangover there.

(Incidentally, Teeg really does come from the outback in the book. On screen Aunty Vanessa demolishes her pretentions of ruggedness. Oh yes, and Tegan's dad had a small plane which he taught his daughter to fly, hence her interest in aviation.)

Adric's point of view is much used: we see his interpretation of a dual carriageway, and also his impressions of Paradise Lost which the Doctor gives him to read. (But the volume smells of 'ancient classrooms': a good description, but not one that Adric would have thought of). Adric sees the Master as being Lucifer - a subtle parallel there. When he gets to Logopolis, the number muttering reminds him of the rhythmn of the poem.

Various minor elements of the layby scenes are rearranged - people are standing in different places, they get further away from the Master's TARDIS before being killed, the bicycle diversion is slightly different.

When the Master's TARDIS materialises in the cloisters, Tegan stares at it 'in broad-minded Australian disbelief'. Bidmead could be accused of seeing Australians in stereotypical terms, I think. Also, I wonder how broad-minded disbelief differs from narrow-minded disbelief?

Bidmead brazens out the whole 'materialising the TARDIS under water' sequence, presumably because it would look like an admission of failure to change it. This means he has to try and make it sound more reasonable - no easy task - by having Adric listen to the Doctor's 'careful explanation' of how they'll swim out of the doors using handholds. It doesn't matter how carefully he explains it, it's still a deranged, suicidal idea. But Adric's only quibble is with hovering the TARDIS over the water rather than materialising under it: that makes it easier to target accurately, apparently.

The jetty it lands on is crumbling and derelict, not neat and tidy.

The similar hovering of the TARDIS over Logopolis is explained as politeness - the Doctor showing the inhabitants that he's arrived. The ironic exchange about the purpose of the Pharos Project goes on longer, but isn't improved.

The 'sweatshop' exchange goes on a bit longer - the Monitor reminds Tegan that she enjoys her job, just like the Logopolitans. She came top of her training course, it seems.

If you share Bidmead's fascination with microcomputer technology circa 1980, you'll love this adaptation, because it has even more tiresome references than the screen version. Even the Pharos technician is trying to debug range errors in global variables when we meet him. (His compiler hasn't picked them up. If that surprises him then he should look for another job, since range errors are a classic example of a run-time error, which compilers specifically don't and can't catch.)

The 'ignorant old Doctor' line is thought, not said.

Nyssa hears the Master's voice when her skirt gets caught on a thorny plant, and she stops to disentangle it.

When the Doctor tells Nyssa that the Master killed her father, she charges at him, stopped only by the bracelet device. Adric is 'astonished to see this small, aristocratic girl so brimming with icy anger.'

Adric, Nyssa and Tegan see the Doctor/Master handshake, because they don't get in the TARDIS till afterwards. There's no 'The man's a murderer' line.

The Monitor doesn't just fade away, he's up on the roof trying to get to the dish, and falls through a hole, crumbling to dust when he hits the ground.

The lines in the 'they should be pleased to see us' scene are slightly differently distributed between Nyssa and Adric. And on the subject: 'Alien intelligences!' says the Master before he records the universe-blackmail message. 'I'll show them the quality of alien intelligence.' Now that is a good line, worthy of Delgado in his prime. He kills the technician when he nicks the tape player, too (with the TCE). So perish all rubbish programmers.

After the regeneration, the Fifth Doctor sits up and says 'Well, that's the end of that. But it's probably the beginning of something completely different.' The sort of line Douglas Adams would have rejected as being too wordy and self-indulgent. What a start to the new era.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Target - The Keeper of Traken

We open with the Doctor reflecting on his latest escape: from E-Space. I've just noticed that 'escape' is an anagram of 'E-Space' - is that the point of this bit? He also thinks about Romana: she'd never been really happy as a wanderer through time and space, apparently.

This the first TD novelisation to include Adric, so meet his Homeric epithet: 'a smallish, round-faced, snub-nosed lad with an expression of cheerful impudence.'

The region of Mettula Orionsis intrigues me: its name is very close to Mentula Orionis or 'Orion's Cock'. Just saying.

The Fosters in the Grove are carrying out 'all the many activities that go to the maintenance of a successful garden'. Later in the Keeper's presentation, the Doctor reflects that 'a wedding was a wedding, anywhere in the galaxy' - rather like his thoughts about the lift in Sun Makers. I wonder if TD feels a general need to apologise for things in the stories that are too much like their contemporary equivalents.

This reading is the first time that I've picked up the significance of Tremas being named as Keeper-Designate: it makes him and Kassia unhappy because it means their marriage is effectively over as soon as it's begun. I wonder how I managed to miss this before?

We see the demise of the Foster whose body is found in the Grove. He'd slipped away from the wedding party early as the noise was too much for him.

Neman suggests that the Fosters should be armed again, and Luvic responds that they haven't been armed for generations.

The Doctor adds a mention of Capability Brown to his line about gardening when he and Adric see the Grove on the scanner. When we see them next, we're told that there's been an argument about whether Adric should accompany him out of the TARDIS, which resulted in an agreement that Adric should come along for the first part of the exploration. When they reach the gates, the Doctor tries to get Adric to go back in accordance with this agreement.

When the Doctor says 'Well, I hate name-dropping...' (itself a slight change from the screen line), actually he's 'obviously enjoying the whole thing tremendously'.

Tremas' interest in science is regarded as an eccentricity on Traken, where everything is done through the Source. His atmosphere safe is initially referred to as such, but then as a vacuum safe.

Nyssa and Adric get on well because she's starved of younger company, being constantly surrounded by old people. Adric himself thinks that 'from the Keeper downwards, practically everyone on Traken was old, eminent, and bearded.'

The scene where Nyssa bribes Neman to move the crowds on is preceded by one where she hints to Adric what she's going to do, using 'A weapon that opens most doors — even on Traken.'

This is the same in both versions - but poor Foster Neman gets knocked out three times in this story, before being killed. Surely a record.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Target - Warriors' Gate

Now this is an interesting Target, much more adult in tone than any of the contemporary or previous ones. And I mean 'adult' as in trying to give the characters realistic thoughts and motivations, not as in Ace having her cherry popped by Glitz. If only the NAs had gone the way of this one. It's by 'John Lydecker' which apparently is Stephen Gallagher's pen name.

There's a prologue describing how the privateer (the freighter is always so called) comes to be at the gateway in the first place: its engines get damaged by missile fire just before it goes into warp. The attack is the work of the 'Antonine Killers', who are or form part of an anti-slavery alliance. It's implied, but not explicitly stated, that they're Tharils.

The stuff on the ship about the time rift, and the coin-tossing, is entirely absent. Instead we get the thoughts of different crew members, and of Biroc as he sees E-Space with his time sense. There's a running device with the readouts from Packard's console, showing how damaged the ship is. (And including 'special circumstances quotes', something I've always longed to add to one of my own applications).

All the ship scenes have less broad comedy (Lane doesn't ineffectually try to put out the electrical fire, for example) and more unsettling images and matter-of-fact descriptions of cruelty. We follow the thoughts of several of the crew members, but it only shows us how amoral they are. There's a sort of 'banality of evil' thing going on here.

When we join the TARDIS, Romana suggests that they need help from Gallifrey. The Doctor won't hear of it.

Adric's coin was given to him by a Decider when he was seven. He thinks about the I Ching in a convincing mathematical way - this is the only time that I ever believed in Adric as someone who could have won a badge for mathematical excellence.

'Romana, meanwhile, was plainly irritated. It showed in the way that she stirred the boxed components about, as if she'd lost track of what she was looking for.' Do you see what I mean about the more adult tone?

Biroc wears a swashbuckler's shirt, and, excellently, 'he might have been on the run from a fairy-tale.' Romana asks 'What are you?' and the Doctor tells her off for her poor contact etiquette.

Adric is upset when Romana suggests she and the Doctor might go different ways: he doesn't like the idea of his new 'family' breaking up. K9's quote from the King's Regulations (Army) is not included in this scene.

Aldo and Royce (the comedy proletarians) came with the ship: Rorvik can't get rid of them because only they know where the main fuses are.

Rorvik has a directorial concern for image: he makes sure he looks like a captain before the TARDIS door opens, and he's constantly disappointed by his crew, who won't cheer or understand his crisp hatchway commands. And when he's threatening the Doctor at the mirror, he looks towards the crew, hoping they're looking trigger-happy, but they're more interested in their lunch.

Romana describes Biroc as an ectomorph, not a mesomorph. When she and Rorvik arrive at the ship, Aldo and Royce are busy trying to arrange a tarpaulin over the navigation seat to conceal it. The power level Romana gets subjected to hasn't been used since they punished Biroc's predecessor for trying to dive the ship into a sun. (It killed him).

During the Gundan's recital, the Doctor does not draw a distinction between the worlds the masters plundered, and N-Space.

Romana's out-of-phase trip with Lazlo is nicely described in terms of her temporary ability to share his time-sense. They have quite a long conversation in the gateway.

The gardens beyond the gateway contain the same areas - fountains, lawns, groves - repeated endlessly at different stages of deterioration. The Doctor isn't led from there to the banquet, he finds his own way. And during the table talk, he doesn't spill his wine.

Rorvik and his men try to dig round one of the mirrors, and discover that it continues underneath the stones. In the subsequent exchange with the Doctor, pickles aren't mentioned specifically, just food. 'The only substance dense enough to pin down a dream,' he thinks as he holds the dwarf-star alloy manacle.

Rorvik calls Adric a 'poisonous child' when he appears on the MZ. Back in the TARDIS, there's no suggestion that the collapse of the void could flip them back into N-Space. Romana's tongue-twisting line about the backlash is made easier.

After the return to the privateer, Rorvik strides along the bridge 'just as he'd seen the captain do in a 3V about pirates.' He says that the backblast could 'blow us into scrambled Thark's eggs' - an unusual misstep this, in my opinion; the privateer crew are menacing because they closely resemble contemporary people, and having them refer to fantastic stuff runs against this.

Rorvik doesn't stand on the Doctor's fingers - he tries to stamp on Romana's, but she dodges.

It's suggested that the Tharils come from a planet with an atmosphere containing nerve gas - I find it surprising then that they can breathe ordinary air. They leave the ship before the explosion, not after.

Adric actually dematerialises the TARDIS as instructed, agonising about abandoning the Doctor and Romana. They make it inside because the doors open in flight, just like in episode 1. The destruction of the gateway is seen at this point, and is very impressive, with the huge doors flying off like burning rafts, and the only thing left in the void being the circle of mirrors.

There's a moment of suspense when Biroc is approaching the mirror - a Gundan comes back through it, and he wonders if all the other Tharils have been massacred. But, the narrator tells us, it has been waiting to fulfil its command: 'kill the brutes who rule'. No longer able to decide whether that means the Tharils or the humans, it passes by and ignores him.

There's no 'noblest Romana' line: instead the Doctor says regretfully that it's not likely they'll meet again

The departure of the TARDIS takes place after all this is over, and is done at greater length: the Doctor now knows that the gateway was formed from the CVE, he can easily work out a course to N-Space, back on the other side of the mirrors. Except that it was established earlier, when the memory wafers were repaired by passing through the mirrors, that it's E-Space on the other side of the mirrors. That's why K9 has to go through them.

Perhaps he's puzzling over that too, because he doesn't say anything in the final scene. Lazlo and Romana do the talking: yes, she has regrets, but nothing will hold her back. The fountains in the gardens are running again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Target - State of Decay

We see the opening scenes (and several others later) from Habris' point of view, which makes him a slightly more sympathetic character than he is on screen. Ivo's son Karl is positively keen to join the Selection.

The Doctor refers to the TARDIS as if it's alive, which always infuriates Romana (possibly because of the misunderstanding at the end of Horns of Nimon?) The green tinge of E-Space on the TARDIS scanner is 'slightly sinister'. It takes some time to travel to the unnamed planet once they've spotted it.

Once there, it's a pleasant spring day with a 'reassuring atmosphere of rural peace'. That's probably because in the book, we can't recognise Burnham Beeches as a location for horror films and awkward sex scenes in early George Orwell novels. It's the apparently hand-cultivated nature of the fields that prompts the Doctor to make the remark about opting for a semi-rural culture. The 'Astronomer Royal' is carrying a billhook, not a shovel.

Ivo says that the Lords protect them from 'the evil that stalks the night', not the Wasting.

Arriving at the rebel camp, the Doctor thinks for a moment that it's the ruins of a technological civilisation, before realising that it must be a dump. He says that he thinks 'technacothaka' means a museum of technology, but that he might have made it up. The outlaws have a different air from the peasants - alert and wolfish. There's no mention of the Wasting.

Marta (Mrs Ivo) ruffles Adric's hair when he puts the big jacket on.

The food the rebels found at the dump was preserved (I think we could have worked that out for ourselves). The Selection is for recruiting guards as well as those who 'serve the Lords'. Tarak refers to Zargo and Camilla by name, not as 'King' and 'Queen'. He gives the Doctor directions to the Tower.

During the bat attack, one gets tangled in Romana's hair. I was expecting a narratorial aside about this being a myth, but there isn't one - yet... The Doctor suspects that the purpose of the attack is to herd them towards the Tower.

Zargo and Camilla remind the Doctor of the King and Queen in a pack of cards. Excellent. We're told later that they move with an uncanny unison.

The cold meat on the buffet is undercooked - almost raw... Zargo explicitly says that he and Camilla came from Earth.

It is suggested that Aukon takes control of Adric at the selection by putting him into a trance - but the narrator doesn't quite commit himself.

When Camilla tells Zargo to be silent, it's 'suddenly clear that she was by far the strongest of the two.' The names are cited in the opposite order in the consonantal shift discussion. The Doctor says that the instrument banks and control panels from the Hydrax have been ripped out and dumped (presumably over at the technacothaka).

There are various minor changes to the conversation in the scout ship 'turret', notably that the Doctor adds 'Perhaps they thought they'd need it one day' to his explanation for why the instruments are still there. As he and Romana work their way down the ship, there are extra lines about what the various parts are: rocket vents, ignition chambers etc.

Aukon, encountered in the resting place, has a 'kind of holy exaltation' about him.

Ivo found out his son was dead when the body was dumped outside his door. Charming.

When the Doctor prepares to leave Tarak and Romana in the Tower, there's a lot of chat about how he can't ask Tarak to take that kind of risk. Tarak nobly insists. On his way back to the TARDIS, he hides from a bat, but it isn't necessary as it isn't interested. He speculates that, when Aukon isn't directing them, they're harmless; this gives the narrator the chance to tell us about real vampire bats being dangerous only to cattle.

K9 mentions that Earth is the Doctor's favourite planet before starting to list vampire legends. His line about fractional TARDIS displacements being easier in a smaller universe is the same in both versions, but isn't it great? One of my favourite bits of plausible DW science blah.

When the Doctor sees how well his Henry V speech is going down, he makes a mental note to 'pop back to Elizabethan London and tell young Will how well his speech had gone down.' The map is a sketch map drawn by the Doctor on one of Kalmar's manuals, not an illuminated manuscript.

It's not so much Adric's line about vampires not dying, but Romana's horrified reaction (to the implications, not the acting) that convince Aukon he's on side.

Habris expands on his speech about trying to help Karl - he got him taken on as a guard, but Karl was too rebellious, and Zargo had him killed. It still doesn't convince Ivo though.

The narrator carefully explains that two rebels helped K9 down off the throne when they evacuated the Tower.

The cuts between the Doctor on the ladder, the sacrifice and the escaping rebels are summed up as 'By now a number of things were happening more or less at once.' A very children's book touch, not something TD usually feels it necessary to do.

The villagers are all hiding inside their huts, which as the narrator remarks is a shame, because they miss seeing the flight of the scoutship.

K9 records Ivo's apologies, as well as his thanks. He has a very forgiving nature for an automaton.

It's well into the next day before the time travellers leave. Romana notes that Ivo and Kalmar have become joint leaders. K9 is using extra info from the Hydrax data banks to try and compute a way back into N-Space.

The Doctor follows his remark about a technological society by saying that there's a lot to be said for the simple life. Kalmar drily answers that they've had enough of that over the last thousand years. The Doctor doesn't raise his hopes re escaping E-Space: 'My advice is to make the best of it here. It's not such a bad planet, now you have it to yourselves.'

Adric cheekily says that it could take the Doctor a long time to get him back home. There's an extra TARDIS interior scene here, where Romana asks where they're going now, and the Doctor says he'll think of somewhere.

Kalmar's final thought as the TARDIS departs is that the Doctor, pleasant fellow as he is, is a little too erratic for a real scientist.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Target - Full Circle

This is one of my least favourite Targets - it's an author's recasting of his story, which can often be a problem, as we'll see in the Hartnell era, and it also reveals an unpleasant political subtext which I think the production team did well to exclude from the screen version. So, for what a comparison's worth in this situation, here goes:

We open with the Starliner crashing on Alzarius, with Marteresque description of burning corpses being dragged out into space. (Should be 'blown out' of course - vacuum doesn't suck, pressure blows). Alzarius is already a place of terror to the Terradonians; no-one who's been sent there has returned. They know all about Mistfall in advance, by the way. The damage to the Starliner is severe - we later find out it had to be welded back together.

In the TARDIS, we get Romana's unhappy thoughts about returning to Gallifrey.

Adric and Varsh are very close because their parents were killed in a forest fire when Adric was a baby.

We're told that the Deciders are controlling information, and hiding the contents of the System Files, as soon as we meet them. The ship's computer is more impressive, with a secret shaft down which Nefred descends to consult the files. In the book, by the way, Nefred (and the other names) are surnames.

The mists are made much more of - they don't just hang round the lake, they're in every scene, cutting visibility to a few yards.

Two extra Outlers are seen being killed by the Marshmen. Two more get offed when the Marshmen invade the Starliner later.

Romana makes Adric very welcome in the TARDIS with smiles and 'cooing'. This cannot be said to be visible in Lalla Ward's interpretation of the same scenes. Sadly she's repaid only with 'the foul stench of untended teeth' when Varsh takes over the ship.

Nefred and Garif's conversation about the System Files takes place in the engine room, not the book room.

We see the Doctor finding only a square of flattened grass where the TARDIS was. We also get an extended description of the Starliner's exterior from his perspective, which gives Andrew Smith the chance to have the Doctor effectively congratulating him on his own cleverness.

The citizens who encounter the small Marshman in the corridor aren't scared of it - they're all ready to kill it, which gives Smith the chance to write a Marter-style scene where the Doctor charges in to save it, knocking the citizens about and giving a self-righteous speech. This bit replaces the appearance of the netted creature in the book room - instead we have the Doctor being kept waiting there by the Deciders, and deconstructing their theatrical business with the spotlights.

The TARDIS still weighs 5 million kilos - 5000 tons - so it's still unclear how the Marshmen are able to move it. I know Smith is terribly impressed by them, but can they really be that strong? There's more Marteresque action when Adric is so enraged by Varsh closing the doors with Romana outside that he attacks him.

The joke about 'here's hopping' works, because the Doctor says 'short hops' and not 'short trips'. Obviously Andrew Smith thinks that's funnier than the fingers-crossed business, because he leaves the latter out. The scene where they recover Romana and K9 from the cave is done at much greater length, with various creepy touches like a spider crawling out of K9's neck hole and onto the Doctor's hand. The subsequent conversation about the psychochemical, and K9's head, is replaced by the Doctor's thoughts on the same subjects.

After the Marshman has killed Dexeter, and has paused in smashing up the lab, the Doctor tells the Deciders that it is fighting its animal urges. Login's information about another planet drawing Alzarius away from its sun prompts him to say that that explains the bubbles in the rivers - seismic activity releasing subterranean gas. Okay... We aren't shown any earth tremors though.

The Doctor associates the mess in Romana's room with the mess in the lab on the Starliner.

Later, when Romana collapses in the lab, the Doctor disappointingly doesn't say 'Quick, the serum!'

Once the Marshmen have left the Starliner, hundreds of them join in a conclave and, from the leader's POV, we're treated to the following chilling disease metaphor for racial impurity:

The non-people of the metal city had won this battle, but there would be others, and the people of the marshlands, the real people of Alzarius, would be triumphant and crush the arrogant ones for ever... They were the guardians of Alzarius, their lives dedicated to maintaining its purity from off-world corruption.
The non-people, they who had once been guardians themselves, had discarded this philosophy and had allowed the corruption of off-world to infect them. One day they would remove their corruption.

There's a lot more of this stuff, including an attempted justification on environmental grounds, but it's bad enough having to read it, never mind type it out.

On the plus side, we're told that the Decider oligarchy will be replaced by an elected leadership. Democracy for the Starliner, national socialism for Alzarius.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Target - Meglos

A very quick read this. TD makes the story rattle along, and this despite the many additions, such as the opening where we meet the Earthling (George Morris) on his way home from the bank where he's assistant manager. A sign of the times: the bank's in a small country town, so nowadays it probably wouldn't even exist, let alone have a manager and assistant manager, or even more than one staff member come to that. Morris asks the Gaztaks if kidnapping him is some sort of student rag.

The narrator points out the appropriateness of the Tigellan hydroponics bay as a place for Meglos to hide (reminding me of the occasion when Varan hides in the hydroponics room on Skybase in The Mutants).

George Morris' struggle to regain control of his body is described, with him growing stronger on each attempt.

Romana and Caris fight furiously over the laser cutter, while Meglos makes his escape from the city.

This is the same on the page and on screen, but why does the power failure cause the temperature to rise in the food store, but ice to form in the sub-corridors?

The scenes on Zolpha-Thura start with four pages of explanations: 'Meglos was in an expansive and talkative mood', and he exposits about the inhabitants' ability to take on other forms, and the war over the Dodecahedron that led to the leader of the peace party stealing it and crash-landing on Tigella. 'Why did you want us to bring you an Earthling?' asks Grugger pertinently. 'You couldn't have known the Doctor was coming when you sent us the message.' Apparently Earthlings are particularly malleable - George being an unfortunate exception - and Meglos intended to disguise himself as a Tigellan to steal the Dodecahedron.

Offered his choice of planets to destroy, Brotodac asks for Meglos' Doctor coat instead.

The Doctor and Romana explain things to George Morris as best they can. We lose his amusing double-take at the end of the book: instead, 'the Doctor's spatio/temporal navigation was spot on' and he gets home just slightly later than normal. Luckily Mrs Morris has a glass of sherry ready for him.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Target - The Leisure Hive

It's as if David Fisher is standing there on page 1 saying 'So, you didn't like my sub-Adams whimsy in Creature from the Pit, eh? Well, how about this - chapter 1, observational Adamsery about Earth beaches and household appliances. THOKK! And now this - chapter 2, the humorous Hitcheresque history of the Argolins. POW!'

Suffice it to say that the Argolin tradition is of chivalry, whereas the Foamasi one is of stealth and assassination. The wind blowing across the surface of Argolis is 'as cold as charity', which is a nice simile although I always thought of the planet as a hot place.

The Doctor and Romana watch the squash game on a screen when they arrive, rather than running through it later.

There's an extra bit showing Hardin and Mena leaving Earth, watched by a humorous pair of journalists. (And they really are very amusing fellows indeed).

We follow 'Brock's' thoughts several times during his negotiations on Argolis - I feel this to be cheating, as it is of course not actually Brock and his thoughts would really be Foamasi ones.

Pangol's demonstration of the Recreation Generator - detaching his own limbs etc - is better paced and funnier. So for example he's waving goodbye to the viewers and is disconcerted when his arm comes off. When Loman's arm comes off, there's blood everywhere, and it even sprays onto the inside of the display screen. Remarkable proposition.

The things that fall off the Argolins' heads when they age are actually ornamental jewels, not parts of themselves as it appears on screen.

Hardin's initial meeting and subsequent work with Stimson is recalled in a flashback.

The statue that the Doctor ties his scarf to is made of crystal, not plastic.

Stimson's purpose in entering Brock's room is to persuade him to let him have one of his flight bookings. He then searches the room in search of documentation that he might be able to use to get off Argolis.

Instead of zonking Vargos with warp mechanics equations written on the TARDIS, the Doctor renders an anonymous security guide unconscious by showing him the computer language they use on Hermes-4a. I remember my first encounter with APL had much the same effect.

The 'alien witness' and 'So that's why you're telling me all this' lines are not present, though the scene itself serves the same purpose.

The Foamasi agent is the only Foamasi to enter the boardroom with the Doctor and Romana: on screen, although one Foamasi leaves the lab with them, two arrive at the boardroom. On the page, the other one is seen carrying out an arrest in the service area. Interestingly, the Argolins don't recognise the agent for what he is, since none of them has actually ever seen a Foamasi before.

The Argolins who survived the war were almost all crewmembers of Morix's ship. The Foamasi on the other hand were all either prisoners (Black) or prison officers (White). We don't get the bit about the Foamasi government and private capitalism, by the way.

When Romana is mentally preparing herself for the possibility of being aged 500 years, she fingers her hair and wonders whether it will turn white, or leave her bald. Which is odd, as she'd only be about 700 and hence younger than the Doctor is normally.

At the end we see a TARDIS interior with K9 still in a pool of seawater. I particularly like Targets that give us extra interior shots.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Target - The Horns of Nimon

Now this is rather better. A Prologue tells of the arrival of the Nimon, and explains how Soldeed came by his position, and relates the sad fate of General Sato.

The Co-Pilot's name is Sardor. Some of his 'Weakling scum!' lines are replaced with glares.

The sacrifices wear short golden robes, not pyjamas. We're shown Teka's admiring thoughts about Seth. Seth's supposed plan to defeat the Nimon is specifically stated to involve painting the ship white for the return journey.

The Doctor still twists K9's head the right way up, but he doesn't give him mouth-to-mouth.

We learn from Soldeed's thoughts that doesn't really know much about science, he just fiddles with all that junk in his laboratory to make himself look important.

The concept of the Nimon's maze constantly changing is introduced earlier on - it's experienced by the Co-Pilot when he's thrown in there. He's pleased that the guards forgot to take his blaster off him: he doesn't realise that they didn't need to bother.

When the Doctor gives his impromptu speech to the generals, he doesn't then huddle together with them to ask the way out, he pushes through them.

Romana's scenes on Crinoth with Sezom take place in a room very much like the Nimon's nuclear kitchen on Skonnos. If that is in the screen version then I missed it under all the rubble and cobwebs. Sezom was 'something of a scientist' before the Nimons came to Crinoth.

Sorak's purpose in fiddling with K9 is to use his power for himself - he's decided that the time to overthrow Soldeed is close at hand.

Soldeed's actions in between being surprised by the three Nimons, and calling Romana a meddlesome hussy, are explained: the Nimons ordered him to keep out of the way until summoned, so he hid in an empty compartment.

When the Doctor emerges from the Complex and tells everyone to take cover, Sorak orders his men to the cellars. The Doctor and Romana take shelter in the TARDIS. As explained in the subsequent flashback, the explosion was a confined one which destroyed only the Complex, and it was relatively clean too, meaning that only the palace itself had to be evacuated. (I'm glad these points are addressed, because they always bother me, but it's a pity that so much narration is required to do so). The flashback concludes by telling us that the Doctor then had a word with Sorak to set him and Skonnos on the right path.

In the final TARDIS scene, the Doctor is more optimistic about the future of Skonnos than Romana. He says he hopes they've learnt to mend their ways, she isn't convinced and gets the 'nasty race of people' line.

Romana reminds us what Crinoth is before we see it explode. It's in the same solar system as Skonnos - which makes it seem odd that the Nimons had to use two black holes to travel between the two planets. Romana implies that Crinoth explodes because the Nimons carried out their backup plan to reach another (third, unnamed) planet - a plan she couldn't have known of because she was inside the capsule, pressing the call button when they were talking about it.

There's an extra final scene after Romana flounces out of the console room, where the Doctor repeats the 'Other places, other times' line to K9.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Target - Nightmare of Eden

I'm rather lukewarm about this Target, it's a workmanlike adaptation with nothing particularly special about it.

The TARDIS arrives in response to Rigg's mayday call.

K9 does not give a chemical name for Vraxoin, he just calls it Vraxoin. Later on he says something 'dogmatically', a turn of phrase which I enjoyed.

When we first meet Fisk and Costa they're accompanied by several (silent) colleagues.

In response to the massacre Rigg says 'They're only tourist passengers after all,' which is somehow a lot less funny than 'They're only economy class!' TD realises that there's a glitch in the screen version: Rigg is marched off by Costa after this scene, only to reappear in the lounge and hassle Romana. So he has him say 'I soon dealt with their stupid guard, never knew what hit him. I'm still Captain of this ship.'

The Doctor refers to the laser on the Hecate as an encoder laser. He might be saying 'encoder' on screen but it doesn't sound quite like the same word. He doesn't do the Oates impression before leading the Mandrels into the projection, and he doesn't say 'My fingers, my arms...!' etc either. TD is right to leave it out as it really undoes the scariness of the Mandrels.

The Doctor tells Stott he must quarantine Eden to prevent anyone else finding out about where Vraxoin comes from. In the final gag, the 'zoo' is referred to as electronic, not electric.